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scales
scales and violin and music
Topic Rating: 4.8 Topic Rating: 4.8 Topic Rating: 4.8 Topic Rating: 4.8 Topic Rating: 4.8 Topic Rating: 4.8 (4 votes) 
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jennifer aola
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September 25, 2019 - 11:17 am
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hello .. so here we are again , and today topic is about scales .

1-what is the benefit of learning scales? in violin and in music at all ?

2- when we say this music piece is an G major or E minor .. do we mean all notes used in this piece located within the 7 notes exactly between the two notes of scale? or we just mean the majority (major word here is not belong to a scale) of notes in the piece located within this scale?

3- have i (as violinist ) to memorize all note in all scale?

4- when violinist should start learning them? at which level?

 

Thanks in advance .

jenn.

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cid
September 25, 2019 - 11:37 am
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I can answer a couple questions.

1. Scales help with intonation, bowing, being comfortable on the fingerboard, etc. some pieces are actually a lot of scales and they do the same thing. There are two thoughts, scales are not necessary because many songs, especially classical, consist of scales. Others believe they are necessary to achieve what I mentioned at the beginning.

I am not experienced enough to say what is best. Many people do not like scales, so the scales in songs are what they do, from listening to people. Some instructors use scale books strictly in their curriculum, others do not use them at all, others not as strictly. My instructor in using them now with shifting.

2. No. If I read your question right. Any note, as far as I know, can be used if it sounds right, and that is up to the composer, actually. You can use incidentals to add a sharp or flat wherever needed, or if the key has the F# and you need an F natural, you would add the natural sign where that F is not to be sharped. This is a simplified explanation, based on my limited knowledge.

I think questions 3 and 4 are subjective to you, and your instructor, if you have one. People with more experience can offer their opinions and theories from their experiences. 

My answers are simplistic to give you some info until more knowledgable people see your question. Hope it helps.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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sf_bev
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September 25, 2019 - 12:55 pm
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Here goes:

1) Since the "Do Re Mi" song is actually a major scale, I try to sing that song as I play the scale of the songs/exercises that I plan to do.  That seems to help me hear when my fingering is correct and it trains my ear to learn to hear better.  It also sets up my hand frame for what I'm about to practice.  I find I play more in tune after using even a short scale before (I still use my tuner too, I must admit).  Minor scales would sound different and the "Do Re Mi" song will not work for those.

2) No.  When we say a song is in G major, we are saying it has 1 sharp in the key signature (F#), and it starts on G (starting on G and playing the F# rather than the F natural makes it sound like the "Do Re Mi" song, placing whole steps and half steps where they belong).  The name of the scale tells what note you should start on when playing the scale, and the # of sharps or flats in the key signature (even none) tells you the name of the scale.  The key signature is essentially a short-hand that is used at the beginning to say which notes will be played flat or sharp without needing to mark every  note.  Also, in our example above though the 1 # indicating G major is placed on the F that would be played in 1st position on the E string, it actually applies to each and every F (like the F on the D string in 1st position).  All F's become sharp, unless as has already been said, the composer marks an F as natural.  That means the key signature applies to every note you can play on the violin.  BUT if you're playing a scale, you'll want to start practicing with the 1st note (the name of the scale) so the whole and half steps sound in the right order.  Otherwise, especially as a beginner, it won't sound right.  It's like trying to start the "Do Re Mi" song on "Re" or "Fa".  It's really hard to do correctly.

3) & 4) Most teaching systems start you off in one key so you learn the fingering for that key.  The scales are played in that key and songs are picked that are in the same key.  So instead of memorizing notes, your fingers are learning where they are placed when you play in that key.  Once you are familiar with 1 key signature, another is introduced where one  or two fingers change their placement.  So you learn to look at a key signature and associate it with certain fingerings.  

If you want to learn more about this, the book Violin for Dummies has a surprisingly detailed explanation, way more than anyone could go into here.

Hope this helps.

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BillyG
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September 25, 2019 - 2:45 pm
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Good points @sf_bev and thank you !

