The major scale. Anyone who sang in middle school choir or took piano lessons as a kid or loves The Sound of Music knows these syllables well. Composers and song-writers have been employing the notes of this scale to write melodies for hundreds of years. Usually, one arranges the notes in the major scale in a creative order to write a melody. In fact, when the notes are left in ascending or descending order, the listener often hears the scale which gives the melody a sort of silly quality (case in point, “Do-Re-Mi” from The Sound of Music).
However, a few musicians have written some incredibly memorable material using nothing but a simple major scale. I’d like to share with you a few examples I came up with last week!
1. “Hello Goodbye” by the Beatles
The major scale is in the chorus underneath the melody. Paul sings “You say, ‘goodbye,’ but I say, ‘Hello'” then Do-Re-Mi, etc!
2. “Gone” by Ben Folds
This song uses a descending major scale. It comes at the end of the bridge at around the 2:10 mark.
3. Marriage of Figaro Overture by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
This example is also an example of a descending major scale. It comes in after the arpeggiated chords and begins at around the twelve second mark. Do-Ti-La-Sol-Do-Ti-La-Sol-Do-Ti-La-Sol-Fa-Mi-Re-Do. Also, I know this piece borders on cliche, but, my word, it is brilliant. It is just perfect melody after perfect melody. Can anyone beat Mozart? (No is the answer to that question)
4. “Who is this Child?” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
This one is not as subtle as “Hello, Goodbye” or as genius as Mozart, but I freakin love this song. There is an ascending major scale in each verse just before the chorus.
5. “So Many Roads” by Neal Morse
One of my favorite Neal Morse extended tracks, the main theme to this 30 minute masterpiece is nothing but a major scale. The first occurrence of the theme takes place about 35 seconds in and recurs several times throughout.
So, there is a short list of a few fantastic uses of the major scale! I know there are so many more, but I don’t want to wear out my welcome. Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know in the comments section! Have a wonderful week! Enjoy music everyday!