#1
I've always heard people talking about it, but i've never actually known what it is...

Anyone want to clear me up?

Merci
#2
A series of notes that sound good together?

It's kind of hard to define. Learn a few and you'll understand.

C major uses C D E F G A and B, and it resolves to C, meaning it sounds "complete" by ending a phrase on C (although you aren't really limited to that, you really have options). A minor uses the same notes, except it resolves to A.

F major uses F G A Bb C D and E, and it resolves to F. D minor uses the same notes, except it resolves to D.

I hope that helps.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Oct 9, 2009,
#4
you weigh yourself on it i think lol
"you have a short attention span...

NO were not."-metalocalypse
#6
Quote by food1010
A series of notes that sound good together?

HA! That was what I thought before I even clicked the link, verbatim. And the rest was correct as well. I think you could have googled that or searched the forums for faster results though.
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#7
So, would it be correct to say that a scale is just a small riff.

Or is it a chord that instead of being strummed simultaneously, each string is strummed separately?
#9
Quote by littledude65
Well, a chord with each note picked individually is an arpeggio, because most(if not all) chords don't contain every note of the scale.
Yeah only 13 chords do (for example, G13, or G13(#11), and a few others). I don't mean that there are thirteen chords which use every note of the scale.

Quote by ChucklesMginty
For future reference, a diatonic scale is a 7-note scales.
This, but to add to that, they have to have 5 whole steps and 2 half steps.

Quote by SirrMaggot
So, would it be correct to say that a scale is just a small riff.

Or is it a chord that instead of being strummed simultaneously, each string is strummed separately?
Well, riffs are derived from scales. They take notes from scales, and use them in a pattern.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Oct 9, 2009,
#10
The fact that you don't know what a scale is is very strange, but whatever.


A scale is a series of notes some old dudes made up way back when that decided would go well together.

It's so hard to explain it to you because it's generally common sense, so it's one of those things that you never end up thinking about in terms of definition.
Quote by satchgear
I tried it out in store.

Great neck, nice n light, good tuning stability. Overall a good guitar. I didn't but it cause I generally only buy guitars over a grand now.
#11
Hey you, the guy above me.
Yeah, you.

Everyone has to start somewhere right? "But whatever."

And i think i get it now, so yeah, thanks alot guys.
#12
its a grey area but i'd define a scale as

"a grouping of interval spaces that can be applied musically to notes"

now people are going to say "well what if its only 2 or 3 notes is that still a scale?"

i would say "i guess so" though in my opinion i wouldn't really call 2 or 3 notes a scale.
#13
Here's my definition...

Scale: a way of climbing from one note up to it's octave by way of a unique step pattern.

So the major scale is a pattern of seven steps
Whole Tone, Whole Tone, Half Tone, Whole Tone, Whole Tone, Whole Tone, Half Tone
it takes us from a root note up to it's octave through a unique step pattern (outlined above).

Two or three note scales are possible but realistically how useable are they? What kind of music are you going to make with three notes? So yeah they might exist but really only in a theoretical context because they're so terribly impractical.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Oct 9, 2009,
#14
Did you RTFS?
Quote by dudetheman
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#18
So, would it be correct to say that a scale is just a small riff.

Wrong.
A scale is a set of notes that sound good played together, IN (almost) ANY ORDER AND RHYTHM. So you can make 454561451453 different songs out of the same scale.

You'll hear people talk about "playing scales", which beginner guitarists think is very important but they don't know what for. It's a mere exercise to both improve your technique and memorize the scales, which you'll eventually need for songwriting. But really, I don't think you should worry and memorize them as if you're having an exam about scales tomorrow. There are plenty of websites where you can consult scales and the "formulas" they follow. You'll end up memorizing them.
#19
wrong.

A scale isn't a "set of notes" as much as it is a unique step pattern (or as z4twenny said a grouping of interval spaces) that depending on your starting note will give you a "set of notes" within an octave.

There is no requisite for the set of notes to "sound good together".

