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Scales for practising by ear
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DanielB
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November 9, 2012 - 6:48 am
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In the other thread where I was giving  a sound sample and some ideas about how to practice the G major scale by ear by playing along with the sound sample, Denny asked if we can also do it for the other major keys.

I'll start with the G major, just so we can have them all together in one thread eventually.

 

 

Now personally, I find it helpful to follow the practice of a major scale with practising what is called it's "relative minor" scale.  How are they related to each other, that they get called that?  Well, to keep the answer short and useful, any major scale and it's relative minor will both have the same natural notes and the same sharps or flats.  So in a way, it is almost like learning two scales with only a bit more work/practice than it would take to learn one. 

For the key of G major, the notes in the scale are G,A,B,C,D,E,F#,G

For the key of E minor, the notes in the scale are E,F#,G,A,B,C,D,E

Notice how each of those scales are all played with "natural" notes except the F#.  G major and E minor also have the same key signature.

So here's the E minor scale:

 

 

Most people feel that the minor keys sound more "sad" then the major keys.

Now, if you have been playing for a bit, you already will know the fingerings for the notes.  But if you are new, and especially if you are using tapes, one of the notes you will need is in a place that is not marked with the tapes. 

If you start the scale by playing the E note on the D string (first finger), when you get up to the C note on the A string, the place where the tape is for your second finger is a C sharp, not a C.  So you'll have to play the note that falls just about in the middle between the tapes there, instead. 

It is just one of those things where the tapes don't help with everything. 

But since you would be playing along with the sound sample you'll be able to hear when you get that note right, just like you can with all the rest.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Fiddlestix
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November 9, 2012 - 6:56 am
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So Dan, why didn't you just use the same thread for this, it's only a different key. One would think you are writing product info.   dunno

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DanielB
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The A Major scale is the notes A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A

 

 

It's relative minor is F# minor, which is the notes F#, G#, A, B, C#, D, E, F#

 

 

(Before I do more, I'll pause here so Denny has a chance to find this thread to say if it was what he wanted)

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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RosinedUp
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November 9, 2012 - 12:44 pm
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Thanks for these scales, Daniel.

But I am having the problem that when I visit this page, all the files start playing automatically and simultaneously.  Is that supposed to happen?  Does it happen for anyone else?

Even when I click the pause buttons and mute buttons of the icons, they don't stop playing. 

Can anybody shed some light on this?

Thanks.

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DanielB
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November 10, 2012 - 4:45 am
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@RosinedUp:  I haven't had that problem, and haven't heard of anyone else having it.  At a guess, I'd wonder if it might be some setting in your browser?  But even then, I would expect pause or mute to work.  The sound samples playing all at once is not what we are intending to happen, though.

 

@Fiddlestix:  I did give my reason for starting a new thread for this back on the other thread before this one was ever started.  You might have missed it, though, since it was an @ reply for cdennyb. 

Other than that, this was the best way I could think of doing it to present the material while avoiding possible confusion.  Believe it or not, that is pretty much always my objective when posting anything.  It may not be perfect.  It may not be how you would do it.  It may not be how someone else would have done it.  But it is the best way I can manage to think of.

As far as "product info", you say that like it was a bad thing. LOL 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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DanielB
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November 10, 2012 - 5:30 am
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The B Major scale goes B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A#, B

 

 

Product Info:  The B major scale is one of the less common choices for beginners, since it has quite a few sharps in the key signature, but don't let that scare you off.  The B major was a personal favorite of the composer Chopin, who felt it was the easiest of all scales to get a good even sound from.  What did Chopin know that you don't?  Be the first on your block to be heard playing this baby and you are sure to amaze your friends and dazzle your critics..

Now, if you were to buy this scale from one of the fancy import companies, you might end up paying more for this little beauty as an exotic import from some places in Germany or Hungary as an "H" scale.. But really folks, the domestic B Major is the same exact notes with the same great musical qualities and you can get it right now for the low low price of.. Nothing! 

You owe it to yourself to take it out for a test drive, today!

(sorry, ken, couldn't resist.. )rofl

 

It's relative minor is the G# minor scale, which is G#, A#, B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#

 

 

 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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DanielB
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November 10, 2012 - 6:51 am
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The C Major scale - C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C

 

 

The A Minor scale - A,B,C,D,E,F,G,A

 

 

Now, as a point of trivia..  Some people sometimes wonder why the musical alphabet starts with C instead of A.  Originally, when they first started indicating musical notes with letters, it *did* start with A.  And the A minor was probably the most popular scale used in that time, especially for vocal melodies.  Thinking of C major as the most basic scale is our modern convention, but the convention for what the notes were named was already accepted and in place.

Just in case anyone ever wondered about that, now ya know. 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Fiddlestix
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November 10, 2012 - 10:29 pm
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Ya know, Dan..... when I began taking lesson's at age 4 (65 years ago) I just, for the life of me, couldn't figure out why the musical scale ended with G. Why not continue to Z.    dunno

Please don't explain why,, I know why. LOL.  Another thing, in those day's there were no such thing's as electronic tuner's, at least not that student's could tote with them like today's tuners. 

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RosinedUp
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November 11, 2012 - 9:33 am
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DanielB said

Originally, when they first started indicating musical notes with letters, it *did* start with A.  And the A minor was probably the most popular scale used in that time, especially for vocal melodies. 

Thanks for that,Daniel.  I didn't know it.
 
It looks like we may be coming full circle.
 
A professor has found that all the the top 40 hits of 1965 were written in a major key but that 22 of the 40 hits of 2009 were written in a minor key.  Also the tempos are slower.
 
 
 
Emotional cues in American popular music: Five decades of the Top 40.
Schellenberg, E. Glenn; von Scheve, Christian
Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, Vol 6(3), Aug 2012, 196-203. doi: 10.1037/a0028024
 

Abstract

  1. Some musical characteristics are cues to happiness (fast tempo, major mode); others are cues to sadness (slow tempo, minor mode). Listening to music with inconsistent emotional cues leads to mixed feelings and perceptions, or simultaneous happy and sad responding. We examined whether emotional cues in American popular music have changed over time, predicting that music has become progressively more sad-sounding and emotionally ambiguous. Our sample comprised over 1,000 Top 40 recordings from 25 years spanning five decades. Over the years, popular recordings became longer in duration and the proportion of female artists increased. In line with our principal hypotheses, there was also an increase in the use of minor mode and a decrease in average tempo, confirming that popular music became more sad-sounding over time. Decreases in tempo were also more pronounced for songs in major than in minor mode, highlighting a progressive increase of mixed emotional cues in popular music. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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