Just to add to your "do re mi.." concept ( which virtually everyone must kind of intrinsically "feel" by humming a scale - with any musical ability or even almost none at all !!! ).  The absolute key, in this case is WHOLLY unimportant - it's the tonal relationship between the notes that makes the melodic sound of a diatonic scale....  Someone humming or going " do re mi.../ dah dah dah etc ...." up a scale, in isolation to any reference tone or frequency - well  - if it SOUNDS right - they are most likely in tune (relative to the base note, "do" or the tonic of the scale where they started )    In absolute agreement with you on that, very good point - just thought I'd expand on that.  It is a point often misunderstood by beginners..... ( or maybe, just NOT a way they think about it)

And the REAL reason I jumped in was because although there are (for any one key, or indeed diatonic scale, seven separate modal scales - which we don't need to go into here - apart from ONE which is REALLY EASY if people think in "do re mi.... terms and this, following, is it ...)

If you "think" in terms of "do re mi fah soh... etc" sure  - that'll come out, sound and feel as a major key ( also known as the Ionian mode if we really need to know that ).   Commonly "sort of realized but not necessarily understood" by music beginners is a tune in a minor key.  We ( they / newcomers to music ) just simply realize that "somehow, this tune sounds different from many others" and they are told "it's in a minor key" - well - your "do re mi fah sol...." still works - if you "have that sound/interval sequence in your head already" - THEN - for a minor key - just start at the "la" ( in specific terms, that's the 6th scale degree ) of the sequence and sing - yes SING "lah ti do re mi fah sol la "  and you have your minor scale ( in "modal" terms - that's the aeolian mode.   Probably the next most commonly used mode is the Dorian mode, where a scale starts and ends on the "re" of a major scale "re mi fah sol la ti do (re)"  - but we don't need to know this right now....)

Yeah good points bev - and @jennifer aola   I hope this all adds to your understanding, rather than adding confusion !!!!    We really do try our best to assist!

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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sf_bev
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September 25, 2019 - 10:20 pm
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Thanks @BillyG, that was pretty informative.  Now when I get to Minor scales I might have something to sing.  LOL.

I purposely stuck to the Major scale in order not to confuse the original poster @jennifer aola

This stuff is really confusing at first and I'm still sorting it out in a way I can understand and use.

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Pete_Violin
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September 25, 2019 - 11:37 pm
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I @jennifer aola 

I'd like to offer you some insight as well.  Perhaps I can help you with some of your questions.

jennifer aola said
hello .. so here we are again , and today topic is about scales .

So some of your questions refer to theory and some need a more practical response.

First, let me just discuss theory in general and why it is so helpful to know for playing music.  And @cid also recently posted that she wants to have a discussion just on theory, so I hope I am not stepping on her toes.

Music theory is that part of music that deals with the mechanics of how music is put together.  It is called theory because generally we do not go into the practical playing and how to develop good tone, intonation, sound, and beauty.

It is important for some of the very questions you have posed... Why do we play scales? What makes up a major, minor or other type of scale?  What are keys and why do we need them?  How does learning scales relate directly to how we play music.  All great questions and all important for understanding music.

Music is not just a series of tones you play on an instrument.  It is far more than A, B, C, D, E, F, G.  Music has a structure which governs how it is written, how your instrument is built, and how it is created.  And it is interrelated, meaning that scales and keys all belong to one another.  You cannot have one without the other.  And music is written by using this structure.  The rules, definitions, and all the pieces of music make it possible for everyone to play together.  It is how orchestras play in unity and how symphonies are written.

But the part of music we play... the tone and expression and beauty, are achieved by taking the theory and putting it into the practice with your instrument.

So lets take a look at your questions and apply the practical application, but also put meaning behind it with the theory.  Also, please forgive me but I often use the word key and scale interchangeably.  To me, they are the same thing.

1-what is the benefit of learning scales? in violin and in music at all ?

Every piece of music you play is built around and played within a scale.  Along with the critical reasons that @cid listed is the way scales help you to become familiar with a given piece quickly.  It is like your home you go to.  If you know the scale (or key) which a piece is written, you can comfortably work within that key.  Often, if you have been working on scales for a while, the muscle memory can take over and will allow you to play very naturally.  This is particularly important when playing more complicated music.

2- when we say this music piece is an G major or E minor .. do we mean all notes used in this piece located within the 7 notes exactly between the two notes of scale? or we just mean the majority (major word here is not belong to a scale) of notes in the piece located within this scale?

Music is written primarily in a key, which is indicated by a key signature.   This corresponds to the scale that the key is indicating.  Some pieces are titled by the key they are written in.  An example is Bach's Minuet in G Major.  The major and minor is referring to specific types of scales.  There are 12 major keys and 12 minor keys.  Each major key has a corresponding relative minor. So, essentially when a piece is titled by its key, it is talking about the key or scale the piece is written in, or what key you must play in.  

