Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Most Important Piano Scales Revealed

There are dozens of piano scales in music. There are major, minor, pentatonic and a whole lot more. There are four important piano scales that every piano player should learn. This article will tell you what those scales are and how to play them.

Half Steps/Whole Steps

To learn how to play piano scales, you must first understand half and whole steps. A half-step is the distance from one note to the very next note. For example, the distance between E and F is a half step. The distance from F to F# is a half step. A whole step is simply two half steps combined. The distances from C to D and G to A are whole steps. In learning how to play the scales, we will refer to half steps with an H and whole steps will be referred to as a W.


Major piano scales are the most common type of scales used in Western music. To play a major scale, you simply start on the root note and use the following formula: W-W-H-W-W-W-H. Using this formula, you will find that the notes of the C major scale are C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C. The notes of the F major scale are F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E-F. You can use this formula to find the major scale of any key.

Natural Minor

Natural minor scales are also the most commonly used piano scales. To play a natural minor scale, you start on the root note and use the formula: W-H-W-W-H-W-W. Using this formula, you will see that the notes of the C natural minor scale are C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb-C. The notes of the F natural minor scale are F-G-Ab-Bb-C-Db-Eb-F.

Melodic Minor

The next set of piano scales to learn is the melodic minor scales. To play a melodic minor scale, you begin on the root note and use the following formula: W-H-W-W-W-W-H. By using the formula, you will see that the notes of the C melodic minor scale are C-D-Eb-F-G-A-B-C. The notes that make up the F melodic minor scale are F-G-Ab-Bb-C-D-E-F.

Harmonic Minor

The last set of piano scales that everyone should know is the harmonic minor scale. The only difference between the harmonic minor and the melodic minor scale is the sixth note. Instead of going up 1 whole step from the fifth note, you are supposed to go up 1 1/2 whole steps (3 half steps). Therefore, the notes that make up the C harmonic minor scale are C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-B-C. The F harmonic minor scale is made up of F-G-Ab-Bb-C-Db-E-F.

These are the most important piano scales to learn. You should pick a key and learn all four scales before moving on to the next key. Soon, you will be able to play all of the piano scales quickly and easily.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Music From The 70's - An Informal Reveiw Of Some Of My Favorites

I have read that the 1970's were a pivotal decade, sending American culture in a new direction. The decade started with the "Smiley Face" stickers and bubblegum music, and took off from there, in several different directions. Here are some of my favorite hits from that decade:

1) "Popcorn"-

This song was music played on the Moog Synthesizer, an instrument that became popular in the late "60's. It was composed by Gershon Kingsley and first released in 1969, although it was the band "Hot Butter" that really made it a hit in 1972. "Hot Butter" was mostly just Stan Free playing the synthesizer. I loved it because it really does sound like popcorn; it's catchy and fun.

2) "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"-

This was originally a South African Zulu folk song, and was made a hit in the U.S. by the Tokens in 1961. It was remade in 1972 by Robert John, which is the version I liked best. It was actually a big hit in South Africa when it was recorded by Solomon Linda in 1939, who had written it based on an experience he had chasing lions who were stalking his family's cows. This is a catchy tune too, although some of the words can be confusing to some people.

3) "Stairway to Heaven"-

This Led Zeppelin song, from 1971, was everyone's favorite in my school. Actually it has been the most requested song ever on FM stations, as well as the most popular sheet music in rock and roll, selling over a million copies. It was written by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, and is eight minutes long. It was never released as a single.

4) "Lady Marmalade"-

This was a song about prostitutes in New Orleans in the French
Quarter (red-light district), and was recorded by Patti Labelle in 1974. It was written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan and became their biggest hit. I couldn't understand a lot of the words but I was thrilled to be able to understand the French ones "Voulez-vouz coucher avec moi, ce soir? (do you want to go to bed with me tonight?)"

5) "I am Woman"-

This song came out in 1972. Helen Reddy wrote lyrics and Ray Burton changed some of them to fit into the music he wrote for it. They were both Australians. Feminism was big in the "70's and this became one of the leading feminist anthems. I found it affirming and exciting.

6) "Riders on the Storm"-

This song, from 1971, was Jim Morrison's last, shortly before his death. The effect of rain in this song was from the electric piano. I think the piano solo was the best part of the whole song, but it was partly cut out to shorten the song for AM radio. This is my favorite song of all time.

The 1970's were good years for music. There was lots of variety, everything from disco to feminist and protest songs, as well as darker, more "adult" songs. . There was music to please everyone. It is unfortunate that this music doesn't get played much any more, except for the really big hits. A lot of lesser-known 1970's music would be great to hear again.

Friday, May 4, 2007

I Need a Life!

I miss people! Okay, now granted that sentence sounds odd as I work at a place where I am surrounded by tons of people all day long, but that doesn't count! Sure, I work with lots of people, and sure, I see my sister at least once most days, and I stop by my parents a couple times a week, but that's not what I miss.

I miss spending time with a good friend in a non work environment. My social life, outside of family members has been lacking somewhat. Heather, Kyle and I went for drinks last week, and that was pretty fun. That is once in 2 months though. Heather and Kyle are both people that I actually want to hang out with outside of work, however they live an hour and a half away from where I live, and our shift end times are 2 hours different. Makes it hard to hang out outside of work too often, which blows pretty hard! On the bright side though, my sister has been talking a fair amount about wanting to move to the town Heather and Kyle live in, so that wouldn't break my heart.

I guess, living with Adrienne I got spoiled. For a while, her and I where working similar shifts, so we'd hang out every night. We'd go for a drink, or we'd just chill out at home and chat.