#1
Hey,
When talking about the Major scale people only talk about
C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C#,Eb,F#,Ab and Bb

but since there are sine enharmonic equivalents like Bb to A# I always wondered why there is no A# scale (Major) or Db or D# or Gb

is it because the scale is diatonic and cannot have two same alphabets in and cannot mix a flat and a sharp or...?

Just a wee bit confused and have some time so thought I would lay my thoughts on you more experienced guys (and girls)

Cheers!
“God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.”
(My hero) - Robin Williams
#3
A# major exists, but you would have a lot of double sharps and it's much easier to write and read in Bb.
#5
Thanks guys!
So thats the _only_ reason (no two alphabets and no mixing flats and #s)? Or am I missing something else as well?

@griffRG7321,
I know it "exists" as I can make the scale in my head, but is it a "legal" or "valid" scale or just a monstrosity of music that would make a music teacher go nuts? (I have no formal training)

@korinaflyingv,
I am trying to be difficult but when I first started learning music I had the same question of "Given that they sound exactly the same, why would one over-complicate things?" when I started to learn enharmonic names. From there I have learned that at first some things in music does not have to make perfect sense but later it usually tells you why.

And being a noob (kinda) , I thought either way you guys would set me straight
“God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.”
(My hero) - Robin Williams
#6
Quote by MusicGu7
Hey,
When talking about the Major scale people only talk about
C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C#,Eb,F#,Ab and Bb

but since there are sine enharmonic equivalents like Bb to A# I always wondered why there is no A# scale (Major) or Db or D# or Gb


THe reason we always talk about Bb rather than A#, for example, becomes obvious once you look at key signatures and standard musical notation.

Bb is two steps counterclockwise around the circle of fifths. It would be 10 steps clockwise - the key signature would require 10 sharps.

Db is five flats, C# would be seven sharps. D# would require nine sharps, while Eb only requires three flats. Ab is four flats, G# would be eight sharps.

The only ambiguous one is Gb/F#, which is six no matter which way you go. I suspect that this is simply convention. People are very comfortable with F#, because every sharp key has an F# in it. Gb, on the other hand, is a note that only occurs in the keys of Gb and Db. I think - although perhaps I'm wrong - that most people learn things in the sharp direction first, and the flat direction second, so that G# would be slightly more intuitive. Certainly sharp is considered the "forward" direction around the circle of fifths (hence it's not called a circle of 4ths), so there seems to be a slight institutional bias towards sharps over flats.
#7
@HotspurJr
Makes sense, because when I started with this stuff there was totally a bias towards sharps. And I started with learning the Maj/Minor scales and CO5s.

Just a couple of days back I started on standard notation so am starting to understand this a little better and why your response makes sense to me.

I'm glad I posted this, because even though at first in my head I wondered if it was just a dumb Q, I did not make the connection to standard notation (number of sharps etc) but was just looking at the 7 notes in the scale.
“God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.”
(My hero) - Robin Williams
#8
Its a legal and or valid scale, but the notes change dramatically, you can end up with double flats or sharps easily.

For example, an F# Min triad is F# A C#

Gb Min, the same chord but called by its Gb counterpart, would be Gb Bbb and Db.

I think its a good idea to be able to correctly, (note the word correctly, this acknowledges the right letter name for that interval) determine ANY chord, no matter what its called, by seeing the notes, or knowing the chord name, and to be able to determine how to approach it on 6 strings.

Best,

Sean
#9
Quote by MusicGu7
Thanks guys!
So thats the _only_ reason (no two alphabets and no mixing flats and #s)? Or am I missing something else as well?

Neither of those are the reason. The scales of A# and D# can be written without two same letters and without mixing flats and #s. Simplicity is the reason. Going back to your original post, you mention there being no Db major. But there is no simpler way of writing this (C# major has 7 sharps, versus Db's 5 flats), so it is in (reasonably) common use.

Quote by MusicGu7

From there I have learned that at first some things in music does not have to make perfect sense but later it usually tells you why.

It definitely helps to get to grips with enharmonic keys, as keys like A# major can crop up (usually very briefly) in the development section of a sonata form movement, for example. But you wouldn't see many (if any) composers writing specifically in such keys.
#10
Ah yes, forgot about those "pesky" double flats/#s - just never encountered them much.

@korinaflyingv,
I was not really looking at composers writing in such keys, but am trying to memorize the keys (just some brain training) and found most of the keys I mentioned missing in nearly every place... so started wondering.

When in musical doubt UG is the place that usually sorts me out, thanks guys!
“God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.”
(My hero) - Robin Williams
#12
I was trying to create something easier to learn all the notes in each key.

Was also thinking of sharing this with the UG community and request for comments a little later, but I guess I can do that here and start another thread as well a bit later.

This is what I created:
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.rockpaperguitars.majorscale.keyof.a

...as a test, its only to learn in the key of A, but easily converted for other keys as well.

Note you will need an android phone to play the above, but there are also emulators for Windows/Mac to play Android games on your computer.

It's really helped me learn 2 keys quick and in a way that didnt feel like I was forcing myself to learn.

Your (all you guys) input is most welcome to improve on this.

Cheers!
“God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.”
(My hero) - Robin Williams
#13
Normally when a key signature is called for that could have 2 names, the note name that has the least amount of sharps or flats is traditionally chosen. Hence, Db, (6 flats), would be preferred over C# (7 sharps). It's really that simple.

Once you have the semi-tone pattern of a scale in your mind, (Any Major scale = 2-2-1-2-2-2-1), if you stop before a whole note name, you have a flat, if you go past it you have a sharp. If you have a double sharp or double flat, rename the key to the second possibility.
#14
Quote by Captaincranky
Normally when a key signature is called for that could have 2 names, the note name that has the least amount of sharps or flats is traditionally chosen. Hence, Db, (5 flats), would be preferred over C# (7 sharps). It's really that simple.


Once you have the semi-tone pattern of a scale in your mind, (Any Major scale = 2-2-1-2-2-2-1), if you stop before a whole note name, you have a flat, if you go past it you have a sharp. If you have a double sharp or double flat, rename the key to the second possibility.

In the A Major Scale, if you stop before, or go past the 3rd, 6th and 7th degrees you'd have a natural.

Same goes for F-sharp/Gb Major Scale, with the addition of the 2nd degree.
#15
Quote by mdc
In the A Major Scale, if you stop before, or go past the 3rd, 6th and 7th degrees you'd have a natural.

Same goes for F-sharp/Gb Major Scale, with the addition of the 2nd degree.
I have no idea where you came up with the idea you stop before, or go past, a natural note in the same scale when counting it off.

When you overlay the 2-2-1-2-2-2-1 semi-tone pattern of a major scale beginning at the note "A" natural, you'll find you must count PAST the notes C, F, & G. Accordingly, they all become sharps.

A to B = 2 steps! B to C DOESN'T Work, it's only one step. You must go past the "C" to obtain the 2 semi tone spacing. You went past the C, hence it's a sharp. You would agree that C#" is the, "3rd degree" of A Major, wouldn't you!

When you overlay the 2-2-1-2-2-2-1 semi-tone pattern of a major scale beginning at the note "F" natural, You'll find you must stop BEFORE the note "B" natural, hence the note is called a flat.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 9, 2011,