The Architecture of Music

Scales

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The Six Perfect/Symmetrical Scales

Although every mode can be described using scale formulas and interval diagrams, this does little to describe what a scale will sound like. Much like with chords, the LCOF is the best way to dissect the overall sound and P5 intervals of the notes of a scale. As can be seen on the following page, as we progress through scales by analysis via the LCOF (in the same way that we analyzed chords), the six perfect/symmetrical scales are generated.

Some of these scales are very common and are used quite often in music today especially the Dorian, which is a mode of the Major (aka. Ionian) scale. With 2,048 total unique modes and only six being both perfect and symmetrical, we can say these six are rare and important in music, especially due to their very common usage. Five of the six scales are detailed in the scale encyclopedia and should keep you occupied for some time. One could spend their entire musical career exploring just these five scales, but I wouldn’t recommend it. There are just too many other scales out there to explore. And exploring the many scales is a method of exploring music as well as changing your sound and adding complexity to your music.

By learning these scales in a progressive manner, with two harmonically connected notes being added symmetrically about the central note, you will naturally learn how to play up and down the neck of the guitar or use all the notes on the keyboard, playing polytonal scales such as the Symmetrical 11-Tone with relative ease. This is why these scales were selected for this book. As will be seen on the following pages, all other scales can be seen as variations of the six perfect/symmetrical scales, so what you learn from these scales can be applied to playing every other possible scale in existence.

the six perfect symmetrical scales