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Jesus Joshua 24:15 Home  »  Forum Home  »  Music Discussions  »  Guitar Discussions  »  Lesson #9: Building Blocks - Scales Part II



Guitar Weenie

740 Posts

Posted - 05 Dec 2005 :  12:26:06 Show Profile
Building Blocks: Scales Part II

Let us review about the Chromatic scale: Essentialy, the chromatic scale is every tone in the 12 tone system of western
harmony.You begin on any note (in our previous example, it was'E'on the low 6th string, open note.), and move up, or down,
the tones in "half-step", or 1 fret, intervals.For example, if you were to begin at the low 'E', 6th string, open note,
picked the next note on the 6th string, first fret (an 'F'),then picked the 6th string,second fret (or'F#/Gb'), that would
Be considered ascending chromatically.It is simply moving in any direction using 'half-steps' as your interval.You can be-
gin on any note, and move up or down in half-steps, and you would be playing "chromatically."

The question is, why is this important to know? Well, for one thing, it is the basic building block of understanding how
scales are constructed. Second, it helps in visualizing the fretboard in a linear fashion, or up and down a string.And third,
it helps make certain musical references easier to understand.Think of it as learning the letters of the alphabet,and you
will see what I mean.

Now, let's add a little bit of labeling to the mix.We are going to give our notes some interval names.This will help in
identifying the notes and thier functions in different applications.First we know that we have twelve tones to work with.
We will number them 1 through 12.(We will start with 'E', for simplicity's sake.)


     1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  12
     E   F   F#  G   G#  A   A#  B   C  C#  D   D#
             Gb      Ab      Bb         Db      Eb

(Note a few "rules"; 1)# means "Sharp", while b means "Flat";
                     2)Notice that some notes are the same, but labeled different 
                       names, i.e., F# and Gb are the same tone. This is called being "enharmonic". 
                       In other words, F#is 'enharmonic' to Gb, or F# is the same as Gb.Using the name 
                       of a note or it's enharmonic equivalent, depends upon they key. or how easy it 
                       is to read the scale, or how it fits in a chord.We will review this later.
                     3)There is, for the purpose of this discussion, no such thing as "B#" or "Cb"
                       or "E#" or "Fb". So one must remember that there is no sharps or flats between 
                       the notes "B" and "C", and the notes "E" and "F". There ARE theoretical exceptions 
                       to rules 2&3, and we will probably run into them in future columns, but for right 
                       now, these rules are golden.)

Now, let us expand our twelve tones with actual interval names. We are going to replace our numbers, 1 thru 12, with
"interval names." Thus;


                      1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12
                      E     F     F#    G     G#    A     A#    B     C     C#     D      D#
(interval name)     Root   b2     M2    b3    M3    P4    b5    P5    b6    M6     b7     M7
(Intervalsynonymns)   1    b9     9     #9    10    11   #11    -     #5    13     -      -

(Note that the "interval synonymns" are simply interval names that are the same as the ones given first.An example would
 be; 'F' is the "b2" of 'E', or also the "b9" of 'E', depending on where it sits in the octave.That will be explained 

(Also note that "b",as in "b2",means "minor 2nd" not "flat 2". You could substitute "b" for an "m", as in "m2".This is not
 really important, but it will help in defining certain terms and standardizing our discussions down the road.)

Since a "Chromatic scale" is basically all of the notes of the twelve tone system of music,played in half-step intervals,
Why learn different keys? Because all of the scales are derived or extracted from this simple idea. Before we begin that
process, I am going to make a chart of all of the chromatic scales in all keys.

Ex.3: The Chromatic scale in all keys. Note the word "Oct" means octave".

                            b9     9     #9             11      #11            b6     13
                      1     b2     M2    b3      M3     P4      b5      P5     #5     M6     b7     M7     oct
 Key of   C           C    c#/Db   D    D#/Eb    E       F    F#/Gb     G     G#/Ab   A    A#/Bb    B      C
          G           G    G#/Ab   A    A#/Bb    B       C    C#/Db     D     D#/Eb   E      F      F#     G

          D           D    D#/Eb   E     F       F#      G    G#/Ab     A     A#/Bb   B      C      C#     D
          A           A    A#/Bb   B     C       C#      D    D#/Eb     E       F     F#     G      G#     A

          E           E     F      F#    G       G#      A    A#/Bb     B       C     C#     D      D#     E

          B           B     C      C#    D       D#      E      F       F#      G     G#     A      A#     B

        C#/Db        C#/Db   D    D#/Eb   E      E#/F   F#/Gb    G      G#/Ab    A    A#/Bb   B     B#/C   C#/Db

        F#/Gb        F#/Gb   G    G#/Ab   A      A#/Bb    B      C      C#/Db    D    D#/Eb   E     E#/F   F#/Gb

          Ab          Ab    A      Bb    B       C       Db     D       Eb      E      F     Gb      G     Ab

          Eb          Eb    E      F     Gb      G       Ab     A       Bb      B      C     Db      D     Eb

          Bb          Bb    B      C     Db      D       Eb     E       F       Gb     G     Ab      A     Bb

          F           F     Gb     G     Ab      A       Bb     B       C       Db     D     Eb      E     F

If you will notice, there are places where I only placed flats instead of sharps, or vice versa, rather than place both,
for the sake of space and clarity.

Study the chart, and see if you can identify the intervals in different keys.We will begin extracting the scales from this
material in the next couple of columns.We will also get to more fretboard applications.

"C'mon Dave, Gimme a break!"

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