Purpose of scales?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Obsolex, Jun 27, 2003.

  1. Obsolex

    Obsolex Guest

    Nov 17, 2002
    I know all the types of scales (not how to play all of them), but I was just wondering if anyone could tell me the exact purpose for them? thanks-

    Sorry, what I mean to say, was I am familiar with a lot of types of scales... I don't know them all by any means...
  2. according to Adam Nitti:....

    "a scale is like an alphabet,. it's made pu of several key components that get combined together in different ways to give us unique words and phrases. Each note in a scale is like a letter from the alphabet. Without the scales, we can't communicate musically. However, just as with the English language, the larger our vocabulary, the better we are able to speak! The players with the largest vocabularies possess the most distinct and memorable musical voices"....
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Scales are the basis of all pitched Western music - the more you know about them, the more you know about how music is put together - what "works"!

    Of course a good teacher can show you how to apply these to what you want to do - just learning them all off by heart doesn't necessarily help you in any way.

    The difference between a parrot talking and a human being holding a conversation! ;)

    Polly played a scale!
    Polly played a scale!

    Yeah - so what!! ;)
  4. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    So that those of us that know them can sneer at those who don't.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes - how many quarter-tone scales does Obsolex know, I wonder....:meh:

    How about narrower micro-tonal scales? ;)
  6. TeenBassPlayer


    Jun 19, 2003
    My dad says that you can experiment with scales to create your own music and that the majority of guitar and bass music you hear is derived from one scale or another.
  7. To protect the epidermis of the fish....:D

    ******(Another poor attempt at double entendre bass fishing humour...)******

  8. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK


    ...*tumbleweed rolls past*...

    I think you'd better get your coat :D
  9. Say you feel like writing a six note melody. Ignoring octaves, the note choices number 12^6 = 35,831,808. The rythmic choices including possibilities from a whole note to sixteenth bring this number up by a factor of 78125, giving us a grand total of 2,799,360,000,000 potential melodies, ignoring smaller rythmic or pitch values or the possibility of more than one note at a time.

    That's a lot.

    Rather than having to somehow pick from 3 quadrillion possibilities every time you want to play six notes, you can choose to impose structure and order at will. The purpose of scales is to provide this structure for pitch. Scales are a framework within which pitches are guaranteed to work together harmonically and melodically in certain ways, and the particular pattern that a scale makes determines some of the nature of what you build from it.

    For example, the diatonic scales - if you add notes in the predicatable pattern of every other note (thirds), the results are guaranteed to be harmonically close enough to each other to make usable chords or chord-based melodies. A series of these chords imposed with a series of pitches from the same scale tend to work - that's the whole purpose of the scale.

    Other scales have different ways of relating notes, Eastern scales particularly. Rather than harmonic, their purpose is mainly melodic. They often have unusual intervals or even unusual intonation specifically because of the flavour that provides. Shifting from one scale to another during the course of an improvisation gives a change of sound and mood.

    One other thing - just because a scale tends to work in a given situation doesn't mean it describes everything that works. Remember that a scale is a destruction of other choices made for convenience, not a recipe that must be followed.

  10. hahahaha that was great dude:)