Major scale question

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stevelaba

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Joined: 11/07/20

Posts: 12

Hi all this may have been mentioed in one of the lessons but I don't remember.

I see that a Major scale start and ends on the root note.

But when looking at the patterns on the strings and frets for the C Major scale I see the A and B on the low E string just before the C note on the 8th fret.

Why are those 2 notes there?

Thanks

Steve

#1

Hi all this may have been mentioed in one of the lessons but I don't remember.

I see that a Major scale start and ends on the root note.

But when looking at the patterns on the strings and frets for the C Major scale I see the A and B on the low E string just before the C note on the 8th fret.

Why are those 2 notes there?

Thanks

Steve

dlwalke

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Joined: 02/02/19

Posts: 239

I'm not sure what you are looking at but what's important to remember is that every C, every D, every E, F, G, A and B anywhere on the guitar (or piano or whatever) are part of the C major scale. The C note found on the 8th fret of the 6th string (the low E string) is C3 (C note in the 3rd octave). If you start on that note and go up from C to D to E, F, G, A and B, you will play the C major scale using just the notes in the 3rd octave. If you play the A and B notes on the 5th and 7th frets of the low E string you will still be playing notes from the C major scale but the A and B are from the 2nd octave. It's common, when practicing, to play through the notes of a scale starting on the root note but no matter where you start you're still playing notes from the C scale (assuming you're sticking to C, D, E, F, G, A, B and C).

A little more advanced: If you are actually making music and are treating a note other than C as your home base (e.g., your melodies start and end there), it might be more accurate to say you are playing a mode of the major scale. The modes have Greek-sounding names.

CDEFGAB - the standard major scale mode (also called Ionian)

DEFGABC - dorian mode

EFGABCD - phrygian mode

FGABCDE - lydian mode

GABCDE - mixolydian mode

ABCDEFG - minor or aeolian mode

BCDEFGA - locrian mode

The intervals between consecutive notes are not all the same (some are a half step [1 fret] and others a whole step [2 frets]). For example, the interval between B and C is a half step whereas the interval between C and D is a whole step. These intervals are distributed variably across the major scale (in basic C major or C Ionian, the sequence is whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step). When you start and end on different notes, the sequence of intervals and the resulting feel is different. If you start and end on A, you are probably playing in A minor (aeolian) even the notes are the same as if you were playing in C major. But it feels different.

#2

I'm not sure what you are looking at but what's important to remember is that every C, every D, every E, F, G, A and B anywhere on the guitar (or piano or whatever) are part of the C major scale. The C note found on the 8th fret of the 6th string (the low E string) is C3 (C note in the 3rd octave). If you start on that note and go up from C to D to E, F, G, A and B, you will play the C major scale using just the notes in the 3rd octave. If you play the A and B notes on the 5th and 7th frets of the low E string you will still be playing notes from the C major scale but the A and B are from the 2nd octave. It's common, when practicing, to play through the notes of a scale starting on the root note but no matter where you start you're still playing notes from the C scale (assuming you're sticking to C, D, E, F, G, A, B and C).

A little more advanced: If you are actually making music and are treating a note other than C as your home base (e.g., your melodies start and end there), it might be more accurate to say you are playing a mode of the major scale. The modes have Greek-sounding names.

CDEFGAB - the standard major scale mode (also called Ionian)

DEFGABC - dorian mode

EFGABCD - phrygian mode

FGABCDE - lydian mode

GABCDE - mixolydian mode

ABCDEFG - minor or aeolian mode

BCDEFGA - locrian mode

The intervals between consecutive notes are not all the same (some are a half step [1 fret] and others a whole step [2 frets]). For example, the interval between B and C is a half step whereas the interval between C and D is a whole step. These intervals are distributed variably across the major scale (in basic C major or C Ionian, the sequence is whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step). When you start and end on different notes, the sequence of intervals and the resulting feel is different. If you start and end on A, you are probably playing in A minor (aeolian) even the notes are the same as if you were playing in C major. But it feels different.

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 7379

Originally Posted by: stevelaba

I see that a Major scale start and ends on the root note.

Yes. As a conceptual unit you learn what notes and intervals a scale consists of. And then you start to play it from one root note up to the next root, or starting at the higher root note, then down through the scale notes to the lower root note. That helps you understand the essence of a scale. What it is and how it sounds.

However, any scale can be continued beyond either root note as high or as low as the musical instrument allows.

Originally Posted by: stevelaba

But when looking at the patterns on the strings and frets for the C Major scale I see the A and B on the low E string just before the C note on the 8th fret.

Why are those 2 notes there?

The Scale Finder is a reference tool. It shows you all of the notes of any given scale in one fretboard position. It's possible to play the C major scale using all the strings on frets 5 through 8. And it just happens that if you play it in that position there are 2 lower notes available on the low string.

