Lesson 1—The Scale
In writing music there are many things to study, as counterpoint, theory, harmony, and rhythm. In the past, when most of our hymns were written, these subjects were more common.
In the next few lessons we will study what the singing schools of our country taught about writing hymns.
In this first lesson we will cover what scales and intervals are. A scale is a series of eight tones made up of certain intervals. An interval is the difference in pitch between tones.
We will look at the C scale to discover a major scale and two kinds of intervals.
The C major scale covers from C to C on the piano.
It has eight tones and is called a major scale, because it has a series of whole and half steps in a certain order.
First, we must discover what are whole and half steps. We can do this by looking at the piano keys. Below are the keys from C to C.
From C to D is one whole step, because there is a black key between C and D. From E to F is a half-step because there is no note between E and F. If there is any black or white key between two notes, the interval is a whole step. If there are no keys between two notes, the interval is a half-step.
Now, we call from C to C on the piano a major scale, because there is a pattern of whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half steps. This pattern is in all the major scales. On the piano keys below find the pattern of w, w, h, w, w, w, h intervals.
Try finding the same pattern of intervals in the G major scale. It is a series of eight tones starting at G and ending at G. Note the G major scale has an F# note in it to make it a major scale.
Find the same pattern of steps in the D major scale. Note that there is an F# and C# to make it a major scale.