Scales and key signatures

Dorian Scales A dorian scale is the scale that begins on the second step of the major scale and keeps the major scale key signature. Another way to think of the d dorian scale and this is how a lot of jazz players think of itis that it is a D major scale, but you lower the 3rd and 7th scale steps.

Scales and key signatures

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One of the things that makes music pleasant to hear and easy to "understand" is that only a few of all the possible pitches are used. But not all pieces of music use the same set of pitches. In order to be familiar with the particular notes that a piece of music is likely to use, musicians study scales.

The set of expected pitches for a piece of music can be arranged into a scale. In a scale, the pitches are usually arranged from lowest to highest or highest to lowestin a pattern that usually repeats within every octave. Note In some kinds of music, the notes of a particular scale are the only notes allowed in a given piece of music.

In other music traditions, notes from outside the Scales and key signatures accidentals are allowed, but are usually much less common than the scale notes. The set of pitches, or notes, that are used, and their relationships to each other, makes a big impact on how the music sounds. For example, for centuries, most Western music has been based on major and minor scales.

Scales and key signatures

That is one of the things that makes it instantly recognizable as Western music. Much though not all of the music of eastern Asia, on the other hand, was for many centuries based on pentatonic scales, giving it a much different flavor that is also easy to recognize.

Some of the more commonly used scales that are not major or minor are introduced here. Pentatonic scales are often associated with eastern Asia, but many other music traditions also use them.

Blues scales, used in blues, jazz, and other African-American traditions, grew out of a compromise between European and African scales. Some of the scales that sound "exotic" to the Western ear are taken from the musical traditions of eastern Europe, the Middle East, and western Asia.

Microtones can be found in some traditional musics for example, Indian classical music and in some modern art music.

Note Some music traditions, such as Indian and medieval European, use modes or ragas, which are not quite the same as scales. Please see Modes and Ragas. Scales and Western Music The Western musical tradition that developed in Europe after the middle ages is based on major and minor scales, but there are other scales that are a part of this tradition.

In the chromatic scale, every interval is a half step. This scale gives all the sharp, flat, and natural notes commonly used in all Western music. It is also the twelve-tone scale used by twentieth-century composers to create their atonal music. Young instrumentalists are encouraged to practice playing the chromatic scale in order to ensure that they know the fingerings for all the notes.

Listen to a chromatic scale. Chromatic Scale The chromatic scale includes all the pitches normally found in Western music. Note that, because of enharmonic spelling, many of these pitches could be written in a different way for example, using flats instead of sharps.

In a whole tone scale, every interval is a whole step.Key signatures are essentially labels which tell musicians what scale, or scales, a composer used to build a piece of music. To really know each key, you must know the scale it represents. Thus, keys and scales should be learned together.

For key signatures with sharps, the key signature is the note name half step above the last sharp. This is the key of G because F# is the last sharp in . Accomodates the learning pace of younger students such as those in Alfred's Basic, Level 2. The scales are presented on one page, with one line of scales in parallel motion, one line in contrary motion, one line of cadences and one line of arpeggios.

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If you arrived here because some of this "music theory" interests you, you might want to explore some of the music theory software that we have at school. Learn all the key signatures with this interactive key signature helper.

Covers treble, bass, alto and tenor clef. All major and minor scales including harmonic and melodic.

Key Signatures Quiz | Music Theory Tutorials