Tips :: Finding the scale of the song through melody/tabs

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons, Tutorials & Tips' started by amit82cse, Feb 25, 2006.

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  1. amit82cse

    amit82cse Silent observeR

    Lot of us can play decent melody of any song using just tabs and if you have to tell or find what is the scale you are using/playing then its a harculian task if you have not memorized all the scales with their fret notes positions.

    Since its very hard to memorize the complete fret board for beginners, I am starting a series of "Tips" that will help all of us to quickly say the scale we are using while playing melody or tabs.

    I also faced the same problem that resulted me studying fret and scale more closely. Following tips are based on the same observations.

    Tip-1: Major Scale - Missing Fret

    Lets say you are playing some melody using frets 7,8,9 and 10. You must be using 2 to 3 strings for first couple of lines. During this if you observe that you dont play any single note on one particular fret (out of 7,8,9,10) throughout the song then this information will help you identifying the scale you are playing.

    Following are first two lines of the song from "Kisna"
    Hum hai is pal yahan, jaane phir ho kaha

    As you can see that in-between fret 9 is never being used.

    I have observed that there is one to one relationship between missing fret and major scale. Here is the list:

    It means that in above example where we are missing fret-9, is actually on scale A# or Bb.

    Home Work:
    Get hold of some known song with known Major Only Scale. For that scale find out the missing fret from above list. Play the melody around this fret and you will see that above observation is really true.

    Since any scale can be played throughout the fret board, it is possible for you to find the scale of any given song quickly.
  2. amit82cse

    amit82cse Silent observeR

    Now next tip is on how will you remember the following table?

    Very simple. Use bar chords. For any bar chord 'X' if the largest number of fret used is 'N' then the scale for that 'X' will not use fret 'N+1'.

    Example: Play G as bar chord. You will use frets 3,4,5. And hence largest fret used is 5, it means 5+1 = 6th fret will not be used in scale G. Match this observation with above table and you will find that its true again.
  3. amit82cse

    amit82cse Silent observeR

  4. faraz khan

    faraz khan Fkay'zzz .......GoNe MaD!

    hey i have added reps for this !!

    what bout aadat this would be a much common example so please tell through it !!
  5. faraz khan

    faraz khan Fkay'zzz .......GoNe MaD!

    hey common reply!!
  6. amit82cse

    amit82cse Silent observeR

    hey faraz...

    thanks for your reps...

    It would really be very good to explain it using Aadat song.

    I will give it a shot..but it will be amazing if you can try that out and post the results. That will be awesome!!!
  7. sachoo

    sachoo drenched in my pain again

    Hey Amit, this is really nice lesson to understand scales but a quick question -why not a# after a. As i observed from ear n a logic (tone, semi tone formula) that we do miss half note in some instances (i.e. missing a single fret), however what exactly is that thru which we can identify a scale, say scale for G major.

  8. amit82cse

    amit82cse Silent observeR

    Through Theory....

    Major scales have a pattern of intervals between successive notes. Hence starting from root note G and using this pattern you can find all the notes of this scale and while playing it on guitar if you can easily recollect them and can find them on what you are playing then WOW its so simple...
  9. sachoo

    sachoo drenched in my pain again

    i mean yeah ..tht's righ.. to get the root note (for any major or minor).. n then find out the sound of sa re ga ma.. correct
  10. sixstringsin

    sixstringsin ||||||

    Amit, ur observation is very interesting and i could successfully find the scales
    of some songs... however, using this i tried to find the scale
    for the song 'tere bin jeena nahin' . I used the frets 0 (open string), 1,2 3 and 4 for the melody of the song. I need some help here! Now maybe ur theory needs some 'extrapolation' or maybe im going wrong somewhere. My concern with ur theory is:
    What if the tabs are played on frets 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4?
    ..which fret should be considered as the missin fret in this case? As far as i know this song is in C major scale (or maybe also sound fine in C# or D major)

    Tab 1 (melody played over multiple strings)


    tere bin jeena nahin


    O meri jaane wafa

    Again I tabbed this song on a single *string* (the D string) and heres'
    how it looks:

    Tab2 (melody played on a single string)

    [[Here the missin frets = 4, 6, 8 which implies the song could be in
    F, G or A scale, which does not seem to be the case. :( ]]


    Tere bin jeena nahi


    O meri jaane wafa

    Tradiotanally, my way of finding scale of a song is based on finding the semitones that occur together in the melody. And i dont know of enough validations from music theory to support it! ..perhaps mine is the same approach as matching the notes of the song with the notes of a major scale. The only thing I assume is that all the major scales when played
    will sound 'sa re ga ma pa dha ni sa' (perahps also what sachoo was mentioning above)
    ... will be great if you could comment on it/validate it.

    My method is:

    i) tab the song as far as possible on a *single string*
    ii) Notice where the notes occur on consecutive frets
    (remeber i'm using only a single string)
    iii) Now the consicutive notes in a major scale can either be
    ga ma or ni sa. (analogous to BC and EF notes)
    <perhaps this is easier way than actually knowing the notes on each string>

    iv) Assume one such consicutive pair of notes as 'ni sa' and travel up the
    string to find a note that sounds as the 'sa' keeping in mind that the ni
    sa will occur on those two notes that we found in step ii).

    v)The note on the fretboard corrosponding to this sa will be the scale.

    vi) If the selected scale does not sound appropriate, reconsider the assumption of
    the consecutive notes as 'ga ma' (instead of 'ni sa') to find the other sa.

