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Exploring Scales

One of the challenges I have as a drummer learning how to play piano and sing, is that I do not have the scales firmly rooted in my brain.

This article explains the main features of scales and provides some exercises to help learn pitch, scales, intervals, and the root major chord.

A major scale consists of seven notes with intervals of whole steps (two keys on a piano keyboard) and half steps (semitones) in the following pattern:

whole whole half whole whole whole half

We will simply call the notes in the scale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7, with the octave being 8.

The recording below runs through the following pattern:

  • Root Tone: 1
  • Major Scale: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 repeated twice
  • Major Second: 1-2 1 2 1 2 1 (2 semitones)
  • Major Third: 1-3 1 3 1 3 1 (4 semitones)
  • Perfect Fourth: 1-4 1 4 1 4 1 (5 semitones)
  • Perfect Fifth: 1-5 1 5 1 5 1 (7 semitones)
  • Major Sixth: 1-6 1 6 1 6 1 (9 semitones)
  • Major Seventh: 1-7 1 7 1 7 1 (11 semitones)
  • Perfect Octave: 1-8 1 8 1 8 1 (12 semitones)
  • [descending intervals]
  • Major Chord with Octave: 1-3-5-8
  • Major Chord Arpeggio (notes separate): 1 3 5 8 5 3 1 repeated twice
  • Major Chord with Octave: 1-3-5-8

C Major:

play C Major

G Major:

play G Major.

Practice Suggestions:

  1. Sing the scales and intervals. Even if you play an instrument, singing the notes can help anchor them.
  2. Play the scales and intervals on your instrument.
  3. Listen releatedly to the scales and intervals and try to replay in your mind.

There is more about key signatures (and everything) at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_signature

See: