Friday, December 3, 2010

Learning the Major scales of music

Scales for keyboard / piano
There are total 12 notes represented by 12 keys (7 white and 5 black keys). These 12 notes form one octave ( saptak in Hindustani). Octaves get repeated one after the other. The 12 notes in all octaves are same but they differ in pitch. These 12 notes, if played in continuity are also said to be in a chromatic scale.
1        2       3         4       5    6      7        8        9      10      11     12
C  C#/Db  D   D#/Eb  E  F  F#/Gb  G  G#/Ab  A  A#/Bb  B  C 

Note: In order to be able to play with both hands, it is advisable to select a keyboard with at least 5 Octaves (61keys)
Music theory is defined based on decades of playing experience by the human kind through out the world. It says how to use notes, which fingers to use, how to hold instruments, how to sit. And there are lot of ‘not to do’ things in music theory.
These are all tried and tested methods. By following these rules, the playing becomes easy.
Having said that, Pl know that this is not the end to it. Music has got no boundaries and limits. So don’t have a rigid outlook and always improvise as convenient to you. Anything and every thing is OK as long as you produce melodious music.

In western music, all tunes are based on scales. Even the selection of chords is basically determined from the scales.
The western scale is similar to thaat in Hindustani. In Hindustani you consider any key as Sa and then build the thaat (scale) from there. Several ragas are based on each thaat. Ragas
are formed by using various permutation & combination of notes from the Thaat.
In western notations every key is considered as original. So the scales start from all keys like C, D, E etc. In western music, ragas are not built on scales, but instead, there are various types of scales. Since there are 12 notes in an octave so there are 12 scales of each type.

There are many types of scales. But the most important & regularly used are Major scales & minor scales. All scales are derived from the major scale and as such it is important to know all the major scales.

How scales are formed ? There is a standard rule or formula for it.

Let us talk about  C Major scale . The scale is
C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C   (all white keys).
What is the formula ?

tone    tone   semi tone    tone    tone    tone    semi tone.  
One tone is two steps ahead i.e. two keys forward.  ( C > C# > D) So D is the second key from C and (E > F >F#) SO F# is the second key from E. That means D or  F# are one tone from C or E. Similarly B to C or  G to G# is semi tone (i.e. one key forward). Tone is also written as whole note and semi tone as half note. So the formula is ……

   Whole   whole   half   whole   whole   whole   half
C  C#  D  D# E     F  F#  G  G# A  A# B     C
C         D        E     F         G        A        B     C

I have given the Major scales for few keys. However suggest that you build up your own scales for all 12 keys. This way you will never forget the scales.

Other scales are  ? ? ? ? ?....................
D Major
D  E  F#  G  A  B  C#  D

E Major
E  F#  G#  A  B  C#  D#  E

F Major
F  G  A  A#  C  D  E  F

G Major
G  A  B  C  D  E  F#  D

A Major
A  B  C#  D  E  F#  G#  A

B Major
B  C#  D#  E  F#  G#  A#  B

I will be providing the suggestive fingering to play these scales in my next posting.