#1
Hello. So I'm learning major scales on the 6th string through a DVD course, and I had two quick questions. First off, I learned the 2212221 pattern. Exactly what is that called? And is that how you build a scale?

Secondly, let's take the scale Bb major. We have Bb, C,D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb. My question is this: does it matter whether we use a flat or sharp, since they are the same thing? For exmar after Bb comes C and then D and then Eb. Can I say D# instead of Eb since they are the same? How does that work?

And lastly, will I have trouble with scales if I don't memorize note names? I know how to sight read, but I wouldn't know in an instant if I'm hitting a B note, or a G note, etc.

Thanks.

EDIT: And oh, for god's sake can someone please give me a non-musician definition of what scales are exactly? Are they basically just a bunch of notes that sound good with each other? Give me a fifth grade definition or something, 'cause everywhere I try to comprehend what a scale actually is they give me this complicated answer. The DVD told me that major scales are the building blocks of all of music. No idea what the hell that means.
Last edited by Granata at Jul 29, 2015,
#2
It's Eb because you are flattening the E, not raising the D.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#3
Quote by theogonia777
It's Eb because you are flattening the E, not raising the D.

Ok so why am I filling out this worksheet and I see that the notes for an F major scale are F G A Bb C D E F? Shouldn't it be A# instead of Bb?
#4
...No.

Each scale you're working with for now needs all seven letters represented in some way.

Start with F and write the musical note letters in order up to another F:

F G A B C D E F

2212221 is a good start. So 22 gives you F-G-A.

Then you have a half-step/1 semitone. A-B is 2 semitones. So you're going to the note 1 semitone below B. 1 semitone below = 1 flat.

-> you get F G A Bb.

Then 2221: C D E F.

The pattern 2212221 will give you the intervals required to make any major scale.

You gave yourself a good definition of scales. You'll learn other scales later. Don't worry about the grandiose talk.
Glad to cross paths with you on this adventure called life
Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#5
A# and Bb are not the same note, only the same pitch.

Like Neo said, you need all 7 letters represented in a 7 note scale.

A major scale is built on the pattern WWHWWWH, as you have indicated.

A natural minor scale is that pattern shifted, WHWWHWW.

That's all you need at this point in the game. A scale is just a collection of pitches.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#6
Each scale you're working with for now needs all seven letters represented in some way.


That answered a lot of questions I would have had in the future. Makes all sense now that you can't have two letters repeating next to eachother, so in that case, we used Bb.

So if it starts at G for example, you're going to have G A B C D E F G, but it just depends whether it's flat or sharp, correct? The letters have to be in order and can't repeat side by side?

And oh, can anyone answer for me that other question I had? The one where I said that I don't know which notes I'm hitting (the letter).
Last edited by Granata at Jul 29, 2015,
#7
G-G example:
Which notes you're hitting: a tuner might help for a while, but you should start listening to what you're playing. If F-G is a tone/step, then G-A should sound similar, just moved up.
#8
Quote by NeoMvsEu
Each scale you're working with for now needs all seven letters represented in some way.

This. You can't have an A and an A# in a diatonic scale. If you're talking about notes that aren't in the scale then you can have more than one, but your basic diatonic scale can only has one of each.

Are they basically just a bunch of notes that sound good with each other?


Basically, yes. The scale is the group of notes you use to build melodies and chords that are diatonic to whatever key you're in. Diatonic means 7 note scale (the eighth note is the octave of the first note, the same note but higher), and you can say that a note or chord is diatonic if it fits in the key of the song. Any notes or chords using notes that aren't part of the scale are non-diatonic. That doesn't mean they're bad, in fact lots of songs in all genres use notes that aren't part of the key, but generally the notes in the key signature are going to be the basic notes that will play nice together.

The key of a song is where the song sounds resolved, where it feels like home. If the key is in E major then an E major chord is going to sound resolved, like the home chord. If the key is E minor, then the song will resolve towards Em. Either way the key note is E, but in the case of E major your "safe notes" are going to be E F# G# A B C# D# E and in Em your "safe notes" are going to be E F# G A B C D E. Notice the only difference is the 3rd, 6th, and 7th notes. In both cases the other notes not in the scale can still be used, but the notes of the scale are like the building blocks.

edit: damnit, I've got to quit leaving threads open in another tab while I'm doing something else and not refreshing them when I respond lol.
Last edited by The4thHorsemen at Jul 29, 2015,
#9
Quote by NeoMvsEu
G-G example:
Which notes you're hitting: a tuner might help for a while, but you should start listening to what you're playing. If F-G is a tone/step, then G-A should sound similar, just moved up.


