Saxophone scales are musical note sequences played on the saxophone, a woodwind musical instrument. In general, a musician learning the saxophone uses scales to improve his or her efficiency on the instrument while practicing. Different scale types elicit different emotions in listeners, and some scales are used more frequently in certain types of music than others. Scales come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including diatonic, chromatic, and modal scales. For jazz saxophonists studying improvisational music, saxophone scales are crucial.
A jazz saxophonist can use saxophone scales to figure out which notes to play during an improvisational solo. Though there are no right or wrong notes in improvisation when they are played as the musician intended, the scales can assist a saxophonist in determining what is most likely to produce the desired sound. Many improvisational soloists begin playing saxophone scales in their solos until they develop a sense of what they like to play in different musical keys.
A saxophone scale, like other musical scales, is a set of instructions for playing notes in a specific key. The most well-known types of scales are diatonic scales, which have seven notes and resolve in an octave. There are several types of scales, the most well-known of which are major and minor scales. Each scale has 12 modes, with the mode names indicating where the scale should begin in the key.
There are several scale subtypes within each type of saxophone scale, and some scale subtypes have the same notes but different names. Natural minor, harmonic minor, and melodic minor are the three types of minor scales. For the key in which the musician is playing his scales, the natural minor is also known as the Aeolian mode. The Ionian mode for the key is also known as a major scale.
A chromatic scale is a popular saxophone scale in which every note is played in chromatic order, whether going up or down the scale. Chromatic saxophone scales have a fast, hurried feel when played quickly. The song “The Flight of the Bumblebee,” a well-known orchestral piece written Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, is one popular use of the chromatic scale. Chromatic scales are among the most popular saxophone scales because the saxophone’s fingering arrangement allows a skilled player to quickly rattle off chromatic notes.