How should I view scales?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Cambass, Aug 17, 2001.

  1. Cambass


    Jan 25, 2001
    Recently I have started to focus on scales as intervals. Ie, major scale = t t st t t t st (tone, semi tone). Before this I used to try and memorize each scale note by note. It now seems easier to remember the scale as intervals and then calculate the scale using those intervals.

    What method do you use or recommend?
  2. IMO it's much better to think of scales, and modes for that matter (just scales by a different names), in terms of the intervals involved--at least at first--because that is the fundamental fact that makes them sound the way they do. Practically speaking, it makes it easier for you to create them from any starting point you happen to pick.

    Though in the end the two approaches really meld into one. When you have a firm grip on the intervals, knowing what the notes are will become almost trivial. And having a firm knowledge of what all the notes are will inevitably lead you to an understanding of the intervals.
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    And knowing the intervals will make it easier to connect the scales concept to the chord concept. Chords and scales are basically two alternative views of the same thing.
    You need to know the intervals of a scale so you can choose a working scale/scale part to play over a chord or chord changes.
  4. Knowing the intervals and their relationships for each scale is definitely the way to go. My whole site at is based on this idea.

    For example, if you learn the intervals in the Dorian mode of the Major Scale:


    You can then pick out the chord and arpeggio tones like this:


    and construct chords like this:



    - Dave