Kathryn Brickell Music is proud to offer piano teachers to our students in Long Island.

We will be posting informative articles relating to the piano and piano lessons.

The following article consists of an explanation on music scales and modes.

We hope you will enjoy your piano lessons with our wonderful, experienced and dedicated local piano teachers.


Music Scales and Modes

Various pitches can be organized into different schemas, called both scales and modes. The dominant Western theory of music divides an octave (the distance between one pitch and its doubled or halved pitch) into 12 notes this is referred to as the chromatic scale. Each individual gap between the 12 notes is called a half-step or semitone. Ascending or descending in half and whole steps (two half steps, also called a tone) produces a scale within an octave. Some of the most common scales include the seven-toned major scale, which produces a stereotypically happy sound, the harmonic minor scale, the melodic minor scale, and the natural minor scale. Some other scales include the octatonic scale and the pentatonic scale frequently seen in blues, rock, and folk music.

Many non-Western musical traditions, however, make use of different systems of organizing notes. Classical Ottoman Turkish music, Persian music, Indian music, and Arabic music all make use of quarter-tones to create different scales.

In music that employs the system of major and minor scales organized around the chromatic scale, a pieces key is the scale around which it is organized and whose notes it, for the most part, uses. Each key relates to the other in a grand circle of fifths. It is possible to transpose or translate a piece into a different key by adjusting all the notes by the same interval. However, this transposition often changes the feel of a piece, because it alters the relationship of the tones used in the piece to the pitches produced by the instrument. Sometimes this change is subtle enough to escape detection by the casual user, as the relationship between individual notes is unchanged.