How To Write Scales With Key Signatures, Rules for writing out scales and modes in letter names
The Professor
Apr 28 2013, 11:28 AM
Theory Instructor
Posts: 888
Joined: 8-January 13
From: Manchester UK
Writing Scales on Paper Guide



As we dig deeper into the musical theory realm in the GMC Forum, one of the issues I see creeping up a lot is the mixing of sharps and flats when folks are writing out scales, especially modes of the major scale.

So, I thought I would put together a short primer to use as a reference page if you have any questions or get stuck on how to write out any scale.



Major Scales and Modes



When writing out any major scale or one of it’s modes, the rule to follow is only use each letter in the musical alphabet, A-B-C-D-E-F-G, once, and don’t mix sharps and flats in the same scale.

This means, that if you have the F Major Scale, this would be the wrong way to write it out.

F G A A# C D E F

Here, there are two A’s, A and A#, so that’s an error in the writing process.

Instead, use Bb so that you don’t double up on the A’s.

F G A Bb C D E F

The other issue, mixing sharps and flats, comes up in situations like this D Major Scale.

D E F# G A B Db D

Again, there are 2 D’s so that needs to be avoided, and since there is an F#, you can’t have any flats in the rest of the scale.

So, it would be written like:

D E F# G A B C# D

Here are your two rules to live by when writing out Major Modes.

Never double any notes.
Use sharps or flats but never both in the same scale



Other Scales and Modes



When writing out other modes, such as modes of Harmonic Minor or modes of Melodic Minor, you still only want to use each note once, but you can mix flats and sharps in a few of these modes to stick to that first rule.

For example, G Melodic Minor is written as:

G A Bb C D E F# G

So you have Bb and F#, but this avoids you using A and A#. So, mixing sharps and flats in Melodic Minor and Harmonic Minor modes is ok as long as it helps you avoid using 2 of the same notes, such as A and A#.

When writing out these other modes, first ask yourself, “Am I using any of the same note twice?” And if not, then it’s OK to mix sharps and flats. If you are using the same notes twice, such as A and A#, that can usually be fixed by writing A and Bb, two different letter names.

I hope that helps out. If you have any questions about these rules post them below and I’ll be glad to answer them.

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


Don't miss today's free lick. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!

Don't miss today's free blues, jazz & country licks. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!


--------------------
Ask me anything on the theory board. Follow my theory course. Check out my personal site
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
korblitz
Apr 28 2013, 01:58 PM
Learning Apprentice Player
Posts: 397
Joined: 16-August 12
Thanks...I really needed this.

Sorry for all the wrong scales I posted.

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


Don't miss today's free lick. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!

Don't miss today's free blues, jazz & country licks. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
The Professor
Apr 28 2013, 02:03 PM
Theory Instructor
Posts: 888
Joined: 8-January 13
From: Manchester UK
QUOTE (korblitz @ Apr 28 2013, 01:58 PM) *
Thanks...I really needed this.

Sorry for all the wrong scales I posted.



No worries, it's a very common thing that people deal with when learning to write scales out as notes. C# and Db are the same fret on guitar, but it can be a "wrong" note in a scale if the right one isn't used. Glad this is helpful!

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


Don't miss today's free lick. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!

Don't miss today's free blues, jazz & country licks. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!


--------------------
Ask me anything on the theory board. Follow my theory course. Check out my personal site
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Darius Wave
Apr 29 2013, 12:38 PM
Instructor
Posts: 5.762
Joined: 29-November 12
From: Poland
Verry common issue and great, short explaining! smile.gif

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


Don't miss today's free lick. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!

Don't miss today's free blues, jazz & country licks. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
The Professor
Apr 29 2013, 12:53 PM
Theory Instructor
Posts: 888
Joined: 8-January 13
From: Manchester UK
QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Apr 29 2013, 12:38 PM) *
Verry common issue and great, short explaining! smile.gif


Thanks glad you dug it!

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


Don't miss today's free lick. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!

Don't miss today's free blues, jazz & country licks. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!


--------------------
Ask me anything on the theory board. Follow my theory course. Check out my personal site
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Dieterle
Apr 30 2013, 07:01 AM
Learning Apprentice Player
Posts: 1.324
Joined: 21-March 12
Cool , THANK YOU !

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


Don't miss today's free lick. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!

Don't miss today's free blues, jazz & country licks. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
The Professor
Apr 30 2013, 07:18 AM
Theory Instructor
Posts: 888
Joined: 8-January 13
From: Manchester UK
QUOTE (Dieterle @ Apr 30 2013, 07:01 AM) *
Cool , THANK YOU !


No problem, thanks for checking it out!

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


Don't miss today's free lick. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!

Don't miss today's free blues, jazz & country licks. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!


--------------------
Ask me anything on the theory board. Follow my theory course. Check out my personal site
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Phil66
May 8 2015, 05:46 PM
Learning Apprentice Player
Posts: 7.708
Joined: 5-July 14
From: The Black Country, England
Very interesting.

Thank you.

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


Don't miss today's free lick. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!

Don't miss today's free blues, jazz & country licks. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!


--------------------


SEE MY GMC CERTIFICATE



“Success is not obtained overnight. It comes in installments; you get a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow until the whole package is given out. The day you procrastinate, you lose that day's success.”
Israelmore Ayivor
</div>[color="#000000"][/color

Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 




RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 24th September 2020 - 09:49 PM