Each key on the keyboard represents what we call a half step. if you play the adjacent key (above or below the key you just played) you have moved another half step.  I am not very good at math, but fortunately the math is simple and two halves equal one whole.  So if you start with any note twelve consecutive notes you will have reached the octave.  (The first note we will call the Root.  12 half steps above that root note is the same note but an octave higher when adding notes to the right and lower when adding notes on the left) Here we have all 12 notes as referenced earlier.  After this they will repeat again and again.

There is a lot of music theory out there and it seems to scare most people into thinking this is going to be work and not play.  There is always some learning or practice involved, but it can still be fun.

Out of the 12 half steps in each octave, most scales will include only 7 notes (8 including the octave).  When using the keyboard as an example it is visually easier to use the white keys and this happens to be the Key of C for the piano.  If you play the C note, and then play each consecutive white note and ignoring the black keys, you are playing the C Major scale.  This is not very mysterious once you know the pattern.  A simple count of each note played and the notes ignored gives us the pattern that can be applied to every scale.  When finished, all we will have to remember to figure out other scales is the pattern;

Two/Half, Three/Half

In slightly more detail, two Whole notes, then one Half note, followed by three Whole notes then one Half.

In the Key of C, the Root note is the lower C.  Move two half steps up (or one whole note) and you have D.  Two more half steps up and you have E.  ( —– no black key here, so we move up a half step to F.  (That is the first part represented by two Whole notes then one Half note—-).  now move up two half notes and you have G, two more and you have A, two more and you have B.  (—– no black key here, so we move a half step to C or the Octave.  (That represents the Whole – Whole  -Whole – Half portion)

C D E F G A B C                                                                                                                                                                                      1  2  3 4 5 6 7 1     These notes are The Safe Seven in the Key of C Major

So to find any major scale, start with the Root note, go up a whole step, up a whole step and up a half, then up a Whole, up a Whole up a Whole and up a Half step and you have arrived at the octave.  This is the Major scale and there are others, but they all start here.  For those of us that had music lessons in school or “The Sound of Music” fans, this will be familiar as the Do Re Me song we learned.  You can reverse the process when moving toward the lower octave.

Remember the saying practice makes perfect?

WRONG!  Only PERFECT practice makes perfect.  Focus on position and form at first and work on speed later.

Play with this for a while and I will be back with more!

  1. rogerfiddler says:

    Looking forward to more posts in this vein. Right now I’m not quite sure what to focus on when practicing piano.

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      I can help focus on things that will help in future posts as well. I will detail the use of scales and chord construction as well as timing and chord progression. If you give me an idea what you are currently doing and what you want to accomplish, I can offer more details for you. The fact that you are practicing is important! I will be glad to help.


  2. Mark Hahn says:

    Nice! I guess I think more in terms of the Pentatonic Scale (safest 5?) and then maybe add to it for blue notes or bring it up to a Major scale! Look forward to more posts like this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Guitar players in particular have a tendency to grab onto the Pentatonic as the guitar lends itself easily to identifying and employing the safest 5! (I like that!). Like the piano is good at visually demonstrating the C Major scale, guitars are great at demonstrating E, and the structure of ‘stacking the strings’ makes Pentatonic scales quite accessible. I like your perspective, and appreciate your comment. It is really exciting to see a simple statement or observation open up entirely new areas of understanding. Please continue to post as well, and we will all benefit!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. […] Mysterious Twelve is represented this way in the chart above. Starting with zero would change the Safe Seven […]


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