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Music Theory: Scales

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Scales Menu: Major Scales | Scales | Scales

Now that we know enough about Intervals, let's take a journey in the world of Musical Scales. We have worked on the Major Scale but we still don't know exactly what a scale is or why we call it Major.

Let's switch to notation, that music writing system with dots, lines and funny symbols....( you can learn more in the Notation section)

Here's what a C Major scale looks like in notation. The roman numbers below it represent the interval of each note from the Root and also their position on the scale: we will call them Grades. So G is the fifth grade in a C Major scale.

Further below we wrote the interval between every consecutive grade: they are all major or minor seconds.

T - T - 1/2T - T - T - T - 1/2T

This is the formula of the major scale, it's DNA: we can start from any note and add the the notes at the right intervals and we'll always end up with a major scale. Let's start from A:

And then from F....

As you can see, we used all seven notes and added either flats or sharps in each scale, so there is no confusion: in a A Major scale the C is always sharp, you can't have D and D flat in the same scale. This will be very useful when we will study Keys.

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