The Difference Between Keys & Scales
In this lesson we will discuss the concepts of scales and keys. For anyone who wants to learn to play jazz, blues, or any styles of improvised music, the first step is to understand the concept of scales and keys.
Scales and keys are often interchanged and confused, and so in this lesson we will clearly explain what each term means and how they apply to jazz.
Scales and keys are in some ways similar, but at the same time very different which is why it can be tricky to differentiate between the 2 terms.
What Is A Scale?
A scale can be defined as a series of notes, or a series of pitches. There are many different types of scales, some examples would include major scales, minor scales, pentatonic scales, blues scales, and whole tone scales.
What Is A Key
Keys are built around a specific scale – for example C Major Scale – but when playing in the key of C we are not restricted to just the notes and chords that are derived from that C Major Scale.
If we are playing in the key of C Major, the C major chord, is known as The Tonic or The Home Base. This is the point in which the harmony resolves and rests, and all of the other chords that we play are acting like road signs that eventually point us back to the tonic.
Diatonic 7th Chords & Progressions File Type: pdf
Understand that the terms scales and keys have 2 very different meanings.
Study the notation examples in the lesson and transpose the chord progressions into other keys.
- Remember that scales are not the magic bullet to learn improvisation, for more information watch our improvisation courses.