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Newbie question regarding Scale Degrees
Old 2nd October 2020
  #1
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Newbie question regarding Scale Degrees

Hi,
I tried to search to find the answer to my basic questions regarding scale degrees but have actually failed . I hope you can be so kind and sorten this out for me.

Question: Are scale degrees for non major scales somehow based on the major scale degrees?

This is the most common description of scale degrees I have found: "scale degree refers to the position of a particular note on a scale relative to the tonic"

In the Major scale it all seems to be that simple:
D Major
D - E - F# - G - A - B - C#
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

But then the D major pentatonic scale is: D - E - F# - A - B
Then if I simply count positions in the scale it would give me scale degrees:
D - E - F# - A - B
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5

But then I have seen people refereeing to the scale degrees of the regular major scale when they write that scale. "A" get the scale degree 5 as in the major and we have no scale degree 4:
D - E - F# - A - B
1 - 2 - 3 - 5 - 6

Which one is correct?

Another way I have seen people writing scale degrees is to also use flat and sharp symbols:
G Major scale
G - A - B - C - D - E -F♯
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

Then G natural minor scale degrees are using "b" to show relationship to major.
G natural minor scale
G - A - Bb - C - D - Eb - F
1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7

So should scale degrees use b (flat) or #(sharp) to show if they are flatten or raised compared to the major notes? I haven't found any text explaining this (but I'm sure it's out there somewhere).
Is it just a "flavour" on how to write scale degrees?

What about scales with more than 7 notes? Are scale degrees only using numbers 1 -7?

For example the Chromatic scale seems not use scale degrees 1 - 12 but instead

1 - ♯1/♭2 - 2 - ♯2/♭3 - 3 - 4 - ♯4 ♭5 - 5 - ♯5 ♭6 - 6 - ♯6 ♭7 - 7

I assume I missed I vital part that will explain all of this.

Bonus question: How do I do tables in my post so I can get the Note and degree rows aligned?

Thank you!
Old 13th October 2020
  #2
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Poopypants's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheReaper View Post
Question: Are scale degrees for non major scales somehow based on the major scale degrees?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheReaper View Post


But then the D major pentatonic scale is: D - E - F# - A - B
Then if I simply count positions in the scale it would give me scale degrees:
D - E - F# - A - B
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5

But then I have seen people refereeing to the scale degrees of the regular major scale when they write that scale. "A" get the scale degree 5 as in the major and we have no scale degree 4:
D - E - F# - A - B
1 - 2 - 3 - 5 - 6

Which one is correct?
1-2-3-5-6

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheReaper View Post

Another way I have seen people writing scale degrees is to also use flat and sharp symbols:
G Major scale
G - A - B - C - D - E -F♯
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

Then G natural minor scale degrees are using "b" to show relationship to major.
G natural minor scale
G - A - Bb - C - D - Eb - F
1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7

So should scale degrees use b (flat) or #(sharp) to show if they are flatten or raised compared to the major notes?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheReaper View Post
I haven't found any text explaining this (but I'm sure it's out there somewhere).
Is it just a "flavour" on how to write scale degrees?
I don't know what you mean by "flavor." It is standard practice to relate everything back to major.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheReaper View Post

What about scales with more than 7 notes? Are scale degrees only using numbers 1 -7?

For example the Chromatic scale seems not use scale degrees 1 - 12 but instead

1 - ♯1/♭2 - 2 - ♯2/♭3 - 3 - 4 - ♯4 ♭5 - 5 - ♯5 ♭6 - 6 - ♯6 ♭7 - 7
Yes. Even the chromatic scale gets referred back to the major. Another convention is that you'd use sharps to express the notes on the way UP and flats for those very same enharmonic equivalents on the way DOWN.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheReaper View Post

I assume I missed I vital part that will explain all of this.

Bonus question: How do I do tables in my post so I can get the Note and degree rows aligned?

Thank you!
I haven't got a clue on this one!
Old 15th October 2020
  #3
Gear Addict
 

A guitar player once showed me his database over 1000 scales . He just collected them but only used a small fraction. At least 30 different Blues scales. Nearly all of his songs were composed in the major scales but he used quite a few exotic sales for his solos. Deep subject...
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