Some teachers require students to learn keyboards (usu. piano) before they actually learn the instrument of their choice, because the keyboard makes things more ‘visual’.

On this keyboard above, you see a highlighted portion, from a low ‘C note’ to a higher ‘C note’. This is a ‘C-Scale’. A scale is a graduated range of values forming a standard system for measuring or grading something. The easiest way to think of any scale is a range of notes that always ends on the same letter; a C scale always starts and ends with C; a D scale starts and ends with D, etc.

Using the alphabet, it’s a breeze!

Only A thru G is used in music, so after G, you start back at the beginning of the alphabet (uh, that would be A). A scale is a graduated range of 8 notes in alphabetical order. Even if there are strange notes, ‘exceptions to the rule’ such as sharps, flats, minor scales, etc., the alphabet will still be in the proper order. By that I mean, if your scale called for  F, G, A, Bb, the Bb is still a B (alphabetically) even though it is flatted. The whole scale in the Key of F would be;

F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F
So now, you number them…
F is 1
G is 2
A is 3
Bb is 4
C is 5
D is 6
E is 7
F is 8 (octave)

8 increments or ‘graduations’ in the scale, and it always brings you back to the note (letter) you started on. Just follow the alphabet! Next we’ll talk about why ‘intervals’ are important, and how they relate to the distance between each of the notes in a scale.

by Mike Kekel

  One Response to “Using the Keyboard to Understand Scales”

  1. I can already tell that I am going to frequent this site, thanks for all the works put in! Excited for the next segment !