Scales and Octaves (Part I-Major Scales)

Scales and Octaves
So today we will discuss about Scales and Octaves. From our last discussion you must have been familiar with musical Notes right? If you have missed that article, don’t worry here it is. Let us begin.

In our last post we have said that octave is the complete cycle of one note let’s say C to either next or previous C. That means 12th note from start. Comes to a part of confusion, it’s name, Octave. For those who have a knowledge on numerals must be thinking Oct refers to the number 8 but we are noticing the octave gets complete after 12 notes. My friend you are right, you will understand this in following section.

Try to play all 12 notes one by one gradually from the start. It will sound awkward. To make this sequence sound lot better we skip few notes from the sequence. You can press 4 keys to reach the end of the octave, you can press 5 keys to finish the octave, and most popularly 8 keys to complete the cycle. From these sets of 8 keys, of course the most popular, the cycle got it’s name as octave.
Now scales, this could be any certain gradual sequence with any number of keys to complete the octave. Things to keep in mind are that the sequence should be gradual, that you can move only in one direction until you reach the destination note.
Let’s talk about some maths here. We have 12 notes to overcome, we need at least 2 notes to cover the octave, assuming we press each keys only one time, we could have 239500800 possible combinations of scales! Sounds scary right?? Things get even scarier if we press a key twice or more.
Now don’t you fear, we just need only few scales in our day to day practice.
Let’s skip all those horrible combination, today here we will know only most vitals. These are:

o   Natural Minor
o   Harmonic Minor
o   Melodic Minor

Major Scale
It’s really most vital scale and this is because most chords are derived on the basis of this scale. If we consider starting with a root note, we have 12 notes to start with. So by logic there has to be 12 Major Scales. Now number becomes scary? Don’t panic yet, we have a shortcut or say formula behind this.
Before starting our formula let’s get familiar with some terms.
R denotes the Root note, or the note you are starting with.
H denotes Half-Step, which means the note right next to the note you presently are.
W denotes Whole-Step, which means the note which comes after skipping one note.

Now here’s the formula: R W W H W W W H
For reminding all the notes,  C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B
May also be written as, C Db  D Eb E F Gb G Ab A Bb B

Let’s take C as root note, now by using our formula,
R is C, after a whole step that is after skipping one note we reached D, in same way next whole step will land in E, now there is a half step and that means we have to land right next to F, after that we get another whole step and land at G, in same manner next we get A, then B so we have covered all the notes in that octave and with next half step we reach C of next octave. Hence our first Major is complete. It will look like C D E F G A B C. Interesting to note that C Major scale is the only Major scale which is comprised of only natural notes.

This thing may feel too complicated at first sight, but no one reach the peak without any effort. If you have a Piano, Guitar, Harmonium, Violin or other instrument in which you can play individual notes, try this thing right now. If you don’t have one, you may take out a paper and draw keys in it and take a glace through it. You may also download any virtual piano app and practice with it.

Now take a look at all 12 Major scales.

C Major: C D E F G A B C

C# Major/Db Major: C# D# F F# G# A# C C# (Following same Pattern)
Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db(Written in Flat style)

D Major: D E F# G A B C# D or we can write as D E Gb G A B Db D

D# Major/Eb Major: D# F  G G# A# C D D# or Eb F  G Ab Bb C D Eb

E Major: E F# G# A B C# D# E or E Gb Ab A B Db Eb E

F Major: F G A A# C D E F or F G A Bb C D E F

F# Major/Gb Major: F# G# A# B C# D# F F# or Gb Ab Bb B Db Eb F Gb

G major: G A B C D E F# G or G A B C D E Gb G

G# Major/Ab Major: G# A# C C# D# F G G# or Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Ab

A Major: A B C# D E F# G# A or A B Db D E Gb Ab A

A# Major/Bb Major: A# C D D# F G A A# or Bb C D Eb F G A Bb

B Major: B C# D# E F# G# A# B or B Db Eb E Gb Ab Bb B

 These are all 12 Major Scales of Music. In next few articles we will talk about Minor Scales,Relation of Major and Minor Scales, and Pentatonic Scales. So you will have the idea of all fundamental scales.
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