The Architecture of Music

Scales

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Documenting Scale Formulas

documenting scales in binary

Scales are the blueprint for writing music. They are comprised of formulas that define the notes to play within a specific key exactly like chords. Chords are a type of formula in which all the notes are played simultaneously while all the notes of a scale are not typically 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 binary formula 2^11 = 2,048.