Every Musical Scale

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by The Omega Cluster, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. The Omega Cluster

    The Omega Cluster n00b

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    Hey, I recently had the bad idea of compiling every possible 12-tone scale in a spreadsheet. There are 2,048 of them in total, and most of them are unnamed. I finally made it through, so all scales possible in 12-tone music are here.

    Link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1op1XtGRyMZLmidD-c6AgRNt7EVRoAv9A0HTVq6rD0KA/edit?usp=sharing

    It's pretty easy to find a scale by name or by steps (e.g. "2-1-2-2-2-1-2").

    You can place comments, but I hope this will be of use to some of you!
     
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  2. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Nice work. I did the same eons ago (must've been around the time I joined here), but I used MS Excel and had it divided up into tabs by number of notes. It was a truly thankless endeavour. Most of the scales don't really have any names, so I applied a system name based off of the modal family. The list used to be on my personal website, which was taken down, then I posted it over at seven heaven dot org, but that site went the way of the dodo, so then I did move most of the information to my google site around 2009 or 2010. At that point, I tried working on the same thing in 19-EDO (which I did complete, but who cares?), and in JI (which was much more interesting, but also very difficult).
     
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  3. JustinRhoads1980

    JustinRhoads1980 SS.org Regular

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    Hey sorry to sound like an idiot, but how do you use these? I am still learning some music theory stuff and this seems interesting, but I don't know how to use it
     
  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    How do you use every musical scale?

    Or... how do you use the table to find a specific musical scale?

    I think the former question is really a pretty broad "meaning-of-life" level question, but that might be the point of the exercise.

    The latter question is that the scales are organized by the number of notes in them in Column A "Tones", grouped into modal families or "shapes" in Column D with the degree or starting note listed in Column E, with other known names in Column F, and then with the scale spelled out with steps (how many frets apart the notes are) in Column G, followed by several columns that spell out the notes of the scale with their letter names.

    For example, the harmonic minor scale is in row 1454. It's a seven note scale, degree II of "shape S." You play it by playing the root note, incrementing up 2 frets, then one fret, then 2 frets, 2 frets, 1 fret, 3 frets, then one fret, and it's spelled out: C D Eb F G Ab B C (although the spelling of this one is not showing for me, for some reason).
     
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  5. JustinRhoads1980

    JustinRhoads1980 SS.org Regular

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    Well kind of a bit of both. I am learning with my teacher some of the basics since on day one I didn't really understand what the hell was going on. I also kind of find it hard to use since I don't know how to use the graph either
     
  6. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Honestly, for starting out, something that deep is only going to confuse the hell out of you.

    99.9% of all popular music uses either the major scale or the minor scale. I would start with those two and then get those nailed down really tight before branching out into exotic scales, which see a lot more use in academic music and death metal.

    Do you know all of the notes on the fretboard yet? If so, then you're definitely ready for some moveable scales. If not, then you might want to make that a sort of focus.

    The most common key in all music is G major. IIRC, something like 12% of all the songs in the world are in G major. So, really, if you learn a G major scale, you learn a tool that you can use 12% of the time you are playing guitar. If you learn something completely exotic like the Mela Jhankaradhvani scale, then you learned something that sounds quite cool, but that you'll be using <0.1% of the time you are playing guitar.

    So, let's start with G major. What is G major? It's a key where all of the chords and scales resolve to G, so we call G the root note, and we call the G chord the tonic. The G chord is made of the notes G B and D, from the formula "1 3 5."

    If you number the notes out of the G scale 1, 2, 3, 4, ..., you generate the formula that forms the basis of a lot of music theory. The major scale notes are always 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. If we correlate those to the notes in the key of G major, those are G A B C D E and F#. So, G=1, A=2, B=3, C=4, D=5, E=6, and F#=7. So, 1 3 5 for the major chord means G=1, B=3, and D=5. The notes of the chord are played together, typically with the root note or 1 as the lowest note in the chord, and then the rest of the notes may be present in order from low to high or out of order, it doesn't matter.

    So, playing a G chord, you can play it like this: 3 2 0 0 0 3 (G B D G B G)
    Or like this: 3 2 0 0 3 3 (G B D G D G)
    It really isn't important one way or the other, generally speaking.

    To play the G scale, you might try:
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ----------------------------------0-----0---------------------------------
    -----------------------0--2---4-----------4---2---0-----------------------
    ---------0---2---3-------------------------------------3---2---0----------
    -----3---------------------------------------------------------------3-----
     
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  7. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Fantastic work, fantastic number also, it's a familiar name (2048 game anyone?, multiples of bytes and the computer stuff?). I recall a few years back some one here also sent me a link for a complete list of 12 tone scales with MIDI sounds included, not sure where it is now...

    Nevertheless, THANKS A TON!

    EDIT: just found that from line 1033 onward, the scale graphs are blank... ?
     
  8. The Omega Cluster

    The Omega Cluster n00b

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    Thanks bostjan for the really in-depth answer. Indeed that's how my table was organized. Some deeper insight on how the scale, shapes, and degrees columns were organized:

    Scale: it represents the different kinds of steps and how many of them there are in this scales block. For example, 1-1-2-2-2-3 means that in this block, all scales presented have two semi-tone steps (the 1s), three whole-tone steps (the 2s), and one tone-and-a-half step (the 3).