Let me clarify on the notes question

So I can now sight read because I memorized which note on a staff is which string and fret on a guitar, but if you tell me to play a C# note, I won't have a clue where it's on the fretboard unless you give me like ten seconds to go to the B string and figure out which is a C#. Will that affect my learning to learning scales? Is it important to memorize note names on the fretboard or is it just fine that I can sight read without knowing which note it which on the fretboard?
#10
You'll get a lot of benefit out of really knowing the note names on the fretboard by heart.

I'd start with just learning the natural notes on the E and A string, don't worry about the sharps and flats at first since you can quickly figure them out by the notes directly above or below. Just go up and down the E and A string only playing the natural notes and naming each note as you go and then try jumping around and testing yourself. Then work in the the D string, the G string, and the B string. The high E string is obviously the same as the other E string. Just spend a little time each day working on it and it won't take too long. It's helpful to know that the note two frets up and two strings down is the same note and octave higher, except when you're going across the G to B string because the tuning is different there.

----------6-
-------6----
----5-----3-
-5-----3----
----3-------
-3----------
 ^  ^  ^  ^
 G  C  F  Bb/A#
#11
Quote by Granata
Let me clarify on the notes question

So I can now sight read because I memorized which note on a staff is which string and fret on a guitar, but if you tell me to play a C# note, I won't have a clue where it's on the fretboard unless you give me like ten seconds to go to the B string and figure out which is a C#.


Then you can't sight read.

Reading is not sight reading. Sight reading means I can show you this and you can play it on the first try:



Focus on playing with mindfulness, and being aware of the notes you are playing. Play with purpose and mindfulness, and the fretboard will memorize itself.

4ths advice about fingerings is good.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#12
Quote by Jet Penguin
Then you can't sight read.

Reading is not sight reading. Sight reading means I can show you this and you can play it on the first try:



Focus on playing with mindfulness, and being aware of the notes you are playing. Play with purpose and mindfulness, and the fretboard will memorize itself.


Oh no, I can read that. I wouldn't be able to get it down on the first try unless they were all quarter notes at like 80 BPM, but I can read it. I'm saying if there was for example on the staff written G A C F D, etc, I wouldn't know where those notes are on the fretboard. I only memorized the position of the note on the staff and know exactly where that is on the fretboard, without knowing what the note letter is.

Quote by The4thHorsemen
You'll get a lot of benefit out of really knowing the note names on the fretboard by heart.

I'd start with just learning the natural notes on the E and A string, don't worry about the sharps and flats at first since you can quickly figure them out by the notes directly above or below. Just go up and down the E and A string only playing the natural notes and naming each note as you go and then try jumping around and testing yourself. Then work in the the D string, the G string, and the B string. The high E string is obviously the same as the other E string. Just spend a little time each day working on it and it won't take too long. It's helpful to know that the note two frets up and two strings down is the same note and octave higher, except when you're going across the G to B string because the tuning is different there.

----------6-
-------6----
----5-----3-
-5-----3----
----3-------
-3----------
^ ^ ^ ^
G C F Bb/A#


I will definitely try this routine, thank you. will I have a problem not knowing the names by heart for now though? Or is it just more needed down the road?

Well, thinking about it, I think I need to learn them now by heart. When there's a key signature in the beginning of a song that's telling me to sharp every F, I won't be able to play it smoothly because I'd have to see where on the fretboard are the F notes
#13
^Right, that's called not being able to read.

There are G C F and D's all over that piece, as well as the fretboard. They exist in WAY more than one location.

If you're looking at the page, and can't tell what those notes are called, then you can't read it

Not to mention all the rhythms as well, which is the point I'm making here. Just because you can read the page, looking at a note and going "Oh that's A", doesn't mean you can sight read it, and instantly play the entire passage on your instrument. Make sense?

I'm not saying you can't read, I'm just questioning your ability to sight read Albeniz.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#14
Quote by Jet Penguin
^Right, that's called not being able to read.

There are G C F and D's all over that piece, as well as the fretboard. They exist in WAY more than one location.

If you're looking at the page, and can't tell what those notes are called, then you can't read it

Not to mention all the rhythms as well, which is the point I'm making here. Just because you can read the page, looking at a note and going "Oh that's A", doesn't mean you can sight read it, and instantly play the entire passage on your instrument. Make sense?

I'm not saying you can't read, I'm just questioning your ability to sight read Albeniz.


