put together, what is the compositional materials used in the piece etc. These
are advanced questions, of course and everything must start very simple at the
beginning. In this article, I will explain, what is a major and minor scale, the
foundations of every tonal organ composition.
The major scale consists of 7 notes (the 8th being a repetition of the first 1 octave higher) and the distances between the notes are as follows:
Whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step and half step. Let's take an example of the scale which consists of white keys only, C major scale. For example, the notes of the C major scale are: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, (and C - repetition).
The minor scale also consists of 7 notes but the distances between the notes
are a little different:
Whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, and
whole step. The scale of A minor also consists of white keys only. That's why it
is called a relative key of C major. For example, the notes of the A minor scale
are: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, (and A - repetition).
Does it make sense so far?
If so, let's proceed further: the note of the scale can also be called a scale degree, meaning that there are 7 scale degrees in a scale: in C major: C(1), D (2), E (3), F (4), G (5), A (6), B (7) and C (8 or 1). In A minor: A (1), B (2), C (3), D (4), E (5), F (6), G (7) and A (8 or 1).
Play now the two scales C major and A minor on your keyboard. Listen in particularly how the 1st, 3rd, 5th scale degrees sound. They sound very stable.
This is because they comprise a Tonic chord (C, E, G in C major) or (A, C, E in
A minor). 2, 4, 6, 7 are unstable and they lead to the closest stable degrees.
By the way, the 1st scale degree of A minor is located just 3 scale steps lower than C major.
Is it easy to understand so far?
Practice playing C Major and A minor scales for a few times. After you are
fluent with these scales, you can start constructing similar scales in other
keys as well.
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