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Crucial scales

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Casezilla, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. Casezilla


    Apr 10, 2008
    Superior, WI
    What are some crucial scales outside of Major, Minor, Pentatonics, and any modes?
    This is for school, so I'd really appreciate a straight answer, rather than, "learn harmonic whatever first."

    Thank you!
  2. The FIRST scale any serious musician should learn is the Neapolitan Minor, also known as Harmonic Phrygian or Mode V Hungarian Gypsy No. 2.

    It is formed thusly:

    1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 7

    So starting on C, you get:

    C Db Eb F G Ab B

    Good luck in your studies.... :meh:
  3. Casezilla


    Apr 10, 2008
    Superior, WI
    Weird scale. I like it though!
    Thank you verrry much for that! But, what are some others?

  4. Honestly, I just opened this giant book of scales I have and picked one at random.

    I'm not sure if you're looking for these scales as some sort of mental exercise, but if you want scales to incorporate into your playing, I would definitely start with a complete front to back knowledge of the major scale and its modes, the minor scales (harmonic and melodic) and their modes, and how they fit into chord progressions. I know this isn't what you wanted to hear, but learning jazz harmony will go farther to make you a better player than cataloging random scales will.

    That being said, check out the Hejaz-Kar scale, also known as Byzantine, Double Harmonic, or Gypsy:

    1 b2 3 4 5 b6 7
    C Db E F G Ab B
  5. TheBasicBassist


    Jan 8, 2009
    Newark, DE
    Endorsing Artist: Rosado Guitars
    How about the Whole Tone scale? It's built strictly on whole steps - I'll let you figure out
    the notes. Also, the diminished and octatonic. The diminished alternates between half-steps and whole-steps and the octatatonic alternates between whole-steps and half-steps.
  6. Billnc


    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    I attended a 40 hour seminar with Mick Goodrick, he started talking about the major scale, a guy broke in, "I know this stuff don't waste my time" Mick simply played an abstract sounding piece of music and ask the guy what he did. It was all utilizing the major scale. The student did not recognize it as such.
  7. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    Let me kick in an open door for you: what you need to know about scales depends on the kind of music you want to play. Study what you need + follow your taste and put it into practice right away.
  8. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    I was going to criticize stereo joe's posts, but he has admitted he is just messing with you by picking random scales, with no consideration for how "crucial" they may be.

    As Chris K points out, "crucial"-ness depends on the music you will study/play.

    Besides the diatonic modes and pentatonic scales, you'll want to look at melodic minor and harmonic minor. Bebop scales and the minor pent blues scale might also be handy...

    the straight answer is above. if by "harmonic whatever" you mean understanding chord construction and scale - based harmony, well the truth is probably that for school it IS more crucial than scales beyond what you mention.
  9. Casezilla


    Apr 10, 2008
    Superior, WI
    I do have a basic understanding of harmonic functions, yes. But the only reason why I am not preferring that as an answer is just that I am making something on scales for highschool, not for a college course or anything.

    I will certainly look into bebop scales. But what is melodic minor and harmonic minor as opposed to just regular one octave minor?
  10. GlennPagano


    Jul 20, 2009
    Glen Mills
    The most crucial scale is the chromatic scale.
  11. TheDarkReaver

    TheDarkReaver Banned

    Mar 20, 2006
    Lincolnshire, UK
    Blues Scale is always good, if you're into your rock anyway.

    In the key of Cm

    C - D# - F - F# - G - A# - C
  12. Casezilla


    Apr 10, 2008
    Superior, WI
    That was ingenuity.
  13. Casezilla


    Apr 10, 2008
    Superior, WI
    I actually am feeling bad about asking so many questions, but here's another...:
    What is the tonal combination of the Spanish Gypsy? (As in W,H,W, etc) in a single octave?
  14. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Only after you really KNOW the diatonic major scale, does any other scale become truly useful. By "know" any scale I mean.

    A. You know how to construct it- know the whole step and half step intervals.
    B. You know how to figure out how to spell it in any key- not memorize what notes are in it, but you can mentally determine each note with the correct enharmonics (because that's part of knowing what the construction is)
    C. You can play it and know what each note is going to sound like before you play it.
    D. You can harmonize it and know what chords come out of it.
    E. You can find the notes to it over at least two octaves on your instrument.

    Only then do you really KNOW a scale. Note that the last part is what most people mean when they say they know a scale, and it's utterly the least important part of this process.

  15. Casezilla


    Apr 10, 2008
    Superior, WI
    It all depends on your style dude. If you're someone that likes to play chords over things or use arpeggios a lot, sure, D is your thing. If you're someone that likes to just make really solid tones, E is your thing. Obvious C is for everyone, but I don't think that comes with just the Major scale, that is something that all musicians eventually need to learn.

    Anyways, the fact of the matter is, regardless of whether it is useful or not, I have to do this for school. Like, absolutely for school. I can't tell the school, "Hey, I didn't do that, but here's some other stuff." I have to tell them, "Hey, here's what I told you I was going to do."

  16. I hate to nitpick, but the "Blues Scale in Cm" is

    C - Eb - F - Gb - G - Bb - C

    Note the difference between the 2nd scale degree and the last scale degree.

    Also note, the Gb can be written as F#, it depends on how the note is resolved.
  17. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Nope. What I'm saying is that before you act like trained monkey who knows where to put your fingers to play anm Ab Hungarian Minor, you need to know all that stuff about the major scale. Even if you don't play chords, ya gotta know where they come from.

    If your school wants you to know more than tthe major scale, ya gotta do the whole process for all of 'em. Because there's a HUGE difference between knowing how to physically play a scale and KNOWING a scale.


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