    For example, in the one string melody above, the consicutive frtes
    that occur are:
    2 and 3
    9 and 10

    so on a single string, the 2 and 3 could be 'ga ma' or 2 and 3 could be 'ni sa'.
    Now forgetting about the song im tabbing i play sa re ga ma pa dha ni sa by
    including the consecutive notes that i found in step ii) ..with the intention to
    find out where the sa is (not the thin sa but the thick one :) )
    so i play ga ma on 2nd and 3rd fret respectively and play, pa on 5th and dha on 7th and ni sa on 9th and 10th frets respecitvely. Now I play ni sa dha pa ma ga re *sa* to find that sa.

    My sa comes on the A string on the 3rd fret which is the C note, so the
    song is in C scale. I try the chords in C scale for the song and the scale looks fine!

    I think i understood ur approach well so i could find scales of
    other songs but will be sooooo glad if u could comment on findling
    the scale of this song based on the missing fret approach.

    and thanks a bunch for yet another interesting article!
    i owe u infinite reps. :)
    vini and amit82cse like this.
  11. faraz khan

    faraz khan Fkay'zzz .......GoNe MaD!

    cant get this !
    can U be more clear!
  12. amit82cse

    amit82cse Silent observeR

    @sixstringsin .. I am impressed that you have done so much research on it .. reps on your way ..

    I dont have guitar with me as of now, will try it in detail at home in night and will let you know ..

    But a quick question ..

    Can you play the melody of the song "tere bin jeena nahin" on following 4 frets either [3,4,5,6] or [4,5,6,7]

    I believe that its possible to play this melody on one of the above set and If this song is really on scale C then fret-5 should be missing in your melody.

    Try this out and let me know..
  13. sixstringsin

    sixstringsin ||||||

    yeah ..i'll post the tabs betwn 3-7 frets later in office now ;)

    thanks :)
  14. madhuresh

    madhuresh madhuresh

    great work yaar
    bahuut jarrot hai iss ki
    onse we get the scale phir its easy to figute out the chords....therwise waht i use to do is to get hang of one prominent chord and then permutation combination for the following pattern..
  15. sixstringsin

    sixstringsin ||||||

    could'nt really restrict to the frets u mentioned :('s what i could do:


    Tere bin jeena nahi


    O meri jaane wafa

    missing fret = one fret = fret 6 :grin:
  16. sixstringsin

    sixstringsin ||||||

    im confused with that^ ... from the table u gave its: F#-5
    so doesnt that imply that if the 5th fret is the missing one then the scale should be F#?? Plleeeease clarify!
    from ur example of the song 'hum hai is pal yahan' the 9th fret was missing from the table: A#-9 it was A# scale rite ? ... should'nt 5th fret missing be F# scale then?
  17. amit82cse

    amit82cse Silent observeR

    Yes fret-5 means F# scale.

    let me try playing this song. can you send me song info (film name etc) also if you have chords then it will help validating the observations.

    One quick check that you can do is as follow:
    1. What you have tabbed, convert them into notes like A B C# etc
    2. Write down notes in C scale
    3. Do they match?

    For C scale I would try to play this song on frets[9,10,11,12] or [10,11,12,13]
  18. amit82cse

    amit82cse Silent observeR

    Someone has posted tabs and chords for the song

    "Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaaye"

    And they compliant to my theory.

    Take a look at the following thread..

    [thread=4895]Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaaye Chords & Tabs Full Song ... My 1st post :)[/thread]

    Notice the missing fret....
  19. amit82cse

    amit82cse Silent observeR

    Tip 2 : From a major scale name how to find the chords

    Once you play melody and find out that particular song on say X major scale then next obvious question is what chords should I try to get hang of this song.

    Well here is the little theory and observation.

    From the note X, write down its completes scales' notes. For this just remember the following formula:

    w w h w w w

    Above represents the gap between the notes present in any major scale. How to remember the position of only single 'h', simple..Scale has 7 notes, which are separated by 6 gaps, half of 6 is 3 which is the position of only 'h' in major scale.

    So for G scale, notes have to be: G A B C D E F#

    Now for finding the chords in a task on major scale X is to try playing chords formed by the notes present in the major scale X.

    Again here is quick formula that will help you generating the chords for a major scale:

    major minor minor major major minor deminished

    1 2 2 1 -

    Since its a major scale you always start from major chord, next there will be 2 minor chords then again 2 major chords and in the last 1 deminished chord.

    So for major scale G, chords have to be: G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em, F#deminished

    Once this process is setup clearly in your mind, you dont have to do any paper lookup work.

    So, if i have to summarize how to find chords in unknown song, here are steps:

    1. Play its melody and find its scale using missing fret tip
    2. Take notes of this scale using tip w w h w w w
    3. Play chords for this scale using tip M m m M M m d
    4. Hear the song clearly, use your ear at max and tab the song for ITG :)
  20. amit82cse

    amit82cse Silent observeR

    Having problem with remembering 1221- style. Associate it with Nokia phone. Yup..Nokia -1221

    See the pic...

    Attached Files:

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