Major and Minor keys have much more to it.  This is just a very simple explanation for these keys.  and there are many more keys and models that are possible to write in.  But don't get too far into this until you understand the basic 12 major and 12 minor keys.

Also, the Circle of Fifths is a graphical representation of how this works as well.  You should look up Circle of Fifths on the internet and this will be more clear.

3- have i (as violinist ) to memorize all note in all scale?

Well, like I said in Answer #1, scales are the basis of everything you will play.  Eventually, you will know all the notes for any scale just by playing more and more music.  In fact, early on when I was learning to play violin, several people asked me how I was learning each key... and how to know what each key signature was.  My answer was I just play the music.   When I learn a piece I never forget what key that piece is in, because I spend so much time on it.  So the key signature (or the scale) becomes part of me.  I don't "blindly" memorize key signatures.  Instead I learn them by playing the music and I never forget.

4- when violinist should start learning them? at which level?

Scale work should begin immediately.  You will begin playing in the first position with fingering and there are several major scales that can be played in that position without moving into others.  So you will begin with several scales already available to you.  As you continue to learn, you will be able to play more scales, and at higher octaves.  So the answer to this question is begin now!

I hope this help you to see how the theory applies to the practical and why this is so important.

- Pete -

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Mark
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September 26, 2019 - 4:53 am
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John, does a good job explaining theory for the average player, in my opinion.

 

Mark

 

https://www.music-theory-for-m.....cians.com/

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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GregW
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September 26, 2019 - 8:18 am
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Liked that Mark.  Good link.

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Gordon Shumway
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Too difficult to discuss music theory in general, and I suspect CID's earlier request for a theory section (a place where theory questions can be asked) was mistaken as a request for a section containing formal theory lessons.

That would be reinventing the wheel - reinventing the space-rocket might be a better metaphor. Best we could do is recommend a book or a website.  

Violin for Dummies, not the silly book that it sounds.

It's curious isn't it - when playing the violin, all you are interested in is shapes. But the book-learning is necessary and totally separate from the practical.

Scales aren't essential on every instrument, IMO, and it does depends on the repertoire. I'd swear by scales on piano and violin, but less so on guitar, except as an illustration of how few shapes there really are (if you have maths, it's all about group theory). But on every instrument, scales develop fingering technique.

I haven't answered any of the OP's questions, have I. I fear too many answers will conflict and confuse.

A scale is always about the notes CDEFGABCDEFGABC.

The shape of the major scale is always "tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone" so you can work out which notes are sharp and flat.

Key of G? The notes are GABCDEFG. GA is a tone, AB is a tone, BC is a semitone (that is specialist knowledge, I realise - a keyboard will always help), etc, until you get to EF. This is a semitone but it needs to be a tone, so it's F#. Then F#G is the final semitone.

Harder example - Ab. Notes ABCDEFGA. Accidentals: Ab,Bb,C,Db,Eb,F,G,Ab.

I hope that has added to the thread. Sorry if it hasn't.

Andrew

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GregW
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September 26, 2019 - 9:36 am
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Gordon Shumway said... " I suspect CID's earlier request for a theory section (a place where theory questions can be asked) was mistaken as a request for a section containing formal theory lessons."

I agree and think her original idea was great.  Keeps all the topics sorta together.  Whatever subtopics are there would be a plus.

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Gordon Shumway
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GregW said

Gordon Shumway said... " I suspect CID's earlier request for a theory section (a place where theory questions can be asked) was mistaken as a request for a section containing formal theory lessons."

I agree and think her original idea was great.  

I agree.

Andrew

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cid
September 26, 2019 - 10:11 am
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I thought that was happening also, I was not asking to have theory thrown out like in a classroom, but a place for someone to pose a theory question when one is needed. Keeping them in one place so that it is there in the Theory Room if someone else has rhe same question. Just a Theory Room, with “closets” for some organization, and a “junk” closet for any question that won’t fit another closet, or the poster is conflicted as to where to to put that question.

Just to make it easier to find the info on this suggestion, yesterday; 9/26, I placed a request in Breakroom/Forum Suggestions for a main topic called “Theory Room” with some subtopics under it. This is for non-instrument questions, just for music theory questions. Let us not be picky about what “theory”means. For the well versed music major, it is probably mostly advanced things, any question involving music, reading, scales, staff, clef, rhythm, timing, etc. Just not about a specific instrument. 

