This section deals with the scales and modes that function as ‘raw materials’ for melody and improvisation. Of course, each lick may in fact draw on altered versions of scales or modes.
Twelve Tone Scale
The Twelve Tone Scale is regarded as fundamental to ‘Western’ music. All notes are separated by a ‘half step’ - the smallest interval, or musical distance. None of the notes are more significant than the other, so there is no ‘tonal center’ as such.
Diatonic Scales are derived from the twelve tone scale. Typically, they consist of seven notes, each separated from its neighbour by a half step or whole step. These interval variations create a sense of tonality - we are aware of a ‘home’ note or ‘home’ chord. Some notes sound ‘unresolved’ and have a tendency to move to a neighbouring note.
The Major Scale
The best known diatonic scale is the one most people know as the Major Scale. It is also known as the Ionian Mode. It has the do-re-mi sound we all know so well! By altering certain notes in the Major Scale/Ionian Mode we can derive a total of seven modes known as the Classical Modes.
The Blues Scale
This scale is an important element of contemporary music and improvisation. The flavour of the scale can be derived by altering certain notes of the major scale. For more info check Blues Scale.