The Scale Finder is not a teaching or pedagogical tool. It's simply a reference tool that you can use to find all the notes available.

In real music you will find that you don't always play an entire scale from root to root and then stop. Usually melodies start and, or stop in the middle of a scale. So it can handy to know that any given scale extends above and below its root notes.

Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#3

Originally Posted by: stevelaba

I see that a Major scale start and ends on the root note.

Yes. As a conceptual unit you learn what notes and intervals a scale consists of. And then you start to play it from one root note up to the next root, or starting at the higher root note, then down through the scale notes to the lower root note. That helps you understand the essence of a scale. What it is and how it sounds.

However, any scale can be continued beyond either root note as high or as low as the musical instrument allows.

Originally Posted by: stevelaba

But when looking at the patterns on the strings and frets for the C Major scale I see the A and B on the low E string just before the C note on the 8th fret.

Why are those 2 notes there?

The Scale Finder is a reference tool. It shows you all of the notes of any given scale in one fretboard position. It's possible to play the C major scale using all the strings on frets 5 through 8. And it just happens that if you play it in that position there are 2 lower notes available on the low string.

The Scale Finder is not a teaching or pedagogical tool. It's simply a reference tool that you can use to find all the notes available.

In real music you will find that you don't always play an entire scale from root to root and then stop. Usually melodies start and, or stop in the middle of a scale. So it can handy to know that any given scale extends above and below its root notes.

Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

martjor854

Full Access

Joined: 05/09/21

Posts: 34

A major scale with a root in the lowest position

Hi Chris,

I was exploring the above lessons and decided to also look at the scale finder tool.

you are teaching this scale on the basis of three notes per string.

Is this Major scale you are continually using as an example Ionian?
what is Ionian?
what's the difference between the major scales and the pentatonic scales?

#4

A major scale with a root in the lowest position

Hi Chris,

I was exploring the above lessons and decided to also look at the scale finder tool.

you are teaching this scale on the basis of three notes per string.

Is this Major scale you are continually using as an example Ionian?
what is Ionian?
what's the difference between the major scales and the pentatonic scales?

DraconusJLM

Full Access

Joined: 06/21/21

Posts: 195

Ionian is the correct name for what is more commonly called the major scale.

A pentatonic scale is made up of five notes. A major pentatonic scale consists of the root, 2nd, 3rd, 5th & 6th scale degrees of the major or Ionian scale before repeating. A minor pentatonic consists of the root, 3rd, 4th, 5th & 7th degrees of the natural minor scale.

Scale and scale modes is a pretty big area of study, but there are plenty of music theory lessons on here.

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....

#5

Ionian is the correct name for what is more commonly called the major scale.

A pentatonic scale is made up of five notes. A major pentatonic scale consists of the root, 2nd, 3rd, 5th & 6th scale degrees of the major or Ionian scale before repeating. A minor pentatonic consists of the root, 3rd, 4th, 5th & 7th degrees of the natural minor scale.

Scale and scale modes is a pretty big area of study, but there are plenty of music theory lessons on here.

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 7379

Originally Posted by: martjor854

I was exploring the above lessons and decided to also look at the scale finder tool.

Which lesson are you referring to?

Originally Posted by: martjor854
you are teaching this scale on the basis of three notes per string.

Usually, yes. But there are also a couple of 2 notes per string patterns included in those as well because that's the nature of the guitar layout.

Originally Posted by: martjor854

Is this Major scale you are continually using as an example Ionian?

Yes, the diatonic major scale is synonymous with the ionian mode. Those are 2 different terms for exactly the same thing.

Originally Posted by: martjor854
what is Ionian?

A fancy name for the major diatonic scale! :)

Ionian is a Greek word used by a Swiss music theorist that wanted to give a unique name to each mode of the diatonic major scale.

Modes are a fairly advanced, and sometimes confusing, topic. If you are a beginner working through the Fundamentals courses or just learning songs, then you don't need to worry about modes.

If you play on going deeper into music theory I have tutorials that explain all about modes, what they are for & how to use them.

Modes of the Major Scale

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=370

Practicing Major Modes

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=770

Practicing Minor Modes

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=2630

Originally Posted by: martjor854

what's the difference between the major scales and the pentatonic scales?[/p]

Great question!

The full name of the major scale is the diatonic major (or minor) scale. This helps distinguish it from the pentatonic major (or minor) scale.

Diatonic scales have 7 notes with a specific interval formula between the notes. I cover the C major scale for beginners in this tutorial.

C major scale for beginners

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=363

Pentatonic scales only have 5 notes with a specific interval formula between the notes. I cover the pentatonic scales in this tutorial.

Pentatonic Scales

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=296

They are almost the exact same thing, with one distinguishing characteristic: the penatonic scales avoid 2 notes of the diatonic scales. This is easy to see with an example!

