When we talk about Western1 music, the smallest distance between two notes is the semitone (or ½ tone). This distance is naturally located2 between the notes mi-fa and si-do. Between the other notes (do-re, re-mi, fa-sol, sol-la, la-si) there is always one tone (one tone has 2 semitones), but this can be changed by the musical accidentals 3. These are some symbols located at the left hand side of the note, that change its sound. The musical accidentals that we are going to use are: 1. 2. two. If we put all the notes one beside7 the other so that the distance between them is the semitone (½ tone) we get the chromatic scale that has 12 notes: CHROMATIC SCALE ½ DO 1 DO# o REb 2 ½ RE 3 ½ RE# o MIb 4 ½ MI 5 ½ FA 6 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ LA 10 ½ LA # o SI b 11 ½ SI 12 ½ DO 1 “b” , flat : it lowers4 the sound ½ tone “#”, sharp: it raises5 the sound ½ tone.

There is a third accidental called natural sign6 (

♮ ) used to cancel the effect of the other

FA# SOL# o SOL o SOLb LA b 7 8 9

However, if we order them in a normal scale according to the natural distance between them then we have: 1 DO RE 1 MI ½ 1 FA 1 SOL 1 LA 1 SI ½ DO

This is the structure that all the Major scales have: 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 ½

1 Western: occidental 2 Located: situada 3 Musical accidentals: alteracions musicals 4 Lowers: baixa 5 Raises: puja 6 Natural sign: becaire 7 Beside: al costat


To give another example, if we start the scale from the note RE, do we have the same order? As you can see, it is not so: 1 RE MI ½ FA 1 SOL 1 LA 1 SI ½ DO 1 RE

What can we do to get a Major scale beginning from RE? Look at the chromatic scale and try to choose8 the correct accidentals to get the structure of the Major scale ( 1 1 ½ 111 ½ ). Could you do the same with these scales? Sol M

Fa M


Write down the tones ( | ) or/and the semitones (__) between the following notes: a.




8 Choose: elegeix



An interval is the distance between two notes. This is a sound distance, an therefore 9, is going to be mesured in tones and semitones. The intervals are classified in the following way: - Unison: one note repeated twice. - 2nd : two consecutive notes going up or down. - 3nd : two notes that have another note in the middle. - And so on: 4th , 5th , 6th 7th ,8th ...

Having in account10 that between the notes mi-fa and si-do there is ½ tone we have to distinguish between: minor (2ndm) : between the notes there is 1/2 tone. 2nd Major (2ndM): between the notes there is 1 tone. minor (3rdm): between the notes there are 1 and 1/2 tones. 3rd Major (3rdM): between the notes there are 2 tones. Examples:

Maybe this is easier for you this way: 2ª menor (½ tone) ½ MI FA 2ª Major (1 tone) 1 MI FA#
9 Therefore: per tant 10 Having in account: tenint en compte

3ª menor (1 i ½ tones) ½ 1 MI FA SOL 3ª Major (2 tones) 1 MI RE

1 DO












In our culture there are many kinds of scales, but two of them have had historically much importance than the others: the Major scale and the minor scale , What is a scale? A scale is a succession of correlative sounds from a particular note to the octave, going up or down. All the scales take its name from the firs note, so if the first note is RE its going to be the RE scale, if the first note is SI b it is going to be the SI b scale, and so on11. The difference between the Major and the minor scales is determined by the place where the tones and semitones are located. So we have two scales that we are going to use as a pattern. The other scales are going to be taking these ones as an image. These scales are Do Major and La minor. If we look at the Do Major scale, we can see that the semitones are located between the III and IV notes, and between the VII and VIII notes of the scale (mi-fa and si-do). Between the other notes we have a distance of one tone. This is what makes this scale to be a Major scale. Do Major

In the La minor scale, the semitones will be located between the II and III notes, and betweeen the V and VI notes (si-do and mi-fa), between the other notes there is a distance of one tone. This is the structure of the minor scales La menor

So, when we want a scale that begins with a note that is not Do, we use accidentals in order to modify the distances between the notes and to get the semitones between III-IV notes and VIIVIII notes. For example: Sib Major 1 SIb 1 DO ½ RE 1 MIb 1 FA 1 SOL ½ LA SIb

The same happens12 when we want a minor scale different from La minor. For example: Re menor 1 RE MI ½ 1 FA 1 SOL ½ LA 1 SIb 1 DO RE

11 So on: així successivament 12 Happens: succeeix


Here you are some rules13 to build scales. If you make a scale that doesn't comply with these rules, then it means that it is wrong. Golden rules to build scales: 1. You cannot modify the first, nor the last notes (this note gives the name to the scale, if you modify the note, then you change the scale. If you are asked to write down the sol Major scale and you write a # in front of the first note (sol) it isn't the sol Major scale anymore, it will be the sol # Major scale, so it will be wrong. 2. When you have to put an accidental to any note, put it always to the note at the right. 3. You cannot mix “b” and “#” in the same scale, if you do it the scale is wrong.

____________________________________________________________________ EXERCISES.3
Write down the following scales: a. La Major

b. Mi Major

c. Re Major

d. Fa Menor

e. Si menor

13 Rules: normes, regles


The term chord is linked14 to the term harmony, since harmony is precisely this: chords. A chord are several15 notes that sound simultaneously. To get a triad chord we have to put three notes one over the other. The basic note will be at the bottom, and then two more notes at a distance of a third and a fifth, so it is formed by two intervals of a 3rd . For example:

The most important chords in a scale and also16 in a composition are these: Tònic: I degree17 (or 1st note of the scale). Dominant: V degree (5th note) Subdominant: IV degree (4th note). The chords can also be Major (M) or minor (m). The Major chords are those where the first 3 is Major. In the minor chords the first 3rd is minor. Exemples:

Major chords

minor chords

A chord can have the notes ordered or disordered, but since the note at the bottom is the note that gives the name to the chord, we have to know which one is this note, so we have to put them in order to know which chord it is. Examples:

a. Write the following Major and minor chords as requested: Do M La m re Fa m si M

sol m

mi m

La M

si m

fa M

14 Linked: unit 15 Several: vàries 16 Also: també 17 Degree: grau


b. The notes of these chords are disordered. Put them in order and say which is the chord.

c. Which is the tonic, the subdominant and the dominant note of the following scales. CHORD Do M Re m Fa M Sib m La b M Do m Fa m Mi M Si m Sol m TONIC SUBDOMINANT DOMINANT


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