When it comes to music theory, one of the fundamental concepts that every musician should know is how to write a scale. A scale is simply a sequence of notes arranged in ascending or descending order. In this article, we’ll take a look at the different types of scales and the steps involved in writing them.
Types of Scales
There are several types of scales used in music theory, but the two most common ones are the major and minor scales. The major scale is often referred to as the “happy” scale because it has a bright and cheerful sound. The minor scale, on the other hand, has a more melancholic sound and is often associated with sadness or introspection.
The Major Scale
The major scale consists of seven notes arranged in a specific pattern of whole steps (W) and half steps (H). The pattern for a major scale is as follows:
W – W – H – W – W – W – H
To write a major scale starting on any note, you simply apply this pattern, starting from that note. For example, if you want to write a C major scale, you would start with C and follow the pattern:
C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C
Note that there are no sharps or flats in the C major scale.
The Natural Minor Scale
The natural minor scale also consists of seven notes arranged in a specific pattern of whole steps (W) and half steps (H). However, its pattern is slightly different from that of the major scale:
W – H – W – W – H – W – W
To write a natural minor scale starting on any note, you apply this pattern starting from that note. For example, if you want to write an A natural minor scale, you would start with A and follow the pattern:
A – B – C – D – E – F – G – A
Note that there are no sharps or flats in the A natural minor scale.
Writing Scales in Different Keys
To write a scale in a different key, you simply apply the same pattern but start on a different note. For example, to write a G major scale, you would start with G and follow the major scale pattern:
G – A – B – C – D – E – F# – G
Note that the F has been raised to an F# to maintain the whole step pattern between the 7th and 8th notes of the scale.
Knowing how to write scales is an essential skill for any musician. By understanding the patterns involved in major and minor scales, you can easily write them starting from any note. With practice, you can even start to recognize these patterns in music and use them to your advantage when composing or improvising.