The scale is a "scale" for climbing up and down through the 12 different pitch classes. Different scales use different step sizes and patterns. Kind of like lots of different ladders where each ladder has varying numers of rungs a different size or space apart. They each allow a different way of movin through the range of pitches.

The chromatic scale for example is a scale with 12 steps each the size of a half tone.

The major pentatonic scale is a scale with five steps.
The first step in this scale is the size of one whole tone, the second step is a whole tone, the third step is the size of a whole+half tone, the fourth is a whole tone and the fifth is a whole+half tone. The result if we start on C is C D E G A C.

The major scale is a scale with seven steps as I mentioned in my last post.

The diminished or Whole - Half scale is made up of 8 steps
Whole Tone, Half tone, Whole Tone, Half Tone, Whole Tone, Half Tone, Whole Tone, Half Tone,

That's what scales are. They are a way of climbing through the 12 pitch classes using a unique step pattern.

The definition
Quote by sickman411

A scale is a set of notes that sound good played together, IN (almost) ANY ORDER AND RHYTHM.
is wrong. Some scales don't sound good in any order or rythm. Even the major scale doesn't sound good in any order or rhythm not to mention the more challenging scales that use a lot of dissonant tones.

The scale is the step pattern and when you apply it to a certain starting point or "key centre" you will hit on a specific set of notes which is then referred to the X scale in Z. So if you apply the major scale step pattern W W H W W W H and use C as your key centre then following the step pattern you get C D E F G A B C and you call it the C major scale or the Major scale in C.

Just to belabour the point - it has nothing to do with whether or not the notes sound good played together in any order or rhythm. Some scales sound like a donkey with bronchitis that inhaled a kazoo -but they're still scales. They just aren't used very often cause they sound like crap.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Oct 10, 2009,
#20
Quote by ethan_hanus
Its a specific progression of notes in a ceritan key. The Pentaonic scale is the most known, which is simple, A,B,C,D,E,F,G. You can change it up, but its normaly played on one string as far as I know.

That's not the pentatonic scale and it doesn't matter which strings you play a scale on because scales are not shapes on the neck.
Quote by dudetheman
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#21
Steven Seagull needs to reply to this thread right now.

Look at my signature, or at this text, which is the same as in my signature:

Originally Posted by steven seagull
There's no such thing as vertical and horizontal scales really, just scales - how you play them on the guitar is up to you.


Basically, a scale is a set of notes that sound good with eachother. They can be played in any order, but as long as you pick only THOSE notes, it will have the sound that is characteristic of the scale. It is NOT a pattern or a sequence of notes.

There are a lot of patterns available on the internet for playing those notes, such as the vertical ones. Those are simply mapped out scales across 2 octaves. There is a top part of a vertical scale and a bottom part, and the top part is the first octave and the bottom part is the second one. How do you find out? Count the notes in the vertical pattern until you arrive at 8. This is the first note in the second octave. Most scales have seven notes, with the 8 being the octave.

Example:

The major scale
The 1 represents the start of an octave. As you can see, it goes from 1 to 7, and then to 1 again, which is the start of the new octave.

That's basically what a scale is. Hope it's been helpful. I would regard Steven Seagull an expert on this subject, so if you want to learn more, contact him.

---

Now.. What is it's use? You can use it to improvise, to write songs, or to write small riffs. Just use the notes of the scale to improvise/write something.

Also, this site has plenty of information on it (although you should skip the section on modes for now. click this to read why):
http://www.fretjam.com/guitar-scales.html

Visit this site to hear how some of the scales sound:
http://www.worldguitar.com/lead1.html
Last edited by robinlint at Oct 11, 2009,
#22
Quote by robinlint
Basically, a scale is a set of notes that sound good with eachother. They can be played in any order, but as long as you pick only THOSE notes, it will have the sound that is characteristic of the scale. It is NOT a pattern or a sequence of notes.


