The length of the notes in a scale, or scale length, gives a measure on which to place notes. So, for instance, a note “7” will be found on a fretboard that is just the 5th fret of that note. A scale can be thought of as a row of six notes.
The first of the six notes is known as the root note of the scale (sometimes called a “root” note). The other four notes of the scale are called the major and minor triad notes. (In addition to the root, the two other notes of any scale may be called “minor” or “diminished.”) (It is not always clear what the term “major” means. I have found two conflicting definitions, which I will use as the common one.) It looks like this.
As you will see, the intervals of two notes in a scale are the same length as their notes in the scale, and the lengths of the notes in any scale may be “equal.”
The second of the six notes of a scale is called the root note (if it is the 5th and the other four are minor triads). This is generally the note to which the intervals of that scale are referred. This note is sometimes called the “natural” note. The first of the fifth and the second of the sixth notes of a scale are called the perfect or natural notes. Perfect is the last note of a scale.
Let’s look at a scale in its simplest form. Consider the note names “E”, “A”, “B”, “C”, “D” and so on, as shown above. The first of these is the root note which is the same as the intervals of the scale. This means that the notes in a scale are “equal.” The second is a minor tonic, and each note in a scale is referred to by its number, i.e., it repeats twice. The third is known as the dominant note. The fourth note is the major tonic of a scale. The fifth is a diminished note. These are the notes that correspond to intervals of the scale. Notice that all the other notes (minor) are named after the root note, including the sixth. This is a simple idea, but it will come in handy throughout this course.
The notes in a scale are called note names in English.
This concept of scales was introduced to you by my friend, Professor David Dolan of Cornell University.
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