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Music Major Scales
Have Little to do With Fish

Music scales, fish scales; there’s no connection. Or is there? Scales provide fish with protection. Scales also provide composers with protection from ridicule. If you know how to play and write scales, you have more resources for composing. You are protected from comments like:

“Hey Edna, look at the composer with no scale expertise. That’s like a butcher with no cutting skills.”

“You don’t know how to write a scale? Do you know how to breathe?”

“Scales go up and down. Now go learn them before I make you go down!”

Let’s get busy learning scales before someone gets hurt. Here are three scales to start with:






F major has a Bb and uses a completely different right hand fingering. Proceed with caution and fear... actually, just proceed with concentration.






Now let's add an F# into the key signature, rather than a Bb:





Of course, writing and playing these and other scales is an indispensable part of being a composer. Try copying the above notation on manuscript paper and playing some of the above scales using your right hand. Incidentally, the left-hand fingerings (one octave) for all three scales are 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2 and 1.



Metamorphic Major Scales

Wouldn’t it be fun to turn a major scale into a completely different sounding scale by simply adjusting a couple of notes? I know it would not be as much fun as winning a free house or a free car, but that’s life.

Try this. Take a C major ascending right hand scale, and play Eb and Bb (rather than E and B natural) on all of your third and fourth fingers respectively. In other words, play the scale using the following notes:

C1, D2, Eb3, F1, G2, A3, Bb4, C1, D2, Eb3, F1, G2, A3, Bb4 and C5

Now try the same formula for the left hand, playing Eb and Bb on all your third and second fingers:

C5, D4, Eb3, F2, G1, A3, Bb2, C1, D4, Eb3, F2, G1, A3, Bb2 and C1

Congratulations. You’ve just converted a C major scale into a C Dorian scale or mode. Remember that flattening the third and seventh note of any major scale gives an instant Dorian scale. This type of converting is kind of like instant coffee. The coffee grind is the major scale, the boiling water is the two note adjustment, and the boiling hot cup of coffee is the Dorian scale. I know what you're thinking. I need a cup of coffee, but fast. You're right... I'm off to plug in the kettle.



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Piano Music | Chamber Classical Music | Inspirational Orchestral Music | Classical Composers | Name That Music | Free Composition and Piano Lessons | Piano Music Notes | Learn Music Theory | Finale Music Writing Software | Composing Music to Films | Writing Classical Score | List of Instruments | Music Sound Recording Studios | Multitrack Recording Process | Music Mixing Advice