Sigged for music's sake.
#23
Quote by robinlint
Basically, a scale is a set of notes that sound good with eachother. They can be played in any order, but as long as you pick only THOSE notes, it will have the sound that is characteristic of the scale. It is NOT a pattern or a sequence of notes.

There are a lot of patterns available on the internet for playing those notes, such as the vertical ones. Those are simply mapped out scales across 2 octaves. There is a top part of a vertical scale and a bottom part, and the top part is the first octave and the bottom part is the second one. How do you find out? Count the notes in the vertical pattern until you arrive at 8. This is the first note in the second octave. Most scales have seven notes, with the 8 being the octave.

Example:

The major scale
The 1 represents the start of an octave. As you can see, it goes from 1 to 7, and then to 1 again, which is the start of the new octave.

That's basically what a scale is. Hope it's been helpful. I would regard Steven Seagull an expert on this subject, so if you want to learn more, contact him.

Once again, the definition that a scale is a "set of notes that sound good together" isn't really a very good definition at all.

For one thing, using notes outside the scale you are using can sound good. Further, just because the note is in that scale does not mean it will sound good.

More importantly, it is not a "set of notes" that makes the major scale the major scale (or any other scale for that matter) it is the RELATIONSHIP between the notes that makes it the major scale - I.E. it is the intervals or step pattern that makes the major scale the major scale.

For example C major (C D E F G A B C) and A minor (A B C D E F G A) are the same "set" of notes but they are different scales and consequently sound different. What makes this identical "set of notes" different scales??? Simple - they have a different RELATIONSHIP between the notes.

The inverse is also true, same relationship = same scale.
C major uses the notes C D E F G A B C
A major uses the notes A B C♯ D E F♯ G♯ A
Both of these are instances of the major scale, BUT they are a different set of notes.

So what then makes them both instances of the major scale??? THEY HAVE THE SAME STEP PATTERN which is Whole Tone, Whole Tone, Half Tone, Whole Tone, Whole Tone, Whole Tone, Half Tone. It's really not that hard A SCALE IS A UNIQUE STEP PATTERN

Now don't get confused between what I'm calling a scale's step pattern and the box shapes or "patterns" you learn to memorize your scales on guitar.

Scalar step patterns that I'm talking about are universal in music theory without reference to any particular instrument, it applies to them ALL. Box shapes are specific to a guitar (specifically a guitar in standard tuning). If you have trouble distinguishing between these things let me know and I'll be happy to elaborate.

To sum up, scales are defined by their unique step pattern, or their intervals, or the different RELATIONSHIPS between the notes and NOT the "set of notes" or whether they "sound good together".
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Oct 11, 2009,
#24
Quote by 20Tigers
Once again, the definition that a scale is a "set of notes that sound good together" isn't really a very good definition at all.

For one thing, using notes outside the scale you are using can sound good. Further, just because the note is in that scale does not mean it will sound good.

More importantly, it is not a "set of notes" that makes the major scale the major scale (or any other scale for that matter) it is the RELATIONSHIP between the notes that makes it the major scale - I.E. it is the intervals or step pattern that makes the major scale the major scale.

For example C major (C D E F G A B C) and A minor (A B C D E F G A) are the same "set" of notes but they are different scales and consequently sound different. What makes this identical "set of notes" different scales??? Simple - they have a different RELATIONSHIP between the notes.

The inverse is also true, same relationship = same scale.
C major uses the notes C D E F G A B C
A major uses the notes A B C♯ D E F♯ G♯ A
Both of these are instances of the major scale, BUT they are a different set of notes.

So what then makes them both instances of the major scale??? THEY HAVE THE SAME STEP PATTERN which is Whole Tone, Whole Tone, Half Tone, Whole Tone, Whole Tone, Whole Tone, Half Tone. It's really not that hard A SCALE IS A UNIQUE STEP PATTERN

Now don't get confused between what I'm calling a scale's step pattern and the box shapes or "patterns" you learn to memorize your scales on guitar.

