a scale or a scale is in the music a defined ascend or descending consequence of different tones, which in a musical connection. Generally a scale has the range of a Oktave and repeats itself then again.

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regards one this clay/tone scale as Tonraum, in which a music predominantly moves, then describes itthe clay/tone or also sound material of this music.

Generally however a scale consists of pure, also clean, or harmonious tones, which can be attributed exclusively to a mixture of the own overtones (harmonious ones). Perhaps to the sound area comestill not-harmonious Tongemische, sounds, also dissonante up to the noise in addition.

Generally the Oktave can be divided into as many as desired intervals or tones. Smaller clay/tone steps than the second come for example not only in contemporary music (quarter and Sechsteltonmusik), butalso in antique, historical or non-European music forwards. An example is the Melismatik of the Middle Ages or the Arab and Indian music. Thus a usual theory goes out with the Indonesian Pelogskala from originally 9 tones within the Oktave. See alsothe Ragas of the Indian music with 22 clay/tone steps within the Oktave.

Regarding the scales the abendländische music represents however a special Entwicklungsstufe. The scales are based on 5 or 7 tones within the Oktave. Here becomes between differentTypes of scales differentiated between, which have a same sound characteristic, as for instance diatonische (Dur, Moll) kinds of clay/tone and kinds of church clay/tone. They are defined by certain clay/tone distances (intervals) among themselves and their purchase to its basic clay/tone. Thus exists aboutthe Dur scale from tones in the distance:

Complete clay/tone - complete clay/tone - half-tone - complete clay/tone - complete clay/tone - complete clay/tone - half-tone

small variations, which this definition still permits, are to the appropriate tendency due.

With this definition only something is over thoseFrequency conditions of the tones to each other expressed. One can begin a in such a way defined scale on any clay/tone. By indication of a concrete initial clay/tone (basic clay/tone) a kind of clay/tone becomes such as C major , D major , C-Moll etc. from a scale. (with Dur Tonarten becomein German usually capital letters uses, with Moll Tonarten small letters). The tones, which are contained in the respective scale, are called leader own for this kind of clay/tone.

the kind of clay/tone C major contains the naturals of the western music. The white keys on a keyboard correspond to these:

c - d - e f - g - a - h c
(Die C-Dur-Tonleiter mit deutschen Tonbezeichnungen)

Die zwischen den Ganztonschritten liegenden Halbtöne (durch „-“ gekennzeichnet), denen auf einer Klaviatur die schwarzen Tasten zugeordnet sind, werden als „erhöhte“or „decreased “naturals regarded. In German they (increased) are called cis, this, fis, gis and ais and (decreased), it, ges, as and b (not hes). See in addition however absolutely also anderssprachige clay/tone designations and/or naturals.

In some cultures, butalso historically in music history, scales are used, which do not develop on the diatonischen principle spread in the western culture area and its tendency. An example of it is the Indonesian Gamelanmusik. Thus the kind of clay/tone Slendro consists of five approximately equal largeIntervals per Oktave. Another is the Pythagorei ladder (tendency) the antique music.

examples of scales

figurative one Different scales represent

representation of different scales the following diagrams according to the following pattern figurativy:

The accompanying pattern shows a chromatic scale. The lowest small box represents the basic clay/tone . The small boxes over it are designated the tones of the scale, after their Interval to the basic clay/tone. „The leaders “is to be read thus zigzag. The highest small box represents the same clay/tone as the basic clay/tone, only one Oktave more highly.

The pattern is useful, because one therein half-tone steps, complete clay/tone steps and Hiatus - steps (three half-tone steps) visuallyeasily recognizably to represent can.


Dur (Ionisch)

pure Moll

harmonious Moll

gypsy Moll

of melodisches Moll







complete scale

Dur Pentatonik

Moll Pentatonik

Alterierte scale

decreased scale,
1. Form

decreased scale,
2. Form

Spanish and
Jewish scale
(z. B. Hava Nagila)

gypsy Dur
(Arab scale)

Mi Sheberach

see also

Web on the left of

hearing examples


  • Scala - a professional Freeware program for providing, analyzing and manipulating scales and tendencies

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