Asked • 06/26/19

Are you still playing a scale if you don't include every note in said scale?

For instance, if you're playing C major, and instead of playing C D E F G A B, you play C D E F G A, or C D E F G, would that still be considered playing in that scale or key? Because I doubt that most music literally just repeats the exact notes found in a certain scale over and over again to create a melody, otherwise most music would sound the same, right? It seems like when someone comments a scale or key that a song is in, the notes usually aren't perfectly arranged in the way that you'd expect that scale to be in. Like, there will be other notes interspersed in that aren't part of that scale, but it is still considered in that scale or key. Also, what if multiple instruments are playing simultaneously? Would you judge the melody's scale by each instrument, i.e. the guitar is in C, the bass is in Gb, etc., or do you judge it by the simultaneous notes just as they appear? Because that seems like it would be incredibly confusing and hard to analyze, and I don't think you'd be able to really judge its scales unless the instruments were playing similar notes or something. I'm sorry if these are stupid questions but I'm having a difficult time understanding scales and keys as a beginner.

2 Answers By Expert Tutors

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Diego C. answered • 06/27/19

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New to Wyzant

Tutor in Spanish and Music

Allison H. answered • 06/26/19

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Music theory, fiction writing, and piano tutor

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