WHAT IS A SCALE ?
Sounds like a simple enough question, since we musicians, use the word "scale" all the time. But what exactly IS a scale ?
For starters, we can look up the word in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
"a graduated series of musical tones ascending or descending in order of pitch according to a specified scheme of their intervals."
Not very clear, right ?
Since we live in the age of the Internet, I even checked what dictionary.com had to say:
"a succession of tones ascending or descending according to fixed intervals, esp. such a series beginning on a particular note: the major scale of C."
I don't know about you, but I don't find their definition to be of any great help either !
Ask around, just out of curiosity, and you might hear a few interesting suggestions as to how people define a scale !
In any case, here is what we can consider to be a "working" definition of a scale:
"a series of intervals of seconds, all contained within an octave."
This means that the octave may be divided in as many notes as we want, as long as no intervals larger than of a second are found in the scale.
I'm sure that you remember that there are 3 kinds of 2nds:
1. the minor 2nd (1/2 step)
2. the major 2nd (whole-step)
3. the augmented 2nd (1 and 1/2 step)
You will find that all of the diatonic and symmetrical scales that you know will fit this definition.
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