I'm trying to learn intervals so I can try to get away from box positions when it comes to scales. The major scale has the interval, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7. The notes are C,D,E,F,G,A,B. Great. But how does this interval help you build the scale? Say you wanted to see what notes were in the A major scale. How could you apply the interval to find out? Obviously 1 would be A, but what note would the 2nd degree be? With this numeric interval, there is no hint as to the distance between notes as there is with the step formula WWHWWWH. How do you use the numeric interval to find out what notes are in a particular scale?
Last edited by rockadoodle at Jun 3, 2008,
They're of vital importance once you know the major scale.

For instance, write the C Bangoodcharlote scale, intervals 1 b2 3 #4 #5 #6 7. You know the C major scale, so apply the formula and you get C Db E F# G# A# B.

However, to form the major scale, you need to know the WWHWWWH method. After that, though, I find the number method much more effective as everything is relative to the root and you eliminate the possibility of spelling errors.
Oh, ok that makes sense. For the major scale you pretty much have to use the WWHWWWH formula? I understood how scales were constructed from the other intervals like the minor pentatonic was 1 b3 4 5 b7. C minor pentatonic would be C D# F G A#. Right? I just wasn't sure how I was supposed to go about constructing the major scale. Thanks so much BGC for all of your help. You are really good at theory. Did you go to school for it? Thanks again.
Oh, ok that makes sense. For the major scale you pretty much have to use the WWHWWWH formula? I understood how scales were constructed from the other intervals like the minor pentatonic was 1 b3 4 5 b7. C minor pentatonic would be C D# F G A#. Right? I just wasn't sure how I was supposed to go about constructing the major scale. Thanks so much BGC for all of your help. You are really good at theory. Did you go to school for it? Thanks again.

It would be C Eb F G Bb. D# is the augmented major second. Eb is the enharmonic equivalent but is the minor third.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
C D E F G A B
Just so you know, the "1234567" does not really refer to intervals of the major scales, it refers to scale degrees. It's a quick way to see what note lies at what scale degree, and makes chord construction easier; however, it'd be hard to piece together a scale just given "1234567" and a root note with no prior knowledge. Memorize the WWHWWWH formula for the major scale and you'll be good to go.
I'm trying to learn intervals so I can try to get away from box positions when it comes to scales. The major scale has the interval, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7. The notes are C,D,E,F,G,A,B. Great. But how does this interval help you build the scale? Say you wanted to see what notes were in the A major scale. How could you apply the interval to find out? Obviously 1 would be A, but what note would the 2nd degree be? With this numeric interval, there is no hint as to the distance between notes as there is with the step formula WWHWWWH. How do you use the numeric interval to find out what notes are in a particular scale?

Keep in mind learning intervals or any theory, doesnt "get you away from box shapes". It doesnt really have anything to do with them, and they arent something you need to avoid for any reason. I know you've probably heard here at UG that "Box shapes are bad" or whatever, but thats not true at all. Scales, chords, intervals, all are seen as shapes on the neck. Learning theory doesn't have any effect on that, they still exist and you will still play through them. If anything learning theory will enhance your understanding of why the shapes are what they are.

That being said the way to find the notes in a scale is simple. Start on the desired tonic, and follow the formula of whole steps and half steps. (half step = 1 fret span on the guitar, whole step = 2 frets)

If you really want to understand theory, I would suggest getting your reading chops together, and then start studying from the basics on up.

The 1st things I would focus on is:

- whole steps and half steps
- Major & minor scale formula / construction
- Intervals

Thats plenty right there for starters.
C minor pentatonic would be C D# F G A#. Right?
No. You've made spelling errors. Apply my idea.

Your scale starts on C, so take the C major scale: C D E F G A B. The formula for the scale you want is 1 b3 4 5 b7, so apply the formula to it: C Eb F G Bb.

In music, spelling doesn't refer to mispelling a word. It means that you've written a scale using an enharmonic tone (Eb=D#) but that enharmonic tone is the wrong choice given the scale's interval formula.
Ok, I get it now. Thanks for all the help guys. Im doin my best to learn theory to aid my playing but it seems like I keep hitting a freakin brick wall every time I think I've made a breakthrough and thought I had learned something.
Fast way to determine which notes go into which scale or key, aka determine the alterations...

If the scale is major, and the alterations are sharps, then to the name of the scale go down 1 grade (like from G to F), and that determines the last alteration in the thing next to the cleff (english terms escapes me from now). For instance, you have Amaj, so you downgrade it to G (the A thats it), so you get (using the FCGDAEB alteration pattern for sharps) that the alterations in the scale of Amaj are F, C, and G. So the scale is A B C# D E F# G# A

Major scale, flats-The name of the scale would represent the previous to last alterations in the BEADGCF pattern. If you have Bbmaj, then the alterations would be BE. If you have Dbmaj, they would be BEADG, etc..

Minor scale-sharps-Move the grade up. You have lets say Bmin, so you move it up and get C. Making the scale B C# D E F# G A B

Minor scale-flats-To the name of the scale, move it 3 grades down. Lets say you have Gmin. Move it 3 down, you get E (GFE, 3 grades). So the alterations are BE, meaning the scale is G A Bb C D Eb F G

That is the way I build the scales, I do it mentally, you should practise it if you will try it, but it is very simple in the end....
I hope it helps, even though I don't know all the terms in english..
Last edited by gonzaw at Jun 3, 2008,
Saying shape or scale pattern is to be avioded or bad is wierd.

Open C maj chords or any other chords have shape or patterns.
You have to start some where and there has to be orginazations
,structure somewhere, refference piont somewhere...be it scale shapes.

I havn't hear of anyone say to aviod practice of memorizing chord shape
is bad. People memorize chords all day everyday without knowing
what is the root or 3rd or 5th...but they know how to make those
chords. eventally they'll learn about the root note of chords and chords
structures.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 refers to degree... i guess the intervals are the
distance between those numbers.

The diatonic scale is the refference piont 1/2 step 3,4 and 7,8

if you wanna play the minor pentatonic it's 1,b3,4,b6,b7.....adjust accordingly.

You can save yourself time and memorized the 5 shapes or patterns
of the minor pentatonic that millions of people went before you
and figured the guitar's fretboard already.

If you put those little single box pattern together and if you practice
or become familar with them...you can put them all together and
get a super box that's 24 frets big

Or if you're not too busy , You can reinvent a new way of playing it.lol
Come up with alternative tunning or something.

Okay here's a little hint...some people write it as WWHWWWH....
others write it as TTSTTTS

or a Half step is the same as Semitone
Last edited by Ordinary at Jun 4, 2008,