What is a piano scale?
Last Updated on December 7, 2020 by Ephraim Iyodo
What is a piano scale?
A scale is a set of linked notes moving in a step-by-step sequence, like a staircase.
Each scale starts with a key note (also called a “tonic”), which corresponds to the name of the scale.
For example, if you are going to play on the A Major scale, you will start with the note A.
Importance Of Piano Scales
The practice of daily scales will significantly improve your piano skills.
Not only will they increase your instant awareness of key signatures, but they will also create powerful finger muscles and muscle memory.
Gradually increasing your speed in the scale will shift to speed in the music you play.
This will help you learn the geography of the keyboard.
Use them for warm-up and productive workout.
The scales strengthen your fingers.
You learn your keys and key signatures very well.
Types Of Piano Scales
The most common types of scales are major, minor and blue scales.
Let’s take a look at each type.
Major scale is usually associated with cheerful and optimistic music. To build a major scale, you must follow this pattern of semi-tones and tones.
Tonic – Tone – Tone – Semitone – Tone – Tone – Tone – Semitone
There are three main types of minor scales: natural, harmonic and melodic.
While the major scales sound quite happy, the minor scales sound mysterious, sad or exotic.
They are often used to express more complex emotions.
What is a natural minor scale?
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A
Tonic – Tone – Semitone – Tone – Tone – Semitone – Tone – Tone
This scale uses the same pattern of fingers as the C-major scale above. “Mad World” by Tears For Fears introduces the A minor scale.
The natural minor scale is also called the “aeolian” scale.
semi-tones are between notes 2-3 and 5-6.
What is the Harmonic Minor Scale?
The Harmonic Scale is remarkable for its raised 7th note, which does not appear in the key signature.
This means that there is an interval of 3 semi-tones between the 6th and 7th notes.
This is the most commonly used minor scale in Western music.
Tonic – Tone – Semitone -Tone – Tone – Semitone – 3 semitones – Semitone
What is the Melodic Minor Scale?
To create a “melodic minor” scale, you still smooth out the third note of the scale, but raise both the 6th and 7th notes to an increasing semi-tone.
Going down, you align both the 6th and 7th notes, so the scale is very different in ascending from descending.
Ascending: Tonic – Tone – Semitone – Tone – Tone – Tone – Tone – Semitone
Descending: Tonic – Tone – Tone – Semitone – Tone – Tone – Semitone – Tone
However, there is an easy way to memorize the pattern.
The ascending melodic minor flakes turn into major as soon as you pass the flat third.
In descending order, notes are exactly what is the key signature.
For example, in melodic minor F and G go up (just like in A major scale) and all white notes go down (just like the key sign that there are no sharp and flat notes!).
This way of thinking about the melodic minor scale makes memorizing easier.