Quick Q on Scales

(We really need a tutorial on scales / theory tbh)

I was just wondering, if i’m playing something in the F# scale for instance, a G# will sound fine because G# is in the F# scale right?

My question is this, phonetically does this mean i can only then play keys that are in the F# major and minor scales and nothing else otherwise it’s likely to sound out of key? Is there any special instances where this doesn’t apply?

At first glance it looks limited?

Sorry i’m trying to fully understand all this.


You should go download a mini program or widget that you can run and you can keep a reference of key and scales of what music sound you are creating. If you are creating in F#, a G# might sound good OR bad…WHY? Because it depends if it is Major, Minor, Harmonic Minor, Melodic Minor, Neapolitan, Major Pentatonic, Minor Pentatonic, Diminished, Augmented, Whole Tone, etc. etc. Getting a reference like this will help you stay on key for everything you are making. Many songs are created in Major, Minor, and Harmonic Minor, so if you stay there, you will be ok.:smiley:

BTW, Krome mentioned Nut Chords. Its not for Mac, but it is free so you should check it out. Looks solid.

[quote]howiegroove (10/23/2009)[hr]Harmonic Minor, Melodic Minor, Neapolitan, Major Pentatonic, Minor Pentatonic, Diminished, Augmented, Whole Tone, etc. etc. [/quote]

F*CK ME!!! And there was me just about getting my head around major and minors!!!

:frowning: :frowning: :frowning: :frowning:

What program is this you talk about? Do you play a sound and it then tells you what key it’s in or something or what???

I have so far been using faderpro’s tip on finding the root key.

I am no expert Ruben but here’s my take on it.

Sonically speaking anything goes in modern music, there’s no reason why you can’t play an G# its cool coz its part of the F# major scale …it may or not sound dissonant. (clash) it just depends on the context and the chords/bass notes you

play with it.

But for simplicity just say you decide on the F# major scale as your starting point for your tune.

Each scale has chords built on it.

here’s the F# Major chords (triads). Note that the root notes of each chord is the same as the F# major scale.

All of the above chords played in a certain way can sound pleasing.

Think of these chords as your starting formula. Just 3 notes per chord (triad)


(F#,A#,C#) Notes in chord


(G#,B,D#) Notes in chord


(A#,C#,E#) Notes in chord


(B,D#,F#) Notes in chord


(C#,E#,G#) Notes in chord


(D#,F#,A#) Notes in chord

7=E# or F Diminished

(F,G#,B) Notes in chord

Most pop tunes only use a few or more chords from their selected scale.

So lets use that type of formulaic approach.

Have you ever heard of the I,4,5,1 progression used in a lot of rock?

Here’s the basic idea in your chosen F# major scale.

Start with F#maj play the chord x amount of times to a steady rhythm . (follow it with)

Bmaj play that x amount of times (follow it with)

C#maj play it x amount of times.

Then go back to the F#maj

etc pretty boring I know but its a start.

for a melody you could start using chord tones (notes in the chord) when you

play F# Major chord use F#,A#,C# (experiment with note order,duration, rhythms etc) and to spice it up use a couple of passing notes from the scale. Your choice.

if you wanna really spice it up use colour tones from outside the scale but again be careful.

i think the key is to make the rhythms interesting that can make a huge difference.

To continue the melody when you change to the Bmaj chord

play its chord tones B,D#,F# and passing notes etc.

and then C#maj chord C#,E#,G#…the same routine as above.

At which point you should have a solid coherent tune.

There’s more progression formulas. Loads !!!

Also each scale has lots of different chords that can be built from them too as howie mentioned.

so things aren’t as limited as you may think with just one chosen scale.

I wanted to keep things simple honestly :smiley:

o… k



I’m really not very good at trying to understand music through text words.

Is there any videos on this??

Yeah understood Roben,

sorry I couldn’t get the msg across but I am lousy at explaining things …I really am.

I think a Sonic tutorial would sort it and I have mentioned this before. i am just not the dude. lol

in the meanwhile if you wanna learn the very basics and it will take time (worth the pain in the end when it all rushes in)

check this weird but useful set of youtube primers. Just follow at your own pace.

[url]How to play piano: The basics, Piano Lesson #1 - YouTube

[quote]roben (10/23/2009)[hr]I’m really not very good at trying to understand music through text words.

Is there any videos on this??[/quote]

hey bud…here is a really good one for you!!!

[url]http://tinyurl.com/yh65ox3[/url] :wink:


Here is another one, although its not a video…

Cheers guys! I’ll have a look at those.

“Sometimes we spend hours, days, even months, struggling to find the perfect chord progression to suit the lyrics we’ve written. And then we find it, only to get bored sick of the same chords being repeated over, and over, and over again.”

Apart from it not being for ‘lyrics’, this is pretty much exactly my issue! lol.

I know once i get an understanding of theory, chordes and scales it will up my game 10 fold. I’m also trying to learn again how to play keyboard.

Thats the way forward Roben!!!

it’ll up your game for sure.


I find that if you make interesting sounds, you wont get bored as easily or as quick. Also, if your workflow speeds up (which will come with time), you will find that you make something and move on and you dont have to hear the sound over, and over, and over, and over.


Honestly - this was my favorite part of the Trance series. I particularly liked how some famous progressions were deconstructed so clearly. Great job on that one…

Hopefully we will see more of these in the future.

Been working my way through this book recently and finding it pretty helpful.

i’ve recently started spending about 1 hour a day trying to do some kind of music theory

Hi All,

I wanted to share some on-line sources that have helped me with melody and such. Here you go:


How To Draw MIDI Chords (The Ultimate Guide)

Music Education Resources - SYNTH ZONE

And here are a couple of books well worth the mulla:



Hope you find these useful.


The Trance tutorial has a section on chords and it includes the corresponding scale. It helped me. also Krome’s primer was very good as well.

Guys can you help me, which do you think would be the better purchase?

Music Theory for Dummies



The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Theory, 2nd Edition


Hey bro, both are equally good as I spent some time looking through both in the book store, but I chose “The idiots guide” because it had (IMO) a better layout and easier to read descriptions. Happy learning!