Scales FAQS

  1. What is a scale?
  2. What types of scales must we know about?
  3. What do we have to know about major and minor scales?
  4. What is the tonic of a scale?
  5. How do you identify the tonic of a scale?

  1. What is a scale?
  2. For a definition of a scale, see pp. 54-55 of "Foundations of Music."

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  3. What types of scales must we know about?
  4. The two types of scales we will learn about are major and minor scales.

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  5. What do we have to know about major and minor scales?
  6. Each student will be tested on her/his ability to "spell" major scales and identify the major key signatures.

    Spell Them

    Be able to spell the major scales. For example, the C Major scale is spelled "C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C."

    Identify Them

    Be able to identify the major scales. For example, if a scale is spelled "F,G,A,B flat,C,D,E,F" you should know that the scale is an F Major scale and that the key signature is one flat.

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  7. What is the tonic of a scale?
  8. The tonic of a scale is the foundation of the scale. It is the note upon which the scale is built. A "C scale" is built on "C". A "D scale" is built on "D". Conversely, the tonic of an "A scale" is "A". The tonic of an "F Scale" is "F". Etc.

    Once the tonic is established, then all of the other notes of the scale are constructed (using whole steps and half steps, usually) upon that note.

    In most songs, the last note in the song is the tonic note.

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  9. How do you identify the tonic of a scale?
  10. I'll use a major scale has my example. To identify the tonic of a major scale, find the notes of the scale that are a half step. For example, here's are the notes to a scale (all jumbled up to make it harder):F#,A,E,G#,B,D#,C#. There's a half step between G# and A, and there's a half step between D# and E. In a major scale the half steps are between 3,4 and 7,8, so G#,A and D#,E must be steps 4,5 and 7,8. Step 8 is the tonic (since steps 1 and 8 are the same pitch, and step 1 is the tonic).

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