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Scales, Intervals, Common Chords, Dominant Seventh Chord and Melody Making.

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A Scale or Tone-Ladder is a series or succession of tones arranged in regular order, ascending or descending.
There are many forms of Scales in use, but we have to deal at present with that particular form known as the Major Scale.
The Major Scale consists of eight degrees, arranged as follows: from the 1st to the 2nd degree, and from the 2nd to the 3rd are Whole Steps; from the 3rd to the 4th degree is a Half-Step; from the 4th to the 5th degree, and from the 5th to the 6th, and from the 6th to the 7th are Whole Steps; from the 7th to the 8th degree is a Half-Step. Briefly, for purposes of memorizing, the formula is: the Half-Steps are from 3 to 4 and 7 to 8; all the others are Whole Steps.
Let us turn to the key-board of the Pianoforte, build a Major Scale.
Starting from Middle C, let us
The eight white keys in their natural order, starting from Middle C, are found to produce a Major Scale, according to our formula. Play this scale many times and listen to it closely. The student must always be able to recognize the Major Scale upon hearing it played or sung.
We note that this particular major scale, which we have formed on the white keys, begins and ends on C. Hence we call it the Scale of C Major. To the degree or letter upon which any scale begins and ends we give the name Tonic or Key Note.
We further note that the Major Scale seems to consist of two equal portions. Let me examine:
To these series of four sounds each (arranged in this manner: Whole Step, Whole Step, Half-Step) we apply the term Tetrachord; and we find the Major Scale to consist of two Tetrachords separated by a Whole Step. Any Tone may become the Tonic of a Major scale, or, putting it the other way about, a Major Scale may be formed, beginning on any given Tone.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III