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Transcript
Review—Scales
Major Scales
The most common scale in Western music is the Major scale. Each Major scale has it’s own key
signature (no two Major scales can share a key signature). The key signature of a given Major
scale can be determined by using the following chart:
Number of Sharps of Flats
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
SHARP KEYS
FLAT KEYS
Order of Sharps or Flats
The order of sharps and flats in a given key signature is not arbitrary. They must appear in the
following order:
SHARPS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
5
6
7
FLATS
1
2
3
4
Minor Scales
Every Major scale has a minor scale that uses the same key signature (uses the same set of
pitches), but has a different starting note (and therefore a different name). Because they share a
key signature, they are called relatives.
To find a Major scale’s relative minor, we use the same key signature, but begin and end the
scale on the sixth degree of the Major Scale. For example, to find the relative minor of C Major,
we use the key signature from C Major (no sharps or flats), but we begin and end the minor scale
on the sixth degree of C Major – A. The relative minor to C Major is A Minor.
C MAJOR
A MINOR
There are three types of minor scales:
Natural Minor
The Natural minor scale is the scale that we “naturally” get from the Major scale – no notes are
altered. The following is an A Natural minor scale.
Harmonic Minor
In the Harmonic minor scale, the seventh degree is raised one semitone going up the scale, and
stays raised coming down the scale. This change is necessary when harmonizing melodies in
minor keys. The following is an A Harmonic minor scale.
Melodic Minor
In the Melodic minor scale, the sixth and seventh degrees are both raised one semitone on the
way up the scale, and then both are lowered on the way down. This change allows for writing
smoother melodic lines in minor keys. The second half of the ascending Melodic minor sounds
like a Major scale. The descending Melodic minor scale sounds like a Natural minor scale.
The following is an A Melodic minor scale.
Chromatic Scale
Chromatic scales consist of all twelve notes found between any note and its octave. All the notes
in a chromatic scale are a semitone apart. Because the notes in a chromatic scale move by a
semitone, it is necessary to use accidentals when writing the scale. Sharps are used to write the
ascending scale, and flats are used descending. Use a bar line after the top notes or be sure to
use accidentals to cancel out any preceding accidentals. There can never be more than two
notes in a row with the same letter name. The top and bottom note of the chromatic scale must
also be the specified scale name. The following is a C chromatic scale.
Whole Tone
The whole tone scale consists of six notes, each a whole tone apart. Like all scales, the whole
tone scale must begin and end on the same note. The following is a whole tone scale built on C.