    Shapes: it represents one arrangement of the steps available in the scales block. For example, in the 1-1-2-2-2-3 scales block, one shape can be 1-1-2-2-2-3, or it can also be 1-2-1-2-1-2-3, or any other configuration of these numbers. How I made this spreadsheet is that I first wrote down the numerically lowest configuration of these numbers first (in this example, it is 1-1-2-2-2-3 since, in number form, it is the number 112,223, which is the lowest number you can get by rearranging those numbers).

    Degrees: it represents the degree on which the shape it belongs to is played. I'll take a common example with the major scale (2-2-1-2-2-2-1). In my spreadsheet it is the second degree of this shape, but for the sake of this example we will count it as the first degree. So when you play the 1st degree of the major scale, you get the major scale, or Ionian mode (2-2-1-2-2-2-1). If you play the same scale on the second degree, you get the Dorian mode, and all the numbers keep their current arrangement but are moved one step to the left (2-1-2-2-2-1-2). And again on the third degree, and fourth, etc. until we reach the 7th degree (1-2-2-1-2-2-2).

    So, a shape (in numerical order) has all its degrees exhausted before moving on to the next shape. And when all shapes and degrees are exhausted, we move on to another scale block, with different steps and number of steps.
     
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  9. The Omega Cluster

    The Omega Cluster n00b

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    Yes, I'm still adding the finishing touches on it ;)
     
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  10. JustinRhoads1980

    JustinRhoads1980 SS.org Regular

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    I can agree with that :rofl: It gets better everyday though!

    I pretty much know the notes on the board pretty decently. If you ask me to point out certain notes are a bit harder, but is still possible. Probaby should just sharpen up a bit on that.


    The rest of the stuff I am doing with my teacher right now, but with the C major scale. What I have learned is that the Root (1) is the name of the chord and the Third shows whether that chord is major or minor.

    He also told me that the 5th tells us nothing. (I could be wrong on that since I have forgotten stuff here an there)

    We are also looking at how to read a chord vertically and horizontally.

    He also told me last week to do some research on intervals so I know my major and minors in C and the perfect 4th and 5th and so on.
     
  11. The Omega Cluster

    The Omega Cluster n00b

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    Not wrong about looking for the 3rd to know if it's a major or minor chord, but it goes way beyond that. Just one example, in the Mars Volta song "With Twilight as My Guide" the second chord has both a minor third and a major third. The minor third interval is actually an augmented second, but what does that make this chord? Many, many more examples can be found, and things can get very confusing very fast so strap in!

    The 5th can tell us a lot of things. It can be diminished or augmented, for starters. It can give a lot of information about the scale or chord you're in, but most of the time it's a perfect 5th so... I get what he was saying.

    Interval research is interesting. Tip (that helped me, at least), learn intervals and their inversions. For example if you play a major 3rd interval (say C and E), it can also be an inverse minor 6th if the bass note is on E instead of C. Inversions are super interesting and useful, and chord inversions play a big role in voicing things in an interesting way, so definitely look these up!
     
  12. JustinRhoads1980

    JustinRhoads1980 SS.org Regular

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    He told me there is more to it, but he was just telling me that these are the basics since last week I asked him is there any exceptions and he said yes and that we will get into those at another time since that is something else we have to understand
     
  13. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    ... the perfect 5th gives you... POWER RANGER... errr, I mean CHORD! :D

    Power Chords (or intervals, since a chord is made of 3 or more different notes) are composed by the Root of the chord and its perfect 5th... I know everybody knows this, but for those of you who are still getting what's this about, here it is... Power chords are the fundamentals of rock and heavy rock and some blues based metal as well.
     
  14. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Damn this is cool. Awesome resource. I made one for the heptatonic scales but not any others, so this will be useful. Here is my complete heptatonic scale document with spellings, harmony and midi scale playback http://tomwinspear.com/scales - For OpenOffice only
     
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  15. JustinRhoads1980

    JustinRhoads1980 SS.org Regular

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    I just found this out today with my teacher no joke XD. I knew what power chords were, but I didn't know how they were constructed till today.
     
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  16. IGC

    IGC OCDG

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    Interesting thought, microtonal version of this?
     
  17. The Omega Cluster

    The Omega Cluster n00b

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    [one thousand years later] *computing... computing... computing...*
     
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  18. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    ... "the answer is 42"...

    Hitch hikers' guide to the galaxy...?
     
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  19. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Which tuning, though? I have a 19-EDO version of this kicking around on a memory stick somewhere. Keep in mind that complexity increases faster than exponentially with the number of available notes, so it's a very large file.

    I wouldn't even try it with anything larger than 34 notes per octave, and even at that size, you might as well spend your time trying to develop an algorithm to solve Rubik's cubes or something.
     
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  20. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    Nice-work!

    FYI: These two are All-Interval-Tetrachords:
    • 1-2-3-6
    • 1-2-4-5
    I just added comments, because I'm not sure how you'd want to label them.

    I'd expect the All-Triad Hexachord to be in there too. I'll look for it later.


    I'm pretty sure I remember this, and might even have a copy squirreled away on a back-up drive somewhere.



    Did somebody call?
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018

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