Music Scales---the Why ?

Very basic question: Are music scales for the purpose of composing any music work using just one particular scale?   But when you add a sharp or flat to some notes, it would be an exception of the scale used, right? So why using a chosen scale?

Not sure if I understand it right.

Also, scales and key signatures correspond to each other? Any key signature corresponds to a certain scale?

Thanks for bearing with me.


Thank you!

About the sharps and flats: I meant the individual ones added in the lines, not the the key signature in the beginning. What I meant was: even though the key signature already has the sharps/flats, sometimes certain individual notes still get sharped or flatted, why is that?----in other words, why not conforming to the key signature/scale already designated (e.g. F major, etc.), since the key signature is supposed to already give you the structure you want?

1 Answer

  • 3 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    The bulk of traditional classical Western music is based on the use of scales.  The key signature indicates what notes will be sharped or flatted in that scale.  This creates a realm of structure and balance that composers use to give their works center, stability, and movement towards other key areas, as well as first establishing the *home base* aurally.  If you listen to very non-tonal works, they might seem to have a random construction - but they too also follow their own sets of rules.  So this is why students are told that they must learn all the scales (fifteen signatures in major which - because of enharmonics - sound like 12 scales) as well as their minor scale counterparts - so that they can PLAY anything previously written in any key, and also get an aural grasp of how to write their OWN works in any key.

    When you were younger, you had to learn the alphabet, and how to read and spell.  You also learned how to count, add, subtract, multiply, divide - and more math beyond that.  Learning scales and keys in music is analogous to that.

    Source(s): Theory teacher for decades.
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