Scales and Key Signatures

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A scale is a gaggle of pitches (scale levels) organized in ascending order. These pitches span an octave. Diatonic scales are scales that embrace half and entire steps. The primary and final be aware is the tonic. It’s the most ‘steady’ be aware, or fairly the best to seek out. Due to this, diatonic melodies typically finish on the diatonic be aware. The opposite notes within the scale even have names. The second be aware is the supertonic. The third is the mediant, midway between the tonic and dominant. The fourth be aware is the subdominant. The fifth be aware is the dominant. The submediant is the sixth be aware. The subtonic is the seventh be aware within the pure minor scale. The seventh tone of the most important, harmonic and melodic minor scales is named the main tone whether it is one half step decrease than the tonic.

The Main Scale

The key scale consists of seven completely different pitches. There are half steps between the third and fourth and seventh and eighth scale levels; entire steps exist between all different steps. Under is a the C main scale. The sample of entire and half steps is identical for all main scales. By altering the primary be aware, then utilizing the sample as a information, you may assemble any main scale. Likewise, if you already know the sample for some other scale, you may create them, too.

The Major Scale

The Pure Minor Scales

These scales have seven completely different scale levels. There are half steps between the second and third and the fifth and sixth levels; entire steps exist between all different steps. Proven beneath is the A minor scale.

A Natural Minor Scale

The Harmonic Minor Scale

This scale is identical because the pure minor scale, besides the seventh step is raised a half step. There’s now an interval of 1 half step between the seventh and eighth notes, and one and a half steps between the sixth and seventh notes. This can be a harmonic A minor.

A Harmonic Minor Scale

The Melodic Minor Scale

That is one other minor scale variation. On this scale, the sixth and seventh notes are every raised one half step. All of the patterns up to now have been the identical as one climbs and descends the scales. The melodic minor scale, nevertheless, ascends with the modifications famous above, however descends within the pure minor scale. This can be a melodic A minor.

A Melodic Minor Scale

Pentatonic Scales

Pentatonic scales, as their title suggests, have solely 5 notes. To get from one finish of the size to the opposite, they require gaps of greater than a half step.

Scales that don’t observe the interval patterns of the diatonic or pentatonic scales are referred to as nondiatonic scales. Many nondiatonic scales haven’t any identifiable tonic.

The chromatic scale is a nondiatonic scale that consists of half steps solely. As a result of every pitch is equidistant, there isn’t any tonic. An entire tone scale is comprised of entire steps. Just like the chromatic scale, it too has no tonic. The blues scale is a chromatic variant of the most important scale. This scale accommodates flat thirds and sevenths which , alternate with regular thirds and sevenths. This , alternating creates the blues inflection.


Scale patterns might be duplicated at any pitch. Rewriting the identical scale sample at a special pitch is named transposition. Thus, when you used the most important scale sample, however began at G, you’d simply need to depend up in accordance with the most important scale sample to transpose it. All of the notes of a bit might be modified on this manner, by discovering a be aware’s counterpart within the modified scale.

Since some notes will at all times be sharp as soon as transposed or in sure scales, it’s typically useful to put accidentals on the very starting of a bit with the intention to modify all of the notes of a sure pitch. Putting accidentals originally of the music (versus proper beside a be aware) permits the accidentals to have an effect on each be aware in all the piece. So, inserting a pointy on line F makes each F sharp. The association of sharps and flats originally of a bit of music is named a key signature.

Key Signatures

To assist perceive and keep in mind key signatures, a chart referred to as the circle of fifths can be utilized. On the skin are the most important key names, separated by fifths. On the within are the corresponding minor key names. Within the center is the quantity and place of the sharps or flats.

Circle of Fifths

There’s a little trick to determining a key signature’s title. When confronted with a key signature that consists of flats, have a look at the flat second from the far proper. This flat is on the road or house the important thing signature is called after. One flat is F, since you may’t go to the following -to-last flat. To seek out the title of a key signature with sharps, have a look at the sharp farthest to the fitting. The important thing signature is the be aware a half step above that final sharp.

