Major Scales and Their Kin

The scale, properly speaking, does not permit the measure of the intelligence, because intellectual qualities are not superposable, and therefore cannot be measured as linear surfaces are measured.
~ Alfred Binet (French psychologist, 1st to quantify intelligence, 1857-1911)
 
A song has a few rights the same as ordinary citizens… if it happens to feel like flying where humans cannot fly… to scale mountains that are not there, who shall stop it?
~ Charles Ives (US Composer, 1874-1954)
________________________
 Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.
 
Not much time to write in the coming weeks as I wrap up my comprehensive exam questions for the PhD. Then it’s on to craft and execute a study of my own on practice. So, in the spirit of doing two things at once, I’m including links to a series of lessons in which I explain the major scale, all its modes, relative minor, Major and minor pentatonics, and the related blues scale. I posted it to help trumpet players learn the fingering of their scales, but the concepts can help anyone and getting the sound of each scale into your memory is essential.
 
I’ll post notification of other types of scales like the harmonic and melodic minors, diminished scales and other symmetrical scales, as well as more exotic scales, like the Insen, a Japanese scale.
 
Each major scale contains 6 other modes. Each mode uses the exact same notes as the Major scale, but each starts on a different note. This changes the series of whole and half steps that make up a major scale (which, btw, is wwhwwwh), and gives each mode a different “feel.” Each mode is associated with a particular chord, sometimes more than one. But we’ll keep it simple. Below is the list of scales/modes in C Major. The chord symbol for oft-used  modes is included :
  • C Ionian/Major  (I): used in C, CM7, Cmaj7, Cmaj9
  • D Dorian (ii):  Dmin7, D-7, Dm7, etc.
  • E Phrygian (iii): Emin, Em, E-, E-7 , etc.
  • F Lydian (IV)
  • G Mixolydian (V):  G7, G9, etc.
  • A Aeolian/natural minor (vi):  Am, Amin, A-, Amin7, A-7, etc.
  • B Locrian (vii)
 
All major pentatonic (5-note) scales use degrees 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 . For the C Major Pentatonic you get  C, D, E, G, A.
The related minor pentatonic (starting on the 6th degree) contains the exact same notes, but starts on the sixth degree (vi), which for is A in this case. The notes of the A minor pentatonic are: A, C, D, E, G. An alternative approach is build a minor pentatonic from natural minor scale (A minor) and use the scale degrees 1, 3, 4, 5, 7. If this is confusing you, watch the vid or go to this tutorial (staff, sound, text).
For an excellent  flash lesson on the major scale. Click on the bullet-pointed steps and see it animated on the staff lines above.
 
 
The Blues Scale is closely related to the minor pentatonic, but it has an extra note, the b5. The related blues scale for C major is A Blues. If we take the A minor pentatonic and add a b5, we get: A, C, D, E, Eb, G which is the blues scale. Watch toward the end of the vid to hear how this sounds.
 
If you’d like notification of when I post new videos, you can follow me on Twitter @PracticeTactics, or go to: http://twitter.com/PracticeTactics
 
 
Have fun and good luck with your practice…
Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.
Here is a link to a vid with examples for the key of Bb
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s