Pop Music Theory

Lessons

Detailed Contents

8: Scales

Get New Lessons

Detailed Contents

Lesson 8: Scales

This lesson explains what a scale is. You'll need to understand scales to understand chords and melodies.

Before taking this lesson, you should know:
A scale is a particular sequence of pitch names, arranged in order from low to high. Here are some examples of scales and the pitches in them:

Scale Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
B major scale: BC♯D♯ EF♯G♯A♯
B natural minor scale: BC♯D EF♯GA
D♭ major scale: D♭E♭F G♭A♭B♭C

Here are some important basic facts about the most common scales (some of these things are not true of all scales):
  • These common scales each contain 7 different pitches, numbered 1-2-3-4-5-6-7.
  • A scale's numbered pitches are called the degrees of the scale. For example, from the table above we can say that "the 3rd degree of the B major scale is D♯".
  • A scale's starting pitch is called the tonic.
  • A scale's name is its tonic (its starting pitch, like B or D♭) plus its scale type (like "major scale" or "natural minor scale").
  • These common scales use each letter-name (A, B, C, D, E, F, G) exactly once. What makes each scale different from the others (besides which pitch it starts on) is the flat (♭) or sharp (♯) (or neither) on each pitch.
  • For these common scales, the distance between each degree of the scale is (usually) either a whole-step or half-step.
  • The thing that makes one scale type different from another is its order of half-steps and whole-steps. For example, "for the major scale scale type, is the distance from degree 3 to degree 4 a half-step or whole-step?".

Next:
Start learning about the major scale (the most "fundamental" scale type) in Lesson 9: Major Scale 1-2-3.

Lessons

1: Introduction
2: Practicing Songwriting
3: Pitch Names
4: Letters Game
5: Sharps & Flats
6: Half-Steps & Whole-Steps
7: Steps Game
8: Scales
9: Major Scale 1-2-3
10: Major 1-2-3 Games
11: Major Scale 1-5
12: Major 1-5 Games
13: Chords: Major Triads
14: Major Triad Games
15: Minor Triads
16: Minor Triad Games
17: Major Scale 1-8
18: Major Scale Games
19: Keys
20: Roman Numeral Chords
21: Scales Above 8
22: Diatonic Triads
23: Using Diatonics
24: Tonic Function
25: Subdominant & Dominant
26: Diatonic Function Analysis
27: Natural Minor Scale
28: Natural Minor Games
29: Minor Key Triads
30: 7th Chords
31: 7ths Games
32: Suspended-4th Chords
33: Time: Beats & Measures
34: Starting a Song: Hook Chords
35: Melody: Chord Tones
36: Treble Staff
37: Treble Staff Game
38: Note Lengths
39: Tied & Dotted Notes
40: Rhythm: Rests
41: Key Signatures
42: Diatonic 7ths
43: Non-Root-Bass Chords
44: Major Pentatonic Scale
45: Embellishing Tones
46: Melody Rhythm: Rolling Stone
47: Pitch & Frequency

Get New Lessons

Detailed Contents


ABOUT US - CONTACT US (info@drawmusic.com) - FACEBOOK

© 2018 Conrad Albrecht. All rights reserved.