The major scale is amazing

Ah oh wise one.
I think that @JoshFossgreen should have a Yoda badge in the forum and you should be the first one on it!!!

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Wisdom has never been my strong point (to say the very least :slight_smile: ) - which is why I appreciate teachers that reduce complexity!

I get enough complexity in my day job.

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Many would argue against you on this point

Actually, both Pam and sshoihet are right. When referring to the natural minor scale. Major scales have relative minors which share the same key signature. So C major and a minor both have no sharps or flats in the key signature. The relative minor of a major scale is easily found by starting the major scale on the 6th scale degree (a is the sixth note of the C major scale) When you look at the pattern of intervals that yields you get the flat third, sixth and seventh that Pam mentioned. It is like 6 of one and a half dozen of the other. Or the difference between William and Bill. I mention natural minor because there are actually three forms of minor scale. If you play up and down the C major scale beginning and ending on the note A, it won’t really feel like A is the tonal Center. Now go up and down the same way but on the way down go one half step lower to G#. Now you’ve made a leading tone that leads your ear to feeling like A is the main note or tonality. That G# would also make an e minor chord into a E major chord and if you add the seventh, you’ve got an E dominant 7th chord which really leads your ear to A. This form of minor scale (flat 3, flat 6 and raised 7) is called harmonic minor. However, the leap of going from the flat 6 to the raised 7 sounded odd to composers of the early years of Western tonality, so people like Bach would raise both scale the 6 and 7 scale degrees on the way up and flat them on the way down. ( flat 3, raised or sharp 6 and 7 ascending then flat or lowered 7 and 6 on the way down, then still the flat 3). This is called the melodic form of the minor scale. You seldom see these other forms in pop, rock or blues. Sometimes the harmony might have the raised 7 to make a dominant 7 chord but the melody will keep the lowered 7 making it a “blue” note. Personally, when I practice minor scales, I use the harmonic form of the minor (flat 3, flat 6 and raised 7) but after my daughter was born, I stuck to major scales until she was a teenager and could handle the “sadness” of the minor scales.
Hope this helps

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It’s not that Pam was wrong - she wasn’t. It’s that @sshoihet was saying basically the same thing, just taking a broader view than simply mapping to the major scale. And they are 100% correct - it’s equally valid to say tonally that the major scale has three sharps compared to the minor scale, if you use the natural minor as your base. The point being that the base scale only matters in terms of convenience in description and the only thing that really matters are the intervals, and how you use them. Everything else can either simplify or complicate things,and there’s an unfortunate number of youtube channels that seem to worship complexity here.


And, not to belabour complexity here, but as Adam Neely likes to point out, even this is only music theory for Western equal temperament diatonic scales we’re talking about. It’s not universal by any means :slight_smile:

related note, I can listen to Nahre Sol play piano all day.


I’m starting a petition to make the Minor scale the “normal” scale and think of everything in terms of that :smiley: It’s very common to use water as an analogy to understand how electricity works but I have an electrical engineer friend that uses electricity as an analogy to understand water and it’s so “backwards” that it makes me laugh because most people wouldn’t understand it :slight_smile:

I just want people to think about what it is that they’re doing and not get stuck in the rules… like adults so commonly do. It’s like relativity in physics, sometimes you need to be able to look at things from another point of reference in order to really understand them.

Man I hated theory in school, I sucked at it and I just wanted to play music… I wish I’d had a better understanding of how/why things worked instead of just being told to memorize them. Everyone gets told they need to learn their scales and arpeggios but much less often are people told why they’re useful and how to use them.

Things like the blues scale, and Fb major (or minor) scale… they make me smile :slight_smile:

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To echo some of @howard’s comments here -

The only thing that matters is that the bass line sounds good.

How the player conceptualizes and expresses the abstract concepts of sounds and the organization of sounds is moot.
Both approaches to the scale are correct and both can help. But the player with the bigger ears who has no idea what a scale is will still play the better bass line.


Most definitely! That is why I think a lot of adults need to learn more like children and just experiment and “play” and learn what things sound like. Adults get too tied up in learning rules.


I never once said anyone was wrong for thinking in the more conventional terms of looking at the minor scale relative to the major scale. I merely stated that i thought the major and minor scales were the same thing… and I said that so people might give it some thought… but instead, people proceeded to tell me I was wrong for thinking that way. I’m just here to discuss things, learn and share my knowledge :slight_smile:


Yeah, I never took it that way either. I thought the point you were making was a good one.


I was talking about theory (what makes a minor scale different from a Major scale), and he kept coming back with all his technique stuff. We weren’t even arguing about the same thing. The fact is, the minor scale has a flattened 3rd, 6th, and 7th, and that’s what I was trying to explain, but he kept arguing with me about it. There are a multitude of techniques to get there, but the fact remains. It is what it is.
Pikes peak is 14,114 feet elevation. It has been and always will be. It’s an undisputable fact. There are several ways to get to the peak (I’ve done 2 of them), but whichever way you choose does not change the fact that it’s 14,114 feet.
It’s the same with scales.
I just hate so see people given incorrect information when they’re trying to learn.

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