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  • Demetri Besougloff

Blog #6: Now let's build a scale on the "flat" side of the Circle of Fifths.

Updated: Dec 23, 2022

For information about private lessons and questions, please visit me at Demetri4.com.

Here is the YouTube link to the video that goes with this blog: https://bit.ly/3OY7u4P

Blog #6

The F Major Scale

Objectives:

  1. Understand how to build the F Major scale.

  2. Recognize the notes in the first Major tetra-chord.

  3. Recognize the notes in the second Major tetra-chord.

  4. Understand the structure of the Major scale.

There are two parts to building a scale:

  1. Place all the natural notes on the Blank Circle in your workbook.

  2. Using the Natural Note Circle in your workbook, adjust the placement of the notes on the Blank Circle to produce the correct scale structure.

Today we will build the F Major scale.

The construction of the scale starts with placing the tonic by the dot at 10:00. Keep the Natural Note Circle close to reference the Gold Standard.

Essential elements:

  • Tonic: the name of the scale.

  • Clockwise: Higher on the Circle

  • Counterclockwise: Lower on the Circle

  • Whole step = 2 dots

  • Half step = 1 dot

Always move clockwise on the Circle to measure an interval from the lower note to the higher. When measuring an interval, we are asking how many dots? All the dots on the Circle are half steps.



1. Note placement: begin writing on your Blank Circle here.

Beginning with the Blank Circle in your workbook, place the letter F (tonic) at 10:00. Using the Natural Note Circle, see that

  • the interval between F-G is a whole step. We will place G at 12:00, and 11:00 is blank.

  • The interval between G-A is a whole step. We place A at 2:00, and 1:00 is blank.

  • The interval between A-B is a whole step. We place B at 4:00, and 3:00 is blank.

The first four notes of our scale are (F, G, A, and B).

The next note is C.

  • The notes B-C are a half step. We will place C at 5:00.

  • The notes C-D are a whole step. We place D at 7:00, and 6:00 is blank.

  • The notes D-E are a whole step. We place E at 9:00, and 8:00 is blank.

  • Returning to F at 10:00, we find the interval between E-F is a half step.

After placing our notes on the Blank Circle, we must align them with the structure of the Gold Standard.

Neither the tonic nor the natural notes can move from their position. Therefore, to make the necessary adjustments replace the natural notes that are out of position with their relatively altered notes.

  • Natural notes: are the seven dots with letter names on the Natural Note Circle in your workbook.

  • Altered notes: are the five blank dots on the Natural Note Circle. These altered notes are called chromatic.

  • Chromatic notes (blank dots): The Natural Note Circle is very helpful in visualizing the relationship of a natural note to its chromatic. A chromatic is a note altered by an accidental.

  • Accidental: is a symbol (sharp "#" or flat "b") that indicates the altered note a 1/2 step higher or lower than a natural note.

  • Sharp (#): a sharp sign indicates the altered note 1/2 step higher.

  • Flat (b): a flat sign indicates the altered note 1/2 step lower.

The Major scale consists of two Major tetra-chords separated by a whole step.

The Major tetra-chord has four notes in alphabetical order and the structure of a whole step, a whole step, and a half step.

An important note about a chord:

  • It is important to note that when building a chord, we must look at the purpose.

  • Its purpose is melodic when placing the notes in a row (C, D, E, F) as with a C Major tetra-chord. (for the singer)

  • Its purpose is harmonic when skipping every other note (C, E, G) as when strumming a chord on the guitar like C. (for the band)



2. Scale structure:

The first tetra-chord (F, G, A, and B) does not match the Major tetra-chord position on the Natural Note Circle (10:00, 12:00, 2:00, and 3:00).

  • The note "B" is out of position at 4:00.

  • We need the altered note from 3:00 to give us the correct structure. Here is where the blank dots on the Circle come into play.

  • Placing a flat sign (b) with the note B (4:00), we recognize the blank dot Bb (3:00). Replace the note B with Bb to form the correct structure for our first Major tetra-chord.

The next step in constructing a Major scale is to separate the two Major tetra-chords by a whole step (2 dots). For example,

  • the last note of the F Major tetra-chord (Bb) is 3:00,

  • and the first note of the next tetra-chord (C) is 5:00.

  • The notes Bb-C are a whole step apart. The separation between tetra-chords needs no adjustment.

The second Major tetra-chord (C, D, E, and F) matches the correct position on the Natural Note Circle (5:00, 7:00, 9:00, and 10:00). The second tetra-chord needs no adjustment.

By placing a flat sign (b) with the note B, we recognize the blank dot (3:00) as Bb. Replacing the note B with Bb achieves the Gold Standard structure and gives us the F Major scale.

The F Major scale is

  • the F Major tetra-chord (F, G, A, and Bb)

  • the C Major tetra-chord (C, D, E, and F)

  • and a whole step (Bb-C) separates both.

Make several copies of the Blank Circle in your workbook and try these Major scales using the same method. Bb Major, Eb Major, and Ab Major. Good luck.

Hint: These exercises start on the blank dot. For example, place the note B at 11:00 and the blank dot for Bb at 10:00. Next, place the natural notes on the Blank Circle using the Natural Note Circle as a guide. Good luck.

Demetri

Next, Blog #7: Intervals: 2nd, 3rd, 4th

For information about private lessons and questions, please visit me at Demetri4.com.

Here is the YouTube link to the video that goes with this blog: https://bit.ly/3OY7u4P






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