A Look at Scales

By Lars Rosager | Music

Dec 09

Picture Many music teachers require their students to practice scales. More often than not, these exercises move from tonic to tonic, ascending first and descending back to the initial note. But this approach to practicing scales is by no means exhaustive.

​I would be surprised if more than half of the beginning music students out there knew that the traditional eight church modes are actually four different modes with two different ranges each. These two ranges are often called authentic and plagal, the former being measured from final to final (tonic to tonic) and the latter from tenor to tenor (or, commonly, what is known as the fifth scale degree).

​Along these lines, one is excited to expand upon the variable range of various scales. For around a year now, I have been practicing scales in such a way that keeps the range flexible, offering fresh new sounds and, hopefully, inspirations for expression through composition. In the sound sample below, I move stepwise down from a tonic-to-tonic range. In other words, the range shifts gradually downward from the tonic, seven, sixth, etc. The tonic is kept as the starting point so as not to imply the various modes of the major scale.

File Size: 882 kb
File Type: mp3

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