Mind you that I am still a beginner at music theory, so apart from note durations, accidental, and key signatures, complicated music pieces do seem like gibberish. I can sight read, but I can't sight read advanced pieces.

Last question I want to throw out there to anyone who can answer: I read that there are only 12 notes in guitar music theory. Can someone explain this? I assumed that there was only 7 (A-G), and more than 12 if you added the sharp and flat notes, so could someone explain this?
#15
Quote by Granata


Last question I want to throw out there to anyone who can answer: I read that there are only 12 notes in guitar music theory. Can someone explain this? I assumed that there was only 7 (A-G), and more than 12 if you added the sharp and flat notes, so could someone explain this?


There are 7 natural notes, and the other 5 come from sharps and flats. Just 12, yes. A, A#/bb, b, c, c#/Db, d, d#/eb, e, f, f#/gb, g, g#/ab, A. The ones with a forward slash between them are enharmonic, meaning they're the same tone but a different note name, You already learned about why they're named like that in this thread though, so.

But there's also microtonal music and idk what the **** that black magic is ask theogonia
ayy lmao
Last edited by chookiecookie at Jul 30, 2015,
#16
Quote by chookiecookie
There are 7 natural notes, and the other 5 come from sharps and flats. Just 12, yes. A, A#/bb, b, c, c#/Db, d, d#/eb, e, f, f#/gb, g, g#/ab, A. The ones with a forward slash between them are enharmonic, meaning they're the same tone but a different note name, You already learned about why they're named like that in this thread though, so.

But there's also microtonal music and idk what the **** that black magic is ask theogonia



That clears it up. Thanks a lot

Thanks to everyone else who helped
#17
Quote by Granata
I wouldn't know where those notes are on the fretboard. I only memorized the position of the note on the staff and know exactly where that is on the fretboard, without knowing what the note letter is.
That's interesting. I always wondered if it was possible to learn in that way, but hadn't encountered anyone who had.

In a sense, if you can do that, you don't need to know the note names, because you can get straight from the notation to your instrument. (It's only your lack of speed that means you can't "sight-read"; because a sight-reader would play it as easily as you could read this sentence out loud.)
Even so, I agree you should learn the note names. It has to make any further progress you want to make a whole lot easier. You'll certainly never understand theory - or be able to talk music with other musicians - without knowing note names. In particular you should be able to connect your current exercises with your instrument.

My question is, when you see a note on (say) the top space of the staff, do you know all the places that can be played, or just one? Or do you go by hints on the notation telling you where to play it (as often given on classical guitar music)?
#18
I know this was already answered, but why Bb major has an Eb and not a D# makes a lot of sense on sheet music.



Look at how hard to read the one with sharps is, and how easy to read the one with flats is, especially when you use the key signature.


The scale the music uses defines the key of the piece. What does a key mean? Well, in a key you have some kind of a center that you will feel a pull towards. That's the "home note", and we call it the tonic. By using a different scale, ie a collection of notes, you change the sound. Let's say our tonic is C (well, you can't just decide it like that - the tonic is defined by what you play, but let's say you just play a melody or a chord progression, doesn't matter, that defines the tonic as C) and you use the notes C D E F G A B in any order over it, it will have a sound that we call "major". You could also describe it as "happy" (but this is just a stupid generalization - not every major song sounds happy, and a song sounding happy doesn't mean it's in a major key). But if you play notes C D Eb F G Ab Bb in any order over it, it will have another kind of a sound that we call "minor". You could say it sounds "sad" (again, a stupid generalization).

So we have a home note, and with different scales you can create different sounds. We have two different keys - major and minor. That's what scales are for. They are just collections of notes that have a certain sound.

There are of course different scales than just major and minor, but they are the most common ones. Most music will use them + accidentals ("out of key" notes, for example C# in the key of C).

I know you wanted a really simple explanation of scales, but that's just not going to happen. It doesn't really make sense without talking about keys. I tried to be as clear and simple as possible.


I don't really like thinking about the WHWHWHHWHWHHHWH thing. For me that's just hard to remember. I prefer using numbers. You have seven notes - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. In a major scale there's a whole step between every note, except for the 3rd and 4th, and 7th and 8th (same as 1st) notes. By giving the notes numbers (or calling them "do re mi fa so la ti" which is basically the same thing) you also understand the sound of the different notes easier. The third note of every major scale will sound the same. This is why I prefer giving the different notes either numbers or names (do re mi, etc), and not just memorizing the "WHHWHWHWHWH" thing.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Jul 30, 2015,
#19
^Agreed. The WWH is not something I'm a fan of either, but I figured it better for a beginner than throwing out numbers.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#20
Quote by Granata
Let me clarify on the notes question

So I can now sight read because I memorized which note on a staff is which string and fret on a guitar, but if you tell me to play a C# note, I won't have a clue where it's on the fretboard unless you give me like ten seconds to go to the B string and figure out which is a C#. Will that affect my learning to learning scales? Is it important to memorize note names on the fretboard or is it just fine that I can sight read without knowing which note it which on the fretboard?


