Insight 4: Melody and Major Scales

Today I want to discuss melody and give you a quick way of finding notes within a Major Scale.  In our first video we defined melody as being a series of individual notes that are grouped together to form phrases.  The notes that we use to form melodies are chosen from a group of 7 specific notes that belong to the key of whatever song we are playing.  Let’s use the the song Brown Eyed Girl that we used last week to examine melody.  That first vocal melody is a certain combination of notes from the key of the song, the key of C Major.  If we assign each note in the Major scale with a number than the melody looks something like this:

5 4 3 4 5    3 2 1 2 3

Every vocal line in the song uses some combination of the 7 notes from the key to form different phrases that make up the melody throughout the song.  As a matter of fact, everything that happens within that song, chords and melodies, is made from different combinations of those 7 different notes.  We refer to this set of notes as a scale and practicing our scales is really important for knowing where these notes are found on our fretboard.  As we move through the scale each note has a specific distance, or interval, between them.  This pattern of intervals is the formula that we use to create a Major scale.  Let’s think of these of these intervals in terms of whole steps and half steps and on the ukulele one 1/2 step is equal to 1 fret. Now the distances are as follows:

w w h w w w h

We show each note in the scale with a number so our formula looks like this:

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  1 w w h w w w h

Let’s learn a quick hand shape that we can use to find a M scale starting from any note on the fretboard. Start with your pointer finger on any note than make the whole step to your middle finger, whole step to your ring finger, then a half-step to your pinkie.  Now we slide the pointer finger a whole step above our pinkie than repeat the whole pattern.  Easy right?  Now you can move this pattern to any position on the fretboard and what you will end up with is a Major scale of whatever note we started with.