Key signatures can specify main or minor keys. To find out the title of a minor key, discover the title of the important thing in main after which depend backwards three half steps. Do not forget that sharps and flats have an effect on names.


Within the center ages, modes had been used to prepare the melodic and harmonic components of music. From the 17th century till the 19th century, modes weren’t used as extensively. Modes on this time had been changed by the most important and minor scales. Modes, nevertheless, are nonetheless heard in modern music. Modes, created primarily by the church buildings, had been the premise for many of western music. Curiously, in modes, the start tone is named the ultimate, versus the tonic as in different diatonic scales.

Desk of Modes
Identify Vary Last Half Steps Are Between Comparable Scale
Dorian D to D D 2-3, 6-7 Pure minor scale with raised sixth diploma
Phrygian E to E E 1-2, 5-6 Pure minor scale with lowered second diploma
Lydian F to F F 4-5, 7-8 Main scale with raised fourth diploma
Mixolydian G to G G 3-4, 6-7 Main scale with lowered seventh diploma
Aeolian A to A A 2-3, 5-6 Identical as pure minor scale
Ionian C to C C 3-4, 7-8 Identical as main scale
Locrian B to B B 1-2, 4-5 Pure minor with a lowered second and fifth diploma.

Modes could start on any tone so long as the preparations of half and entire steps stay the identical. The id of a transposed mode might be rapidly decided for the reason that remaining of every mode lies in the identical relationship to the tonic of the most important with the identical key signature.

  1. The ultimate of the Dorian mode is at all times the second diploma of the most important scale.
  2. The ultimate of the Phrygian mode is at all times the third diploma of a significant scale.
  3. The ultimate of the Lydian mode is at all times the fourth diploma of a significant scale.
  4. The ultimate of the Mixolydian mode is at all times the fifth diploma of a significant scale.
  5. The ultimate of the Aeolian mode is at all times the sixth diploma of a significant scale.
  6. The ultimate of the Ionian mode is at all times the primary diploma of a significant scale.
  7. Locrian modes are hardly ever used.


Usually, solfeggio is used to assist with practising. The solfeggio syllables are related to the notes in a given scale. The syllable Do (pronounced dough, or doe), corresponds to the tonic. The subsequent syllable (in ascending order) is Re (say ‘ray’). Re corresponds to the supertonic. Mi (say ‘me’) is the following syllable. Mi corresponds to the mediant. Fa (lengthy a) comes subsequent, akin to the subdominant. Sol (say ‘so’) is the syllable that corresponds to the dominant. La (lengthy a) is the syllable that corresponds to the submediant. Ti (say ‘tea’) corresponds to the main tone.

Solfeggio hand signs

This desk exhibits the solfeggio syllables and corresponding hand indicators in descending order.

Do – a fist that’s held straight.
Ti is index finger pointing up and the thumb and center ring finger and pinkie are all touching (the identical as for signal language T).
La is all 4 fingers and thumb going through the bottom and the wrist is bent down as effectively.
Sol is the thumb going through the ceiling the remainder of the hand is out straight.
Fa is a thumbs down.
Mi is the handheld flat.
Re is a flat hand assist up straight out after which raised to a couple of 30 diploma angle. Each Mi and Re have palm aspect down.
Do is the fist signal once more.

The desk above exhibits the hand indicators that correspond to the solfeggio syllables. The hand indicators begin with the decrease tonic at about waist degree. Every successive hand signal is a bit greater than the final. The second tonic ends a bit above eye degree.

Solfeggio is an effective follow software. Since it’s pretty generic, it may be used with quite a lot of scales. Pentatonic scales consists of 5 tones, and subsequently Fa and Ti aren’t used.

There are additionally solfeggio accidentals. These accidentals are proven and listed within the chart beneath.


Di is the unintended above Do. To make Di, make the fist for Do and elevate the wrist up.


Ri is the unintended between Re and Mi. Ri appears to be like identical to Re, however the pointer finger in Ri is lifted away from the opposite fingers.


Fi is between Fa and Sol. Fi is a thumbs up.


Si is an open hand, palm in the direction of the chest and the wrist tilted up. Si is between Sol and La


Ta is like Ti, however the finger is pointed down. Ta is between La and Ti.

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