15 Minutes That Will Change How You Think About Scales

Cut scales down into tetrachords to make them more digestable and more powerful.

This is a blog post adaptation of the following video:

This video is part of a series called Isn’t Music Theory, where I share some of my ideas about music and how we learn it. I’ve adapted and/or commented on the video for this post. If you’re interested, check out the whole series on the Midnight Oil Collective YouTube channel.

This video is my crash course on scales, and is a great introduction to the kind of music theory that you can hear in songs you love and apply in your own music. In it, I break down scales into four-note groupings called tetrachords, and show you how to practice those in all twelve keys in a non-intimidating way. A special guest, Tawny, shows us how this way of thinking about scales is already baked into the instrument when you’re playing cello or erhu.

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