Post a New Question


posted by on .

What are the notes of a scale called?

  • music - ,

    Thank you for using the Jiskha Homework Help Forum. Do you mean the "scale notes?"

    Naming the notes of a scale

    In many musical circumstances, a specific note of the scale will be chosen as the "tonic"--the central and most stable note of the scale. Relative to a choice of tonic, the notes of a scale are often labeled with numbers recording how many scale steps above the tonic they are. For example, the notes of the C diatonic scale (C, D, E, F, G, A, B) can be labeled {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7}, reflecting the choice of C as tonic. The term "scale degree" refers to these numerical labels. In the C diatonic scale, with C chosen as tonic, C is the first scale degree, D is the second scale degree, and so on.

    Note that such labeling requires the choice of a "first" note; hence scale-degree labels are not intrinsic to the scale itself, but rather to its modes. For example, if we choose A as tonic, then we can label the notes of the C diatonic scale using A = 1, B = 2, C = 3, D = 4, and so on. However, the difference between two scale degrees is independent of the choice of scale degree 1. Thus whether two notes are adjacent in a scale, or separated by one note, does not depend on the mode under discussion.

    The scale degrees of the traditional major scale can also be named using the terms tonic, supertonic, mediant, subdominant, dominant, submediant, subtonic. If the subtonic is a semitone away from the tonic, then it is usually called the leading-tone (or leading-note); otherwise the leading-tone refers to the raised subtonic. Also commonly used is the "movable do" solfege naming convention in which each scale degree is given a syllable. In the major scale, the solfege syllables are: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So (or Sol), La, Ti (or Si), Do (or Ut).

    In naming the notes of a scale, it is customary that each scale degree be assigned its own letter name: for example, the A diatonic scale is written A - B - Cò - D - E - Fò - Gò rather than A - B - Dó - D - Fó - Edouble sharp - Gò. However, it is impossible to do this with scales containing more than seven notes.


  • music - ,

    I think Sra forgot to cite her source. :-) It's

Answer This Question

First Name:
School Subject:

Related Questions

More Related Questions

Post a New Question