Scalar step patterns that I'm talking about are universal in music theory without reference to any particular instrument, it applies to them ALL. Box shapes are specific to a guitar (specifically a guitar in standard tuning). If you have trouble distinguishing between these things let me know and I'll be happy to elaborate.

To sum up, scales are defined by their unique step pattern, or their intervals, or the different RELATIONSHIPS between the notes and NOT the "set of notes" or whether they "sound good together".

Thanks for correcting me. I always thought a scale is a set of notes that sound good with eachother, and the step patterns are used to quickly construct such a scale. Care to explain further? I don't understand, though, how the C major scale and A major scale are different, because both contain the same notes, and you don
't always play a scale in sequence, you just pick notes within the scale.
#25
Well I got a bit over excited typing that last post.

There's a lot more to it than what I put down but what I was aiming for was a definition for what a scale is and the definition offered (that I was objecting to) just didn't hold water for me. In reality you can think of the scale as that if it suits your purpose. The problem I had is that not every note from the scale will always sound good with other notes from the scale and sometimes notes outside the scale will sound good with notes from the scale.

And just to backtrack on myself now a scale is a set of notes and yes you're right the step patten is used to construct the scale. But my argument then is - without the step pattern you don't get the notes. Wherever there is a set of notes that make u what one might call a scale - there is always a step pattern that makes up the set of notes.

However, if we take away the notes we can still talk of the scale by referring instead to "scale degrees". This indicates each interval in the scale from the root note. Those intervals are a result of the unique step pattern that is that particular scale. Yet there are no notes but it's still a scale - just in abstract form.

For example the Major scale is 1 W 2 W 3 H 4 W 5 W 6 W 7 H 8. Each scale degree is represented by a number instead of a note. These numbers refer of course to major or perfect intervals. Then we can quickly indicate changes to the step pattern by alterations to each scale degree. For example the minor scale would be 1 2 ♭3 4 5 ♭6 ♭7 8. We can see that the third is lowered half a step in comparison to the major scale - which means the distance between the 2nd and ♭3rd is decreased to a Half step and the distance between the 3rd and 4th is increased to a Whole step. Similar changes occur with the ♭6 and ♭7.

The step pattern then is W H W W W H W. This is the minor scale step pattern and we can apply it to any tonic note and it is always going to give us the natural minor scale.

Now things get interesting.
The step pattern is not reeeally all that unique. If we look at it closely at this step pattern we see that in actual fact it is quite similar to the Major Scale just starting at a different place. For this reason we can construct major and minor scales that share the same set of notes by starting on the sixth step of the major scale (or the third step of the minor scale). We call these scales Relative. So the A minor scale is the Relative minor of the C major scale and the C major scale is the Relative Major of A minor.

Now if we want to be really picky and say that a scale is a unique step pattern then one could argue the Major scale and minor scale are the same scale since they use the same step pattern - just starting at a different place. This is what is known as different modes of the same scale.

But though there is an argument there to say they are the same scale it is not a strong one since they do indeed have different step patterns. The second step in one for example is a Whole step while in the other it is a Half step. Surely that makes a difference. A mode then is derived from the "parent" scale but the mode is a new "relative scale" in it's own right.

The number of modes you can derive from a given scale depends entirely on the number of unique step patterns you can derive from a "parent scale". For example you can derive seven from the Major scale (a different one from starting on each step) and each has it's own unique character and quality. However the chromatic scale has only the one mode even though it has 12 steps - this is because not matter what step you start on the mode is always the same (12 half steps)

Does it really though? It doesn't matter what order you play the notes of the C major scale in, for example, it is still the C major scale, right. Right. But here's the kicker so stay with me now, it doesn't matter what order you play the notes of the C major scale in the C major scale always starts with C. -get it?

Let me explain. The C major scale is, was, and always will be C D E F G A B C. You can play the notes from that scale in any order but the first degree of the scale will ALWAYS be C. This is known as the TONIC. The tonic is very important because it is the antidote and answer to everything. It is the home sound that all the other notes will be heard in relation to. In C major the C will sound like the TONIC while the A will sound like a major sixth in comparison and the B will pull so strongly toward the C. The E will sound like a big ol' major third in relation to the C. No matter what note from the scale you play first, the C will always be the first degree of the scale, or the tonic.

