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Lesson #6- Scales, Meter, 5ths.
Updated January 4, 2021
First Position E Major Scale:
G String- 1/2/4/6
D string- 1/2/4/6
A String- 2/4/6
E String- 2/4/5/7
Know the root notes- The E note is D2, and of course the open E string
To make it "bluesy", flat the 4th, 6th and 8th. Remember, the root note is always the #1 note in the scale. Make each note clean- no "dead soldiers"!
Notation for the first position B Major Scale-
G String- 1/3/4/6
D String- 1/2/4/6
A String- 1/2/4/6
E String- 2/4/6/7
Know your root notes- The B note is on G4, A2 and E7. Like the E major scale, you can flat the 4th, 6th and 8th to make it more "bluesy".
Practice until you can play the B and E scales smoothly, cleanly and evenly! That's why a metronome is so important. Get into the habit of using a metronome.
The first step in metronome use is to understand time signatures. Time signatures are found at the beginning of a musical piece, after the clef and the key signature. Time signatures (also called meter signatures) consist of two numbers. The top number indicates the number of beats in a measure, while the bottom number corresponds to the value of the beat. Most often, you will see 2, 3, 4 or 6 beats per measure. Beats are commonly half notes (the bottom number of the meter signature is “2”) or quarter notes (“4”) (the bottom number of the meter signature is “4”).
Here are a few common examples:
4/4: 4 quarter beats per measure (common time)
3/4: 3 quarter beats per measure
2/2: 2 half notes per measure (cut time)
The most most common meter is 4/4, which means that there are four beats in a measure. There’s also 3/4 (three beats in a measure), 2/4 (two beats in a measure), 5/4 (five beats in a measure – Mission: Impossible is written in 5/4), and even 6/4 (six beats in a measure). There’s also common time, another way to write 4/4 (it’s written as a C in the place of the numbers). Then there’s cut time, which is the same as 2/2. This means there are two beats in the measure – and each beat is one half note. This effectively makes the tempo twice as fast. Cut time is written as a C with a line through it.
Bruce Bernhart lesson on the Chromatic Scale for Mandolin:
The Chromatic Scale starting on D is: D, D-sharp, E, F, F-sharp, G, G-sharp, A, A-sharp, B, C, C-sharp, D. (If we choose to go down the scale we use flats instead: D, D-flat, C, B, B-flat, A, A-flat, G, G-flat, F, E-flat, D)
Use the three diagrams below for the following scales:
The Chromatic Scale starting on D is: D, D-sharp, E, F, F-sharp, G, G-sharp, A, A-sharp, B, C, C-sharp, D. (If we choose to go down the scale we use flats instead: D, D-flat, C, B, B-flat, A, A-flat, G, G-flat, F, E, E-flat, D).
Next, learn your D scale.
If we start this pattern on the note D (third string, open), we get a D Major scale: D, E, F-sharp, G, A, B, C-sharp, D. W means Whole-step, H means Half-step.
Note the C major scale, using standard notation:
The Pentatonic minor scale
The pentatonic minor scale is a five (5) note scale (penta meaning five like in pentagon, and tonic meaning tone). So a pentatonic scale is a "five tone scale". There are five (5) positions to learn in a pentatonic scale. (If you do not know what a "position" is refer to the terms page.) We will learn all five positions of this scale and where they should be played on your mandolin.
See the next page for more discussion of pentatonics and circle of fifths
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