I don't see how you can sight read and not know where the notes are on the fretboard. Can you explain that?

I think if you progress far enough on the reading side, you will know the notes on the fretboard, you will just associate them with certain positions native to sightreading. I sightread as well, but I also just "know" every note on the fretboard.

You may not be at the stage yet where you understand that if you know where your natural notes are, then flat or sharp versions of those same notes are easy to find, but in sightreading, they still take some skill to pull off, at first. For example Bb in 1st position vs B or Eb versus E.

Your speed on the fret board and recognizing the notes, and learning and understanding scales will be affected by how quickly you can recognize the notes on the neck of the guitar or not.

And there are way more than 12 notes in theory, depending upon the context. That's a bit ahead of you at this stage. It's probably a better idea that you sequentially work your way through the basics of theory. Some you will encounter once in a blue moon, but they are there.

You have just as a starting point A Ab A# Bb B C C# D Db D# Eb E F F# G Gb G#

That's 17.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Jul 30, 2015,
#21
I will read more in depth the other posts when I get home, but to answer the questions of the guys who ask how I can sight read without knowing the note names:

Let's say there's a whole note with a sharp sign lying on top of the line that's on the very top of the staff. I won't know exactly what that note letter is at that moment, but I will know exactly where it is on the fretboard in an instant, which is the 4th fret, 1st string. To know the note name, I'd have to take a second and tell myself, "Okay, that's the E string, and the note after that is an F. After the F there is no natural note, so the third fret is a G, and since there's no natural note after that, that must be a G#."

So yes, me not knowing the note letters in an instant screws my ability to play songs with a key signature smoothly or on my first try. I would have to take a minute and memorize all the places on the fretboard that I would have to flat or sharp.
Last edited by Granata at Jul 30, 2015,
#22
^Except that note is also:

9th fret 2nd string

13th fret 3rd string

18th fret 4th string

23rd fret 5th string

So, you can read in only one position. Which is great, don't get me wrong. But that's a very small piece of the puzzle vs. being able to sight read and play lines everywhere without thinking.

Again, reading and sight reading aren't the same thing.

Not trying to put you down or anything, just saying. Sight reading (actual sight reading) is one of the hardest things about playing this instrument.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#23
Quote by Jet Penguin
^Except that note is also:

9th fret 2nd string

13th fret 3rd string

18th fret 4th string

23rd fret 5th string

So, you can read in only one position. Which is great, don't get me wrong. But that's a very small piece of the puzzle vs. being able to sight read and play lines everywhere without thinking.

Again, reading and sight reading aren't the same thing.

Not trying to put you down or anything, just saying. Sight reading (actual sight reading) is one of the hardest things about playing this instrument.


Give me time. Still new at all of this.
#24
Quote by Granata
So yes, me not knowing the note letters in an instant screws my ability to play songs with a key signature smoothly or on my first try.
Not quite. You could play them all in the one position you know, and get faster by practising with new material all the time. Knowing the note names would not make you faster.

Not knowing the other positions on the fretboard for that place on the notation means you're limited to one position, which would certainly slow you down if, for instance you had a lot of high notes (on ledger lines above the staff) and you would feel - I guess - you had to play them all on the 1st string.

Again, I'm not suggesting you don't need to learn the notes! Knowing the note names (for every fret on every string) is - IMO - a more useful skill than being able to sight-read.
Learning note names shouldn't take you too long - plenty of fretboard patterns to help you.
If you want to get to read fast enough to be able to sight-read, that will take longer, and will get gradually quicker over time the more you do it.

Having the note names in your head is just one of those pieces of information that helps tie everything together, helping you understand theoretical concepts and make sense of music intellectually. That's important, it's just not the same as the knowledge you really need in the end, which is being able to handle the notes as sounds - using ear and fingers. Lots of listening and playing is what makes you better at that.

If you want a metaphor, music is like exploring a strange country. Note names (like other theoretical labels) are the signposts. You can do without them, learning the paths and routes by habit, but it sure helps if you can read the signs!
Last edited by jongtr at Jul 31, 2015,