So scales are actually useful…
- The whole point of all of this is to be able to measure what is going on in a song. (It helps you hit pitches better, learn complicated parts of melodies more accurately and understand how to harmonise properly)
- You can only measure what’s going on if you have a fixed starting point.
- The ‘home tonic feeling’ of the tune is always the fixed start point.
- We use a ruler with 7 steps (do re mi fa so la ti) and we always position the ruler so it starts on the ‘home feeling’ of the tune.
- If you find the home feeling in a song, and ‘do re mi fa so la ti’ from there, you’ve just found all the notes that are going to be used in the song.
So two most important skills:
1: To be able to feel the tonic (home) of whatever you’re singing
2: To know the feelings of all 7 steps of the ladder off by heart.
1: To practise feeling the 1 home note
You just practise doing it with random snippets of songs. Eg,
- Sing the line “old mcdonald had a farm”
- Hold the note for ‘farm’
- Then let that note slide up or down until you feel the tonic.
Do the same exercise with the line “I see your true colours, shining through”. Hold the note for ‘through’, and then feel your way home.
Do it with as many songs as you can. Use the list of songs in the app to help think of songs to try.
2: To learn how the 7 intervals feel –
You can learn a phrase from famous songs as a reference for each interval. Soon you won’t need the reference to get to a note, you’ll just know the feelings.
The exercise is:
Sing “ooh” 1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1 5 1 which grounds you to a tonic.
Then sing the song reference phrases and get used to the feeling each one against the tonic.
(you can also do this with the app, and keep tapping the tonic note as you sing each interval, which gets you more used to the interval feeling)
Below are some references for major and minor scales. Don’t worry about minor for now, just concentrate on major.