The Major Scale

A scale is essentially a key. The most common scale is the major scale. Everyone knows the sound of the major scale.

Think Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do.

The easiest and best key to study music in is the key of C, or a C scale. This is because the key of C is the only key whose major scale can be played using only the white keys of a musical keyboard. The black keys are called the flats and sharps. The key of C contains no flats or sharps.

C Major Open String Scale

The first scale we usually learn on the guitar is also the major scale in the key of C. Just below and to the right there are two interactive visualization exercises meant to quickly teach you the C major scale. The animation below is meant to represent the view a player has when looking at his left while playing. Each note is played 3 times.

Now, try the faster paced, and more challenging interactive visualization to the right. Listen to and watch the exercise before attempting to play along.

The Importance Of Melodies

The melody is the part of the song you sing or whistle and are most likely to remember. The melody is the tune, as a student of music you must learn to think melodically.

One of the many things I continuously heard while a music student was that music is melody and melody is music. The great russian composer Igor Stravinsky once wrote that 'melody is everything'. Most notable musicians and composers have said similar things. In order to be a skilled and competent guitarist you must be good at figuring out melodies by ear and also at improvising or writing memorable catchy tunes and melodic fragments.

Relating Melodies To Scales

All scales have a signature sound or a musical personality. The major scale is often described as happy, joyous, tuneful or sweet. It can also sound bright, cheerful or even triumphant and heroic. A melody, which is quite often nothing more that a mixed up or reordered scale, takes on the signature sound or musical personality of its parent scale.

All excellent guitarists are students of melody. It is advisable to make melodic thinking and practicing of melodies part of your practicing routine, just as most of the worlds great guitarists have done. Below you will find two common knowledge melodies for you to play and analyze.

Joy To The World

The opening phrase of Joy To The World is a descending major scale played in their original order. This is called stepwise motion and is the most common type of melodic motion.

Brahms Lullaby

Often a melodic passage can comprised of the notes of a chord played one at a time. called an arpeggio. Brahms lullaby is an example of an arpeggio used to create a melody. to oversimplify, melodies are comprised of bits of chords and bits of scales.

C - A - G - E- D

The five essential major scale are those in the keys of C, A, G, E, & D. These are the keys that appear on THE ULTIMATE GUITAR POSTER and should each be memorized and added to part of your practicing routine. Learn how to figure out common knowledge melodies in each of the 5 essential keys. For a more complete study in the art and science of scale check out my best selling books Guitar Buddy, for teachers and beginning to intermediate players and Guitar Scale Guru for advanced players. If you are a serious student of the guitar I recommend you log on to GUITARU.COM and take my online course called Super Scales which features some great free lessons.

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