#1
I've seen degree numbers around. Where it goes 1234567.
And in C Major, it would just be all of the notes, CDEFGAB.

So, if you put D first, wouldn't it be in D major?
And if you followed the degrees, then how does the F and the C become sharp?
I am aware that the key of D is supposed to have these.

So is it wise to have prior knowledge of all the keys before you start looking at degrees?
Rather than learning the keys of scales FROM degrees?
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#2
Quote by Johnnybizzoy

So is it wise to have prior knowledge of all the keys before you start looking at degrees?
Rather than learning the keys of scales FROM degrees?


you kind of have this right, but it sounds like you might not be aware of why.

degrees are just a sort of shorthand for referring to notes once a key is established. they are meaningless without this context.
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#3
You follow the intervals, or distance between notes. If you start on D and count the frets up you'll see where the sharps and flats come in. The interval (number of frets) between the root and the 7th in C is the same as in D (11 semitones). This means that in the key of D, the note C is only 10 semitones up from the root, so the 7th is C#.
Last edited by innovine at Nov 23, 2013,
#4
Quote by Johnnybizzoy
I've seen degree numbers around. Where it goes 1234567.
And in C Major, it would just be all of the notes, CDEFGAB.

So, if you put D first, wouldn't it be in D major?
And if you followed the degrees, then how does the F and the C become sharp?
I am aware that the key of D is supposed to have these.


You don't begin on a scale's second degree to get, in this case, from C to D Major, but you raise all the notes in the scale by the interval that is between the root and 2nd (in this case, a whole step to get from C to D).
If you do it your way, you scramble the intervals between the degrees. Notice that in the C Major scale, the half steps are between E and F and between B and C (the 3rd and 4th and between the 7th and the octave - all other intervals between adjacent notes are whole steps). . If you take the same notes, but just begin on D, half steps are still between the E-F and B-C pairs, just now those notes are the 2nd and 3rd and the 6th and 7th because this new scale starts on D, which becomes the root. (This scale is, FYI, called D Dorian). If shown in degrees, it's not 1234567, but it's 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7.

Raising all notes by a whole step is also how you get the F#(by raising E by a whole step) and C#(doing the same with B).

You must learn what intervals each type of scale contains and then you are able to tell when starting on a certain note, what are the other notes in that scale. By starting on a scale's 2nd, or 3rd, or 5647th degree, you won't be playing the same scale because you have the same notes but not the same root.
#5
The scale degrees are intervals between the scale root and the other notes. For example the major scale - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. And the minor scale - 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7.

The degrees that have a "b" in front of them means that they are a minor interval (or if it's in front of 4 or 5, it means diminished interval) and if there's a "#" in front of the scale degree, it means augmented interval. Otherwise they are major or perfect (when talking about 4 and 5) intervals.

So in a major scale the intervals between the root and the other notes are always major 2nd, major 3rd, perfect 4th, perfect 5th, major 6th and major 7th. So by knowing this pattern you can build any major scale.

For example D major: Major 2nd from D is E, major third from D is F#, perfect fourth from D is G, perfect fifth from D is A, major 6th from D is B, and Major 7th from D is C#. So what we get is D E F# G A B C#.

And why did we sharpen the F# and C#? Because if you know the intervals, major third from D is F#, not F, and major seventh from D is C#, not C. And why is this? Because there's a semitone between E - F and B - C, and there's a whole tone between every other note. So between D and F and D and C there's a minor interval and that's why you need to sharpen the F and C to get the major intervals the scale requires.

If you don't know about intervals yet, I would suggest learning about them. Also learn to recognize them by ear.
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#6
Quote by Johnnybizzoy
I've seen degree numbers around. Where it goes 1234567.
And in C Major, it would just be all of the notes, CDEFGAB.

So, if you put D first, wouldn't it be in D major?
And if you followed the degrees, then how does the F and the C become sharp?
I am aware that the key of D is supposed to have these.

So is it wise to have prior knowledge of all the keys before you start looking at degrees?
Rather than learning the keys of scales FROM degrees?


I'd say you are on the right track. Do you know what Whole and half steps are?

Map out a C Major scale in letter order, then anaylize the order of whole steps and half steps and at what degrees. The C Major provides a "Template" of the Major scale, in all other keys in terms of Whole and half steps using letters of the musical alphabet. C is good because it uses letters only, and its really easy to write the alphabet from C to C.

Best,

Sean
#7
Quote by Johnnybizzoy
I've seen degree numbers around. Where it goes 1234567.
And in C Major, it would just be all of the notes, CDEFGAB.

So, if you put D first, wouldn't it be in D major?
And if you followed the degrees, then how does the F and the C become sharp?
I am aware that the key of D is supposed to have these.

So is it wise to have prior knowledge of all the keys before you start looking at degrees?
Rather than learning the keys of scales FROM degrees?

You need to know the major scale as a step pattern.

The step pattern for the major scale is
Tone - Tone - Semitone - Tone - Tone - Tone - Semitone.

This step pattern is the same regardless of what key centre you use. Following this step pattern we get seven different notes of the major scale + the octave to make a total of eight notes. Each of these notes can be represented by it's place along the scale or it's "scale degree".

Because the step pattern is always the same regardless of whatever note we start on the relationship between the scale degrees of the major scale will always be the same regardless of what key centre you use. By using the scale degrees we can talk about these relationships in a way that applies to ALL the different keys.

So don't apply the scale degrees to a specific note. To work out the major scale start with the chromatic scale and apply the step pattern. This will tell you which notes are in a given scale.

E.G.
The chromatic scale (using sharps)
C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B C

To find the D major scale apply the step pattern (Tone = two semitones move along two places; Semitone = one semitone move along one place.)

The major scale step pattern is Tone Tone Semitone Tone Tone Tone Semitone

So start on D go up a whole Tone to E then up a Tone to F# then up a Semitone to G then up a Whole Tone to A then up whole Tone to B then up a whole Tone to C# then up a Semitone to D and you have the D major scale
D E F# G A B C# D

Do the same for any note. If you end up with two of the same letters in the same scale then use flats instead of sharps...you should always end up with each letter used only once.

C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab A Bb B C...etc

The scale degrees simply represent the relationship between the different steps in the scale which are the same in every major scale because the major scale always uses the same step pattern.

1 Tone 2 Tone 3 Semitone 4 Tone 5 Tone 6 Tone 7 Semitone 8

[edit]
So we can see how between the first and fourth scale degree there is ALWAYS two whole tones and one semitone (a total of five semitones) between the scale degrees. This is the same in ALL major scales. But we don't apply the scale degrees to anything to get the major scale since we first have to know the major scale in order to get the scale degrees. Know the step pattern and you know the major scale.

Once you have the major scale down then the numbers come into their own because they refer to the major scale degrees. If you don't know the major scale then the degrees mean nothing. So you should learn and understand the major scale first.
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