#1
So I'm starting to figure out the fretboard and where the notes are but I cant figure out why certain notes have sharps and flats and others don't and where those notes are on the fretboard and also why a c note directly follows a b and ditto for e - f
Last edited by cerberus1111 at Aug 25, 2016,
#2
Well if you want the answer to your question, then have a read into the history of the nomenclature in Western music. I'm not nice enough to give the entire history at 4am in the morning. But I'll give you this fun fact: in German nomenclature they call the note 'B' a 'H'.
#3
cerberus1111

if your serious about music to any degree and want to apply it to guitar and understand all the "whys"...study Diatonic Harmony..its not that hard and a lot of your questions will be answered..and your understanding of the fretboard will increase many fold...
play well

wolf
#4
They had only 12 notes but 7 letters and so since 14 doesn't fit into 12, they sent two of the black keys to start a lousy garbage -- I mean garage -- rock band.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#5
Quote by cerberus1111
So I'm starting to figure out the fretboard and where the notes are but I cant figure out why certain notes have sharps and flats and others don't and where those notes are on the fretboard and also why a c note directly follows a b and ditto for e - f
OK, here's a little experiment you can do with guitar. It may or may not explain anything, but it may put your curiosity on the right path...

1. Divide the string (any string) in half. That's 12th fret.
2. Now divide by 3. That gives you frets 7 and 19.
3. Now divide by 4. That gives you fret 5 (and 24 if your fretboard is long enough).

Fret 12 is the octave, and you can see you have two division points at fret 5 and 7. Why are these frets important? Because they mark the "perfect" intervals of 4th, 5th and octave - so called because they sound pure and strong. IOW, strong sounds come from dividing a string in simple ratios. (Historically, scales were not created by dividing the octave. They were created by dividing the string (or the pipe of an organ or flute.)

Octave = 1/2 string length (fret 12 to bridge)
Perfect 5th = 2/3 string length (fret 7 to bridge)
Perfect 4th = 3/4 string length (fret 5 to bridge)

Now, you can take that space between frets 5-7 - which we can call a basic scale unit (whole step) - and see how many you can fit into the bigger spaces (0-5, 7-12). You get two and half in each space, right? That's basically where our two half-steps in the octave come from. In the modal system, you could put those extra notes anywhere you like in those spaces. Our currently most popular mode (popular for a few centuries now), which we call the "major scale", arranges the fret divisions as | 2-2-1-|-2-|-2-2-1 |. Play that fret pattern up any string (0-2-4-5-7-9-11-12) and you get the major scale of the open string note.

Probably for the above mathematical reasons (or rather because the ratios produce good sounds), 7-note scales are standard in many musical cultures - not only Europe and the West, but the Middle East and India too. (Indian music actually recognises 22 octave divisions, but they still use 7 note scales, composed of approximately whole and half steps same as ours.)

Back in the middle ages, they had no sharps or flats - just one set of 7 notes, of which they used four modes. They had no chords. Sharps and flats were very gradually introduced, for certain melodic or harmonic reasons, as harmony began to evolve. Our current system of major and minor keys (12 of each, with a full complement of sharps and flats) wasn't really in place until around 400-500 years ago. The "major scale" as we know it wasn't really recognised before that.
Last edited by jongtr at Aug 25, 2016,
#6
It's because the note names are based on diatonic scales (for example major and minor scales) and diatonic scales have both half and whole steps in them. It's just easier to call the notes in C major C D E F G A B (and use the same letters for all scales) than if we for example used a different letter for every half step (this would mean we would need to use 12 different letters) or whole step (we would use 6 different letters which would mean all major scales would have flats/sharps in them and one letter would appear twice in every octave). Music is mostly based on major and minor scales so that's why our notes are named the way they are named - they work best for major/minor music.

To build a major scale, you need a half step between the 3rd and 4th note; and 7th and 8th (=1st) note. Why? Because that way it sounds like the major scale (you can try it on your guitar - play the major scale by using just one string and you'll notice where the half steps are). Because C major is C D E F G A B and there needs to be a half step between the 3rd and 4th note; and 7th and 8th/1st note, there is a half step between E and F; and B and C.

This is of course just a simplified version and there's actually more behind it (study some music history if you are really interested in it).
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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