Music Theory

Music Theory by Jeff Dunsmore in Butler, Pennsylvania

Major Scale

In western music, we use the 12 tone scale and we derive our major scale from a formula. After we derive our C major scale, we will build all the other major scales and relative minor scales. Based on the notes used in a scale we will explain how to relate the key the music is in and how to apply the music modes. For our study, and the way I was taught in music school, we will start by using the Sharp (#) scales and notes and apply them to the guitar.

12 tone scale: C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B

2 quick rules: On Guitar,
1. B and C are always right next to each other. (no frets in between them) Considered a 1/2 step
2. E and F are always right next to each other. ( no frets in between them) Considered a half step

Major Scale Formula

O, O, 1/2, O, O, O, 1/2 Just another way you might see the formula, (use whole and half below).
1, 1, 1/2, 1, 1, 1, 1/2 (some teaches use this, but please refer the the next one which is "whole and half").
whole, whole, half, whole whole whole, half or you could say Whole step, whole step, half step and so on ...
Use Formula on C major: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C

On Guitar:
Moving a whole step is moving your finger from the fret you are on 2 frets (up or down).
Moving a half step is simply moving a finger from a fret your finger is on to the next fret (1 fret) (up or down etc.).
Once you get proficient at applying the formula, you can quickly create the major scale from any note you want to start on. It is much easier to start with just one string and apply the formula from any note that you start on.

Deriving the harmonic minor scale


Music Theory Video - Deriving the C major scale

A work in progress...

Music Theory Resources

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