Defining a Scale

There are various in-depth and very involved explanations on what scales are.  To read a few of the definitions, simply click on the links below.  They are informative and should be examined, reviewed, and applied in any musicians playing repertoire.  To simplify, I will quote from the Harvard Concise Dictionary which says:

A scale is “the underlying tonal material of some particular music, arranged in an order of rising pitches … The basic scale of European art music is the diatonic scale.  It consists of five whole tones (t) and two semitones (s) in the following arrangement: t t s t t t s (e.g., c d e f g a b c’).  This scale is usually referred to as a major scale (in this illustration, the C major scale) as distinguished from the pure minor scale, in which the arrangement of intervals is: t s t t s t t (e.g., c d e(b) f g a(b) b(b) c’)…” (in this case the (b) symbol represents flats).

Essentially, you have notes played one after another in order in a pattern (in the most basic form it is alphabetically – A – G) moving up and down the piano.

 

Wikipedia describes scales

Wikipedia describes diatonic scales

Wikipedia describes Chromatic Scales

Wikipedia describes Whole Tone Scales

Wikipedia describes Pitch Classes

 

Wikipedia describes Pentatonic Scales

Wikipedia describes Hexatonic Scales

Wikipedia describes the Octatonic Scales

Wikipedia describes Minor Scales

Wikipedia describes Harmonic Minor Scales

Wikipedia describes Melodic Minor Scales

Wikipedia describes Jazz Scales

Wikipedia describes the Blues Scale

Wikipedia describes Modes of the Major Scales

Wikipedia describes Phrygian Dominant Scales

Wikipedia describes Bebop Scales

Wikipedia describes the Chord-Scale System

Wikipedia describes Microtonal Scales

Wikipedia describes Hungarian Minor Scales

Wikipedia describes Arabic Scales

 

You may also visit these sites to create various scales and modes:

 

Scales and Modes from A Passion for Jazz

Scale Fingering

Scales and Chords for piano from a Passion for Jazz

 

Defining a Chord

Many people generally agree on the definition of a chord.  I have compiled a few links below of various chord definitions.  To read a few of the definitions, simply click on the links below.  They are informative and should be examined, reviewed, and applied in any musicians playing repertoire.  To simplify, I will quote from the Harvard Concise Dictionary which says:

A chord is “Three or more tones sounded simultaneously, two simultaneous tones usually being designated as an interval.  The most basic chords in the system of tonic-dominant (or triadic) tonality are the major and minor triads and their inversions (ie., sixth chords and six-four chords).  Other chords that play an important, though subordinate role, are the seventh chord, the ninth chord, the augmented sixth chord, and the diminished triad, each of which is regarded in this context as dissonant.”

Essentially, you have two or more notes played one after another (melodic chords) or together at the same time (harmonic chords) that create a certain mood.  I like to help students understand the feeling of chords.  A simple way to explain chords is to talk about the quality of chords.  Chords are like emotions.  Sometimes we are happy, sad, devastated, excited, elevated, tense like we want something to happen or change, cool and collected, or any other emotions you can think of, describe, or feel.

Each of these emotions can also be expressed through the chords.  Happy chords are major chords, sad ones are minor chords. When we think of extremely devastated and depressed emotions we think of diminished chords, excited and elevated emotions lead us to think of augmented chords. When we feel tense like we want something to happen or change we can refer to suspended chords. Cool and collected chords can be expressed by major sixth and seventh chords. When students think of chords as emotions instead of little black dots on a page they understand the feeling of the piece and know how to play the songs. They think about the emotions and can play the piece with feeling.

For a more in-depth explanation, click on these examples:

 

Wikipedia describes Intervals

Wikipedia describes Triads

Wikipedia describes a Chord

Wikipedia describes Chord Notation

Wikipedia describes Major Chords

Wikipedia describes Minor Chords

Wikipedia describes Diminished Chords

Wikipedia describes Augmented Chords

Wikipedia describes Sus2 Chords

Wikipedia describes Sus4 Chords

Wikipedia describes Sus4/Sus2 Chords

Wikipedia describes Add2/Add9 Chords

 

Wikipedia describes Major Sixth Chords

Wikipedia describes Major Sixth/Nine Chords

Wikipedia describes Minor Sixth Chords

Wikipedia describes Minor Sixth/Nine Chords

Wikipedia describes Augmented Sixth Chords

 

Wikipedia describes Major Seventh Chords

Wikipedia describes Major Seventh sharp the fifth Chords (Augmented 7th Chords)

Wikipedia describes Minor Major Seventh Chords

Wikipedia describes Dominant Seventh Chords

Wikipedia describes Minor Seventh Chords

Wikipedia describes Minor Seventh Add 4 Chords

Wikipedia describes Minor Seventh flat the fifth Chords (or Half Diminished Seventh Chords)

Wikipedia describes Minor Seventh sharp the fifth Chords

Wikipedia describes Diminished Seventh Chords (or Whole Diminished Seventh Chords)

Wikipedia describes Major Ninth Chords

Wikipedia describes Ninth Chords

Wikipedia describes Minor Ninth Chords

Wikipedia describes Eleventh Chords (or Dominant 11 Chords)

Wikipedia describes Augmented 11 Chords

Wikipedia describes Minor 11 Chords

Wikipedia describes 13 Chords (or Dominant 13 Chords)

Wikipedia describes Minor 13 Chords

 

Wikipedia describes the Extended Chord

Wikipedia describes TriTones

Wikipedia describes TriChords

Wikipedia describes Tetrachords

 

Wikipedia describes Pentachords

Wikipedia describes Hexachords

Wikipedia describes Neapolitan Chords

 

Wikipedia describes Chord Progressions

Wikipedia describes Slash Chords

Wikipedia describes Compound Chords

Wikipedia describes Jazz Chords

Wikipedia describes Modulation using Chords

Wikipedia describes Chord Names and Symbols

Wikipedia describes Pop-Punk Chord Progressions

Wikipedia describes the 8 Bar-Blues Progression

Wikipedia describes the 12 Bar-Blues Progression

Wikipedia describes Roman Numeral Analysis

 

You may also visit these sites to create various chords:

 

Scales and Chords for piano from a Passion for Jazz

Piano Chord Dictionary

Sheet Music USA explains about Chords

Piano Chords Chart

Piano Chords Chart 2

Nathan Andersen’s Piano-Chords

Piano Room Chord Chart

Pocket Piano Chord Finder

Keyboard Chords

Danman’s Picture Chords

Piano Chords (Shane Mcdonald)

 

 

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