I think other discussion on this should take place in that thread I started in Breakroom/Forum Suggestions. Just a suggestion. Maybe copy your post you made here and put it there? Not sure. At least it will be with that discussion for Fiddlerman’s determination. I am glad you all like the idea. I was not sure you all would think it was needed.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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GregW
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September 26, 2019 - 10:23 am
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Gordon Shumway said

GregW said

Gordon Shumway said... " I suspect CID's earlier request for a theory section (a place where theory questions can be asked) was mistaken as a request for a section containing formal theory lessons."

I agree and think her original idea was great.  

I agree.

  

Ditto banana

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cid
September 26, 2019 - 10:34 am
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Yes, it seems to have been.

Here is a link to that post in the Breakroom/Forum Suggestions adea:

https://fiddlerman.com/forum/b.....ory-topic/

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Fiddlerman
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September 26, 2019 - 2:24 pm
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So you guys don't want a section for theory in general? 🤪

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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cid
September 26, 2019 - 2:51 pm
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@Fiddlerman 

I am not really sure how this has morphed. I was just suggesting like the “The Playing Violin”, have a room called Music Theory. Then maybe, like the “Playing Violin”, some preset topic rooms to help make it easier to find questions that have been asked or answered. Like: Good Timing and Rhythm; Time Signature; Music Symbols; Notes; Scales; Keys; Other; I am just trying to think of questions that have been asked. I am just thinking with the preset topic, rooms we don’t need a lot of them, just a very few, 5 or 6 and then “Other”, but not naming them with technical terms. Have to be what the non-music educated person can relate their issue or question to. The “Other” comes in, if there is no preset topic  that is available, or if the poster does not know where to put it, there you go, just post it in “Other”. But it is not instrument related, just the music theory questions we come upon as we learn, as far as the music is concerned. With the just a few subtopics, it will make it easier to find answers to questions, because maybe it has already been asked, if not, the poster can ask.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Fiddlerman
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September 26, 2019 - 3:30 pm
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cid said
@Fiddlerman 

I am not really sure how this has morphed. I was just suggesting like the “The Playing Violin”, have a room called Music Theory. Then maybe, like the “Playing Violin”, some preset topic rooms to help make it easier to find questions that have been asked or answered. Like: Good Timing and Rhythm; Time Signature; Music Symbols; Notes; Scales; Keys; Other; I am just trying to think of questions that have been asked. I am just thinking with the preset topic, rooms we don’t need a lot of them, just a very few, 5 or 6 and then “Other”, but not naming them with technical terms. Have to be what the non-music educated person can relate their issue or question to. The “Other” comes in, if there is no preset topic  that is available, or if the poster does not know where to put it, there you go, just post it in “Other”. But it is not instrument related, just the music theory questions we come upon as we learn, as far as the music is concerned. With the just a few subtopics, it will make it easier to find answers to questions, because maybe it has already been asked, if not, the poster can ask.

  

But this would require me to use my brain. LOL

I'm happy for all the help I get. Lets brainstorm.
Main category and sub-categories then.....

I am here to accommodate all of you, the people who use this forum and am happy to make it as easy to use as possible.

I didn't choose playing the violin because it applies to every instrument but do you guys want it there instead?

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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cid
September 26, 2019 - 3:50 pm
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No, not in the Playing violin section. I just pm’d you how this ended out here, it is good mot connected to an instrument. Since you have cello and viola in the site it should be general music theory, we can go to a specific instrument to ask questions about that instrument. I know it would confuse me.

Thank you.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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jennifer aola
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September 27, 2019 - 11:01 am
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again @cid  ty .. i don't like learn them too .. but we don't always get what we want ... lol

and i think there must be an isolated room or something like that for questions related to music theory becz to understand what we doing with any instrument we should first have a good background for what music is ... its really critical unless all what you wanna is playing violin and get good sound like a lot of people doing nowadays ..and if the room will be created as a response to our request i promise to be active in it lol becz just as @Pete_Violin  said ,, we shouldn't understand only how something applies to violin rather than understanding what this thing mean in music as a language .. im sure there's a people in this forum whose exposed to enough amount of theory (some of them shared in this post) ,, BUT there's always new beginners .

BIG thank for u guys ( @sf_bev  , @BillyG  , @Pete_Violin  , mark and gordon )

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cid
September 27, 2019 - 12:15 pm
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@jennifer aola Fiddlerman kindly gave us a Theory room. Hooray! If you go to the main Forum page, scroll down, maybe at least midway, you will see a “Learning” segment. He created a Theory section there.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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