Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #1119  by Yesterdays gone home
 Wed Oct 13, 2004 1:39 am
There are 12 notes in music:

A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G# or in flat names:
A, Bb, B, Cb, C, Db, D, Eb, F, Gb, G, Ab.

#= Sharpe. b= Flat. E.g- A# = Bb.

A, B, C, D, E, F, G - Natural Notes (White keys on a piano)

The 12 intervals in Key construction are:

1-Root. 2-Minor 2nd. 3-Major 2nd. 4-Minor 3rd. 5-Major 3rd. 6-Perfect 4th. 7-Diminished 5th. 8-Perfect 5th. 9-Minor 6th. 10-Major 6th. 11- Minor 7th. 12-Major 7th (Then back to the root, you have moved an "octave".

The Major Scale might sounds happy whilst the minor will sound sad.

For the Major Scale:
The first chord is always MAJOR
2nd is always MINOR
3rd is always MINOR
4th is always MAJOR
5th is always MAJOR
6th is always MINOR
7th is always DIMINISHED.

The pattern of gaps in the MAJOR scale dictates this. It is:
TTSTTTS or you may see it written this way- WWHWWWH

The pattern for the MINOR scale is this:

Can you notice the connection? The Minor is just starting on the 6th one from the major scale. The first T on minor pattern is the last T in the major pattern.

So for example if you picked a key say A major that would give you the chords of: A, Bm, C#m, D, E, F#m and G#. And like wise those are the notes. Can you see the connection on how that is worked out going back up to all the notes?? Whatever key you start in that is the scale too, they go hand in hand together.

The full pattern of intervals (Gaps) is the same for all major scales:
1-tone. 2-tone. 3-semitone. 4-tone. 5-tone. 6-tone. 7.semitone.

T= Tone. S= Semitone.

T= 1 FRET on the guitar. S= 2 FRETS on the guitar.

To find out the key of a song, take all the notes of the chords or solo, riff etc...and write them all out and take out all the duplicates untill you have all the 7 notes. Then using the method we have talked about find out where all those notes fit within the notes, keep trying them in different place till you have the correct sequence and pattern of gaps, once you have that go to the starting note and that is what key you are in and also what scale the song uses. The notes are as in the notes on the fretboard, you need to learn those so you know what you are playing and where and where you can change to. Also though if you have all the notes like I typed out at the top of this page you can work it out by using the gaps and comparing remembering to move either one fret or two if it S or T.

Try this link and print it off and keep in handy and close by, you can look at it and sit there and learn your scales and keys by getting the memory of where each note sits on the fretboard.

Remember the strings:

E - Thinest string
E - Thickest string

Or another silly way to remember is:


Silly but it helps. There is alot of info on this page. I hope it helps someone. It is a good place to start and it sticks to the rules which for now will be helpful. Please feel free to ask anything about what I have typed out or correct me please if I have slipped up.

Thank you all...