C major scale (a diatonic scale)

c (1) - d (2) - e (3) - f (4) - g (5) - a (6) - b (7)

C penatonic major scale

c (1) - d (2) - e (3) - g (5) - a (6)

You can see that these 2 scales have all the of the exact same notes & intervals, except that the 4th & 7th scale degress are included in diatonic, but "left out" or avoided in pentatonic.

Diatonic is usually just an assumed qualifier. You don't have to specify it because it's the default position. "Dia-" is a prefix meaning "through", as in all the way through the scale. "Penta-" is a prefix meaning "five", as in "5 notes" or "5 tones" in the scale.

Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#6

Originally Posted by: martjor854

I was exploring the above lessons and decided to also look at the scale finder tool.

Which lesson are you referring to?

Originally Posted by: martjor854
you are teaching this scale on the basis of three notes per string.

Usually, yes. But there are also a couple of 2 notes per string patterns included in those as well because that's the nature of the guitar layout.

Originally Posted by: martjor854

Is this Major scale you are continually using as an example Ionian?

Yes, the diatonic major scale is synonymous with the ionian mode. Those are 2 different terms for exactly the same thing.

Originally Posted by: martjor854
what is Ionian?

A fancy name for the major diatonic scale! :)

Ionian is a Greek word used by a Swiss music theorist that wanted to give a unique name to each mode of the diatonic major scale.

Modes are a fairly advanced, and sometimes confusing, topic. If you are a beginner working through the Fundamentals courses or just learning songs, then you don't need to worry about modes.

If you play on going deeper into music theory I have tutorials that explain all about modes, what they are for & how to use them.

Modes of the Major Scale

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=370

Practicing Major Modes

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=770

Practicing Minor Modes

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=2630

Originally Posted by: martjor854

what's the difference between the major scales and the pentatonic scales?[/p]

Great question!

The full name of the major scale is the diatonic major (or minor) scale. This helps distinguish it from the pentatonic major (or minor) scale.

Diatonic scales have 7 notes with a specific interval formula between the notes. I cover the C major scale for beginners in this tutorial.

C major scale for beginners

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=363

Pentatonic scales only have 5 notes with a specific interval formula between the notes. I cover the pentatonic scales in this tutorial.

Pentatonic Scales

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=296

They are almost the exact same thing, with one distinguishing characteristic: the penatonic scales avoid 2 notes of the diatonic scales. This is easy to see with an example!

C major scale (a diatonic scale)

c (1) - d (2) - e (3) - f (4) - g (5) - a (6) - b (7)

C penatonic major scale

c (1) - d (2) - e (3) - g (5) - a (6)

You can see that these 2 scales have all the of the exact same notes & intervals, except that the 4th & 7th scale degress are included in diatonic, but "left out" or avoided in pentatonic.

Diatonic is usually just an assumed qualifier. You don't have to specify it because it's the default position. "Dia-" is a prefix meaning "through", as in all the way through the scale. "Penta-" is a prefix meaning "five", as in "5 notes" or "5 tones" in the scale.

Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 7379

Originally Posted by: DraconusJLM

Ionian is the correct name for what is more commonly called the major scale.

Great answers, thanks!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#7

Originally Posted by: DraconusJLM

Ionian is the correct name for what is more commonly called the major scale.

Great answers, thanks!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

Tinpan

Full Access

Joined: 03/31/20

Posts: 278

I'm left wondering what the point is to learning pentatonics when you know the whole scale?

#8

I'm left wondering what the point is to learning pentatonics when you know the whole scale?

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 7379

Originally Posted by: Tinpan

I'm left wondering what the point is to learning pentatonics when you know the whole scale?

Pentatonic scales are different physical fretboard patterns, which means different physical motions are required, along with those different pattern visualizations. And this leads to the most important distinguishing aspect: a different sound.

Both diatonic & pentatonic are part of the overall integrated system of musical notes, scales, intervals. But each aspect must be focused on separately in order to use it & figure out how where & how it fits into actual music you can make.

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#9

Originally Posted by: Tinpan

I'm left wondering what the point is to learning pentatonics when you know the whole scale?

Pentatonic scales are different physical fretboard patterns, which means different physical motions are required, along with those different pattern visualizations. And this leads to the most important distinguishing aspect: a different sound.

Both diatonic & pentatonic are part of the overall integrated system of musical notes, scales, intervals. But each aspect must be focused on separately in order to use it & figure out how where & how it fits into actual music you can make.

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

aileenhenderson.904

Registered User

Joined: 09/29/21

Posts: 1

he half steps in a major scale are always found in the same place. One is found between the third and fourth scale degrees and the other.

#10

he half steps in a major scale are always found in the same place. One is found between the third and fourth scale degrees and the other.