For each of the scales listed above, we recommend several exercises to help you improve your knowledge of them.
1. Learn to Recognize Each Scale By Ear
Every scale has a unique sound that sets it apart. One of the most important skills in music is the ability to identify what is being played. If you can identify what scales an artist is using, you will be miles ahead of the competition.
Furthermore, you should be able to translate that ability to different instruments. In other words, If you hear a major scale on a violin, but you only play guitar, you should still be able to determine that what you are hearing is the major scale.
2. Identify How Each Scale Makes You Feel
The basis of all music is that it is supposed to move us. At its core, music is supposed to make us feel a certain way. If music doesn’t excite and entertain our emotions, then that music is worthless. In that respect, all scales have a base emotion attached to them. For example, the major scale is generally regarded as a happy scale. Likewise, the natural minor scale is considered to be a sad, angry, or depressed scale. Of course the emotions I’m using to describe these scales are simplistic, and well-defined. How would you describe a major scale? Hopefully you can more detail than what we have here.
3. Identify Notes That Are Tense or Resolved
Finally, as you listen to the scales presented, try and identify which notes (scale degrees) make you feel tense, and which ones make you feel relief. In other words, which scale degrees in the scale make you feel a sense of stress, inner turmoil, or give you a feeling of baited breath. Likewise, try and identify which scale degrees make you feel at ease, peaceful, and content. Identifying these elements will help you later on when you start to study chord functions.