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Thread: How many scales???

  1. #1
    Registered User Music Lover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    Smile How many scales???

    Dear Members,

    In Western Music we have Major, Minor, Argumented, Dimnished and Pentatonic scales.

    Their are
    15 Major Scales
    15 Natural Minor Scales
    15 Harmonic Minor Scales
    15 Medolic Minor Scales
    2 Whole Argumented Scales
    3 Diminished Scales
    2 Pentatonic Scales
    7 Modes

    Total 74 Scales.

    Is this the total amount of scales in western music???

    Thanks in advance.


  2. #2
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Jackson MS
    The key term that is missing in your post is the word 'Unique'.

    Western music has 12 unique tones so any interval structure has at most 12 unique keys. SOme interval structures will have less because they overlap (are 'enharmonic') with others. A good example is the Whole Tone Scale which uses every other note of the 12 tone scale (Chromatic scale). Because there are 12 notes in the ('Uiniversal Set') chromatic scale and six in the Whole Tone scale, that are evenly spaced. There are only 2 Unique Whole tone scales (comprised of even and odd notes).

    I am not sure how you came uo with the numbers you are showing.

    15 Major Scales (12)
    15 Natural Minor Scales (12 However not Unique Since they are Enharmonic with the 6th mode 'Aeolian' of the major scale so 0)
    15 Harmonic Minor Scales (12)
    15 Medolic Minor Scales (12)
    2 Whole Argumented Scales (Whole Tone ? 2)
    3 Diminished Scales (3)
    2 Pentatonic Scales
    (This one is not so easy, there are at least 12 of the standard Pentatonic scale made from a stack of 5ths [CGDAE], if you want to inclue other types of 5 note scales in this class then there will be many more)

    7 Modes (7 per major scale, however 0 since these are all enharmonic with the major Scale, starting at different notes, and since we have covered all 12 unique major scales these are all accounted for.)

    If your question is how many scales (unique interval structures) are possible from the 12 tone scale, then you are going to need to write a program to exhaustively search for them and toss non-unique possibilities. You will have length classes from 1 to 12 (both trivial classes since only 1 possibility exists) notes and for each, non-trivial class you will have to remove possibilities that have the same interval structure as any others in that class. I have concieved of this idea many years ago. It is a probability question something like: What are the unique combinations of n white and black balls in ring structures whre n takes on the numbers from 1 to 12. The interseting thisg here is the ring structure which causes you to not care about position, thus tossing the non-unique combinations. The Black balls representing the notes you play and the white balls representing the unplayed notes, the circle represents the octave and the fact that C is just C no matter which octave it is played in.
    Last edited by szulc; 02-24-2003 at 04:44 AM.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  3. #3
    The Next big thing the1andonly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    don't worry so much about how many scales they're are, but what you can do with them. and besides, on guitar, once you know the major scale shape, you can play every major scale, every minor scale, and every mode.

    if I were you, I'd focus on learning the major scale and relative mode shapes, and start there. there are endless possibilities in these alone, so work with these for awhile before moving on to other things.

  4. #4
    Registered User Music Lover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Dear members,

    Thank you very much.

    As szulc says I the unique is important.

    I missed that vital point.

    Thank you for your advice.


  5. #5
    Jazz'nRock'nBlues'nFolk.. paularve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Molde, Norway

    Question PS....

    What's the best way of practicing all theese scales? How should I work to get them all down on the fretboard? Is there different ways of approaching them on the guitar?

  6. #6
    i Breathe ... Admin Guni's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Austria & UK

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