Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Music Scales and the Secret of What Diatonic Means


Scales Defined



  • A scale is a division of an octave by intervals.
  • A scale is succession of tones with exact relationships among the tones.
  • A scale is succession of tones that divides exactly one octave. 


Typical Scale Divisions 


  • A 5-tone scale is a pentatonic scale (e.g., pentatonic minor, pentatonic major).
  • A 6-tone scale is a hexatonic scale (e.g., blues scale). 
  • A 7-tone scale is a heptatonic scale (e.g., natural major scale, natural minor scale).

Diatonic Scale



  • The prefix dia means through.
  • A diatonic gets played from tonic through its octave.
  • A diatonic scale is merely a scale that includes a Perfect 8 interval. 
  • Said another way, diatonic scale is any scale played through all of the tones of the scale with a second tonic played at its next pitch, which is the first higher multiple of frequency of the tone.
  • Any scale can be a diatonic scale if the octave tone of the tonic gets played.

Scale Degrees


  • A scale degree is the place occupied by a tone of a scale.
  • For pentatonic scales, there are five degrees:
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • For hexatonic scales, there are six degrees:
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
    For heptatonic scales, there are seven degrees:
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7