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Thread: What scales (degrees) did Johann Sebastian Bach use?

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    Default What scales (degrees) did Johann Sebastian Bach use?

    Hello, I just joined this forum. I'm hoping someone knows the answer to my question. Bach published a small book/let that showed the actual scales he used, by scale degrees. Does anyone know either how to buy or find this book, OR find the degrees on line somewhere?

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Welcome Stringalong. He used the standard major and minor scales like everybody else. I suspect you aren't expressing clearly exactly what you are looking for?
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Nov-17-2017 at 18:01.

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    Edward, thanks for the response. It's hard for me to ask the right question, since I don't know the scales I want. I know that Bach used the standard major and minor scales, but he also used other scales. I have "deconstructed" some of his pieces and found other scales. At another online forum, a musician wrote back that Bach also used the Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian and Mixolydian modes, which, he said, are used in the Lutheran liturgical music. That was good information, and maybe enough, but I think he published a small book of his scale forms.
    Last edited by Stringalong; Nov-17-2017 at 19:58. Reason: Additional info

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringalong View Post
    Edward, thanks for the response. It's hard for me to ask the right question, since I don't know the scales I want. I know that Bach used the standard major and minor scales, but he also used other scales. I have "deconstructed" some of his pieces and found other scales. At another online forum, a musician wrote back that Bach also used the Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian and Mixolydian modes, which, he said, are used in the Lutheran liturgical music. That was good information, and maybe enough, but I think he published a small book of his scale forms.
    Yes, occasionally he used the old church modes, when he was writing something intentionally old fashioned. Essentially, all of those modes are just the same notes as a major scale but using a different note as the home pitch. Staying with the notes of a C major scale: Dorian starts on D, Lydian starts on F, and Mixolydian starts on G. But this is kind of modal writing was not a big part of his style.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    — Basil Valentine

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    Yes, occasionally he used the old church modes, when he was writing something intentionally old fashioned. Essentially, all of those modes are just the same notes as a major scale but using a different note as the home pitch. Staying with the notes of a C major scale: Dorian starts on D, Lydian starts on F, and Mixolydian starts on G. But this is kind of modal writing was not a big part of his style.
    Thanks for the clarification!

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    Senior Member ldiat's Avatar
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    wait i know this is serious stuff and i like it...but reading this post reminded me of this movie and clip. it is a soft x film but this sceen is just funny no bad stuff... Cindy Williams from the tv show laverne & shirley is in it

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    i'm sorry do not b mad at me

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