constructing scales using the circle of fifths

1

Hi My music teacher taught me to create scales using the circle of fifths. However I do not understand. I would like to know how to create a minor scale , a major scale and a melodic minor scale Please

circle of fifths and scales

Jun 23, 2015

3 Answers

2

The circle of fifths shows the relationship between keys and between major and minor scales. It does not really show you how the scales are built.

Major Scales follow a distinct pattern of spaces or intervals of whole tones [T] (two steps) and semitones [S] (one step) that is written as T T S T T T S . e.g. C major scale's notes are C D E F G A B C

If you look at a piano keyboard you will find both black and white keys. The black keys are in groups of twos or threes. C is the white note to the left of a group of two black notes. Next to C is another white key which would be D. D is a tone away from C because it takes two steps to reach it from C as there is a black note between C and D, which is C#. Similarly there are black notes between D and E, F and G, G and A, A and B making these also whole tones (T) apart.

However you will find no black note between E and F, or between B and C, so they are only one step or a semitone (S) apart. So

           C#     D#           F#    G#     A#
        C      D      E    F      G      A      B    C  (Scale of C Major)
         \    / \    / \  / \    / \    / \    / \  /
           T      T     S     T      T      T     S  (Interval pattern for major scales)

Minor scales are built from the sixth note or degree of a major scale. In the case of C major, the sixth note or degree is A.

                                      C D E F G A B C                (C major scale)
                                      1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 
                                                A B C D E F G A      (A minor scale)

This is what we call the natural minor. All of its notes come from the related major scale. Therefore C major and A minor will be considered relatives and will be found on the same spot on the circle of fifths as they will share the same key signature.

To create the harmonic minor or the melodic minor we have to tweak a few notes of the natural minor. I the case of the harmonic minor the 7th note or degree is sharpened.

                 A B C D E F G# A

The major, the natural minor and the harmonic minor all descend using the same notes they ascend with. The melodic minor does not. As it ascends both the 6th and 7th notes or degrees are sharpened. However it descends as the natural minor with the 6th and 7th notes or degrees lowered back to the notes of the key signature.

                 A B C D E F# G# A G F E D C B A

You can learn more about these scales in the lessons portion of this site.

Jun 25, 2015
0

The Major Scale is in degrees of 'W,W,h,W,W,W,h' tones. The minor scale is in degrees of, 'W,h,W,W,h,W.W.' The Melodic Minor raises ( or #''s ) the 6th & 7th degree, a 1/2 tone going up and, 'Naturalizes' ( or b's ) the 6th & 7th ( a 1/2 tone ) in descent. [ W= 2 semi-tones ] [h=1 semi-tone ].

Oct 21, 2016
0

The circle of fifths shows the relationship between keys and between major and minor scales. It does not really show you how the scales are built.

Major Scales follow a distinct pattern of spaces or intervals of whole tones [T] (two steps) and semitones [S] (one step) that is written as T T S T T T S . e.g. C major scale's notes are C D E F G A B C

If you look at a piano keyboard you will find both black and white keys. The black keys are in groups of twos or threes. C is the white note to the left of a group of two black notes. Next to C is another white key which would be D. D is a tone away from C because it takes two steps to reach it from C as there is a black note between C and D, which is C#. Similarly there are black notes between D and E, F and G, G and A, A and B making these also whole tones (T) apart.

However you will find no black note between E and F, or between B and C, so they are only one step or a semitone (S) apart. So

           C#     D#           F#    G#     A#
        C      D      E    F      G      A      B    C  (Scale of C Major)
         \    / \    / \  / \    / \    / \    / \  /
           T      T     S     T      T      T     S  (Interval pattern for major scales)

Minor scales are built from the sixth note or degree of a major scale. In the case of C major, the sixth note or degree is A.

                           C D E F G A B C                (C major scale)
                           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 
                                     A B C D E F G A      (A minor scale)

This is what we call the natural minor. All of its notes come from the related major scale. Therefore C major and A minor will be considered relatives and will be found on the same spot on the circle of fifths as they will share the same key signature.

To create the harmonic minor or the melodic minor we have to tweak a few notes of the natural minor. I the case of the harmonic minor the 7th note or degree is sharpened.

                 A B C D E F G# A

The major, the natural minor and the harmonic minor all descend using the same notes they ascend with. The melodic minor does not. As it ascends both the 6th and 7th notes or degrees are sharpened. However it descends as the natural minor with the 6th and 7th notes or degrees lowered back to the notes of the key signature.

                 A B C D E F# G# A G F E D C B A

You can learn more about these scales in the lessons portion of this site.

Jun 25, 2015

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