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Topic: Which octave to construct scales on?  (Read 675 times)

Offline stevieresh

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Which octave to construct scales on?
on: August 12, 2020, 01:39:57 PM
Hi all

When constructing a scale on a staff, is there a rule as to what octave it should start on?

I'm currently working on ABRSM theory grade 2. There is a question to plot the D harmonic scale descending on the bass clef. I placed the first note (D) above the staff, one additional line drawn. According to the answer i should have started it on the middle D of the staff instead.

I'm assuming that i would have been marked as wrong for plotting it along a different octave, even if the notes and accidentals were correct.

So- any rules / systems that exist?

Cheers!

Offline 1piano4joe

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Re: Which octave to construct scales on?
Reply #1 on: August 12, 2020, 03:38:07 PM
Hi stevieresh,

Here is a YouTube video on it. At 15 minutes they construct the d minor descending harmonic minor scale starting one ledger line above.




I don't think it should matter since if you started in the middle of the bass clef you would need to add one ledger line below the staff.

However, ABRSM does have rules and I'm not familiar with all of them. The scales have to follow a rhythm, you must use accidentals, brackets, etc.

I hope I have been helpful, Joe.



Offline j_tour

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Re: Which octave to construct scales on?
Reply #2 on: August 12, 2020, 03:39:57 PM
I've never heard of any other way than to write it legibly.

How many octaves? 

If it's more than one, depending on the key, then whatever ABRSM chooses seems a bit arbitrary.  You'll have 8va/8vb or ledger lines all over the place, or both.

Sounds strange as a "rule."

No, I'm not aware of any rule in actual music engraving, like you'd find in a professionally engraved text, but I could be very well wrong.
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Offline quantum

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Re: Which octave to construct scales on?
Reply #3 on: August 12, 2020, 10:12:49 PM
This would be more a matter of house rules, and what the ABRSM examinations require.  Different examination systems may have their own way of stipulating how the response to a question is to be written out.  I would recommend looking at worked out examples, and past examinations for clarity on how the preferred fashion for the answers is formulated.

It is not so much about generally accepted rules or systems, but rather what the exam board wants to see.  There are many ways to write out a scale and be theoretically correct. 
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Offline stevieresh

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Re: Which octave to construct scales on?
Reply #4 on: August 13, 2020, 09:20:30 AM
Thanks all

I watch a lot of videos by that lady. She's good and to the point.

Offline volcanoadam

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Re: Which octave to construct scales on?
Reply #5 on: August 14, 2020, 06:52:03 PM
ABRSM tests have specific descriptions, so if it doesn't say where to start, you start where it suits you best, for as long as you answer the question correctly. There isn't many scales that do not require drawing ledger lines but it's much easier and quicker to use as few ledger lines as possible and time always matters in any tests.
VA

Offline keypeg

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Re: Which octave to construct scales on?
Reply #6 on: August 15, 2020, 12:45:14 PM
According to the answer i should have started it on the middle D of the staff instead.
Are you sure that the answer indicates what you "should have" done / that you did it wrong?  Just because an answer illustrates a specific thing, doesn't mean they are limiting it to only that thing.  Teaching material isn't always perfectly written.  Anyone marking what you did wrong, in an actual exam, would be committing an error, and could be disputed.  I imagine this wouldn't happen.
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