The Architecture of Music


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Scale Formulas

documenting scales in binary

Scales are the blueprint for writing music. They are comprised of unique formulas that define the notes to play within a specific key exactly like chords. Chord and scale formulas work the same way except all the notes in a chord are played simultaniously and in scales all the notes are typically not all played at once. The key note, similar to the bass note in chord formulas, tells which note to begin the scale’s formula from.

Scale formulas, like chord formulas, can be defined in a few different ways. They can be described using the Whole-Step/Half-Step (W/H) Method (Suspended Pentatonic = W, W+H, W, W+H, W). They can also be described in binary using 1’s and 0’s as well (Suspended Pentatonic = 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1). In fact, all the possible unique scale formulas can be calculated using the simple and elegant binary formula 2^11 = 2,048.