So you get it now? You can play the notes of the C major scale in any order but C will always be the first. Sounds kind of contradictory right. This is why there is so much misunderstanding. Because people will be taught and/or grab only one thing from it at first and that is either - C is the first note of the scale, or it doesn't matter what order you play it in.

To continue the Am scale is the same set of notes but it has a different tonic. In A minor the A is the home sound (NOT C). It is the tonic. In the A minor scale the A is the sound to which all the other sounds will be heard in relation. The C is now a bittersweet sounding minor third against the A tonic. The B is a pull away from A as opposed to a strong pull toward C. The E is now a dominating perfect fifth in relation to the A tonic.

It's the tonic which is the other part of what makes a scale. It's all abstract relationships until you have a tonic note and then it's step patterns create relationships that are characteristic of that Scale. The minor scale is just a bunch of step patterns or meaningless intervals until you give it a tonic and can hear those intervals in relation to something.

Hence you have the Tonic and the scale type C Major or A minor etc.

Um yeah so hope that clears that up some.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Oct 14, 2009,
#26
Put simply, it's playing doh, ray, me, foh, so, la, ti, doh. That is, starting on A and finishing on A, an octave higher or lower.

It would be prudent to learn your scales and a bit of musical theroy. Books available from sheet music shops.

Musical theroy is how music is written down.
#27
Quote by Strawberry_Lynn
Put simply, it's playing doh, ray, me, foh, so, la, ti, doh. That is, starting on A and finishing on A, an octave higher or lower.

It would be prudent to learn your scales and a bit of musical theroy. Books available from sheet music shops.

Musical theroy is how music is written down.

That's the major scale specifically. There are many others.

And not to harp on you, but the "syllables" of solfege are spelled a specific way, being do re mi fa so la ti do.
Quote by dudetheman
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Metalheads are the worst thing that ever happened to metal.
Last edited by DaddyTwoFoot at Oct 14, 2009,
#28
Quote by DaddyTwoFoot
And not to harp on you, but the "syllables" of solfege are spelled a specific way, being do re mi fa so la ti do.


Isn't it Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si Do? At least that's what it is in french.
Quote by MH400
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You have 2 options.

1. Tits.
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#29
Quote by Spike6sic6
Isn't it Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si Do? At least that's what it is in french.

Ah, sol is correct. I think si is French-specific though. Most countries use ti.

Edit - Looked it up. Si is a Romance language thing. Germanic languages use ti. (I think.) It could just be English.
Quote by dudetheman
So what? I wasted like 5 minutes watching DaddyTwoFoot's avatar.


Metalheads are the worst thing that ever happened to metal.
Last edited by DaddyTwoFoot at Oct 14, 2009,
#30
Quote by DaddyTwoFoot
Ah, sol is correct. I think si is French-specific though. Most countries use ti.

Edit - Looked it up. Si is a Romance language thing. Germanic languages use ti. (I think.) It could just be English.


Yeah, well I just stick with C D E F G A B C, much more simple.
Quote by MH400
a girl on the interwebz?

You have 2 options.

1. Tits.
2. GTFO.

#31
Quote by Spike6sic6
Yeah, well I just stick with C D E F G A B C, much more simple.

I concur.
Quote by dudetheman
So what? I wasted like 5 minutes watching DaddyTwoFoot's avatar.


Metalheads are the worst thing that ever happened to metal.
#32
I always define a scale as:

"A series of intervals that follows a pattern until it repeats again."

Like how the major scale follows the WWHWWWH pattern. The minor follows the WHWWWHWW.

This is just my interpretation.
#33
a series of notes that sound a certain way together. A scale is then named by how it is put together or the gaps between the notes. As all major scales are tone tone semitone tone tone tone semitone they belong together and there is no major scale outside that pattern as it doesn't sound like a major scale if it is.
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