Scales in music are a combination of notes that are connected musically and are used to build other essential elements of creating melodious music. Scales are associated with certain keys and these scales are used in different combinations and relationships to create chords. Scales include notes and more precisely it is a collection of notes that are played one after another. Recognition of different types of scales would enable you to play music more effortlessly. Not only that but understanding of these scales would help you in creating your own compositions on piano.
Why we need to learn scales?
Piano scales are important to learn. Understanding and knowledge of these scales makes playing piano much easier and at the same time improves your piano playing technique. Scales are combined in a certain format that they create a relationship that sounds beautifully well on piano. Learning scales makes a good foundation for anyone who wants to learn and improve at playing piano. Some of you who are new to this instrument may feel that learning this theory would be boring and dull but even if it sounds dull stuff it is completely worth it if you are really interested in learning piano. Some of the benefits that learning scales would give pianists include:
- Learning scales gives you freedom and expressiveness. It makes you more creative with tone and music.
- It helps you in exploring new possibilities with piano music.
- It gives you stronger understanding of music.
- Learning piano scales gives you much clearer understanding of chords.
- It will aid you in making your own musical compositions.
- It enhances concentration of your fingers on keys. Thus it improves your fingering awareness and gives your fingers more strength.
- It also build your wrist muscles and prepares you for prolonged practices and performances.
- It also improves your ability to read and memorize music.
- Piano scales are vast and you can spend hours in practicing different types of scales.
- It gives you more confidence to play piano with knowledge of these melodic concepts and thus you can play more comfortably.
Popular Types of Scales:
Similar to different musical styles, there are variations with scales too. Your focus on certain scales could be determined by exactly what kind of music interests you. We are sharing here some of the popular types of scales that are commonly advised as good to learn.
Some of the most common types of scales include:
- Major scales
- Minor scales
- Chromatic scales
- Blues scales and
- Pentatonic scales
Major Scales: Major scales are the most popular types of scales in piano music. Learning these scales is important and there are 12 major scales in music that a beginner can learn and explore music. These scales make way for basic understanding on keys of piano. If for example a pianist plays a song in A Major, it means that that song is played in A scale.
Minor Scales: Minor scales are in some way similar to their major scales as they have exactly same notes as their relative major scale and thus making them relative keys. These are constructed from their major scales and thus there are twelve minor scales. Minor scales are other popular scales that a beginner piano player must learn.
Chromatic Scales: These are the easiest set of scales to remember and these scales include 12 notes with each one of them at a semitone distance. While practicing these scales, you simply go from one key to another and thus chromatic scales thus serve as a good fingering exercise for beginners and pro piano players. For example a chromatic scale in the key of C would include all the notes starting from C and ending at C.
Blues Scales: These are actually regular pentatonic scales to which a blue note is added. These scales are obviously used for playing piano blues. More common blues scales are minor ones. Blues can be improvised very well in minor scales.
Pentatonic Scales: Most popular and commonly used in a variety of musical styles are pentatonic scales both major and minor. In this case too, more commonly used are minor scales. This type of scale has five notes for each octave. Although there will be no semitones. This scale is also termed as a five-tone scale.
How to practice scales on piano?
Practice scales with a real goal if you want to achieve success with understanding and learning scales on piano. Practicing scales is a technical exercise that one should do repeatedly but with some variations. Here are some important tips and tricks that would aid you in practicing scales on piano:
- Begin with 12 major scales on piano.
- Practice with independent use of fingers and hands separately.
- Practice playing each scale and say each note loud.
- Practice same scale again and now practice with saying intervals too.
- Focus on knowing the notes of each scale.
- Do not try to learn everything at one but begin with one scale each day or each week.
- Learn one scale and when you are confident about that scale, move on to the next one.
- If you want to learn all the scales together, make sure you arrange those scales and learn them in different sessions of a few minutes dedicated to each one of them.
- Practice scales at a lower tempo and then gradually increase the speed once you have learnt them well.
- Remember that practicing scales is all about fingering and movements along with recognition of patterns of notes on scale.
- Once you know all these aspects of basic scales, begin making variations.
- Play scales beginning on a different note while keeping fingering same.
- Now try and see if you can play scales randomly.
- Once you have achieved that, you can begin working with both hands on these scales.
- Go slow when you join both hands together for playing scales as it would be difficult.
- When you think you have practiced enough and have gained good hands co-ordination, try to make a connection between these scales that you are practicing and the musical pieces that you play.
- Practice scales in the rhythm or pattern of your musical piece.
- Similar tips should be followed for minor scales and so on so forth for other different types of scales too.