PART TWO : ACROSS THE STRINGS :
A Major scale consists of one Octave of TWELVE semitones unevenly grouped as follows:
Each note of a scale has been given a name, respectively: TONIC, SUPERTONIC, MEDIANT, SUBDOMINANT, DOMINANT, SUBMEDIANT, LEADING NOTE, and the recurring TONIC at the Octave. At the moment, we’ll only be concerned with the special relationship between the Leading Note and recurring Tonic.
Following the discipline and order of the above intervals, the first position of the guitar’s fingerboard offers TWO OCTAVES:
You will find that a scale which would adhere to the order of tones and semitones given above can only be built from ONE NOTE, the “C”; start on any other note and “something” will seem to be missing:
This scale does not sound “wrong”, but it doesn’t sound “right” either.
Compare the order of tones/semitones between the C and G Major scales; there is one glaring difference: at the end, the semitone between the Leading Note and recurring Tonic of the C Major scale has been substituted in the G Major scale by a WHOLE TONE. This is in contradiction to what our Western ear has been accustomed to expect, and something must be added to “restore” the balance; in this instance, the simplest thing that can be done is to raise the F to bring it “closer” to the G (you can’t lower the G because the Octave would no longer be an Octave); the tool used for this is called an “accidental”; as “raising” is required, it is called a “sharp” (as opposed to a flat); in the following example, using this tool to reduce the gap, we have created a so-called “leading note” which “leads” the ear to the conclusion, or the close, of the scale:
The scales in Part 1 progressed longitudinally (up and down the same string); scales can also progress laterally (across the strings), the fingerings being dictated by the arrangement of tones and semitones (easy to see on the same string even though position shifts confuse the issue, but more difficult when going across the strings). So far, the principle of raising or lowering the pitch by shortening or lengthening a string has been applied; but across the strings, the respective (ascending) intervals between the strings: 4th,4th, 4th, 3rd,4th, must also be taken into account. So, playing an ascending scale across the strings will always require two skills: raising the pitch by shortening the strings, and raising it by using the intervals across the strings offered by the natural tuning of the guitar.
In a scalic progression, the first choice that presents itself is whether or not to use open strings; staying with C Major and starting with the Tonic, C, an immediate option is on offer regarding the Supertonic, D; we can play it “open”, at Position I, on ④, or we can be more adventurous and, using Position II, play it on ⑤; the same will apply when finding the G and B where similar alternatives exist; but what advantage might that have?
Here are two C Major scales, the first at Position I, the second at Position II:
In the second example, at Position II, apart from creating a more homogenous sound across the strings (although that will be open for debate), in playing the scale, a pattern will emerge which can be replicated in ANY position across the board. You will also observe that you could use a barre where finger 1 would, in effect, replicate the nut.
To continue familiarising with aspects of scales, here is the first of five Major scales, preceded by a short preamble designed to “locate” the TONIC in relation to the OPEN STRING on which it is found. When working on this scale (and subsequent ones), THINK, OBSERVE, and LISTEN, respectively:
to the chosen POSITION, the choice of STRING, the INTERVALS played.
Continue to say (or, better still, sing) the name of each note as it is being played. There is no need, at first, to memorise the location of the notes: the principles advocated in the preceding paragraph will, in time, allow the knowledge to “sink in” naturally.
Work slowly ( ≈ Crochet = 80 ) and on no more than ONE scale a day (one tonality); the average time needed to play a scale and its preamble (with repeats) is about 30 seconds, so only five minutes are needed to play them ten times. With all due and infinite respect for Segovia’s advice to practice scales three hours a day, you may find that repeating the procedure two or three times a day may be sufficient.
C MAJOR Scale (with preamble and fingerings):
Once this has been absorbed, continue working on this C Major scale, alternately looking only at the stave, and then only looking at the left hand, thus familiarising alternately with the notes on the score and then with the fingers on the frets in conjunction with the notes on the strings. However, once familiar with the visual aspect of the left hand on the board, try to prioritise keeping your eyes on the score :
Working further on the above, add, ad lib, the alternate use of the barre.
Next : the second of five scales
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.