View Full Version : Scales notes and tabs oh my!!!

11-04-2008, 06:54 AM
I am looking at a piece of sheet music and I have my scales sheet in front of me ready to change the musical notes to tabs, I know 3 stacked notes is a chord but what do you do when the notes that make up the stack are not all on the scale?

I know the 3b are the Eb major scale.
The n=note value is unimportant for this.

I figured the first set is Cm and that is what the sheet music says.
The second set says its an Eb chord but the top note is not on my scale(tab) sheet.
The third set says it is a G7 chord but again the top note is not on the scale(tab) sheet.

My ??? is when the notes are not on the musical scale(tab) that the signature shows how do you figure out what they are?




(had to use dots won't "read" spaces)

11-04-2008, 09:10 PM
just out of curiosity, is the sheet music you're looking at "Hawaii 5-0"?. The reason I ask, is that I was looking at the sheet music for it yesterday, and I recall those chords

11-04-2008, 09:25 PM
I don't really understand your question. You'll have to be more specific than that. What are the top notes you're referring to?

I also can't make heads nor tails out of that stuff with the b's and n's. What is that supposed to be? The sheet music?

If you want to post tabs, or post something that resembles sheet music, you should first type it in a program like Notepad, making sure you use a monospaced font, like Courier.

When you're ready to post it, enclose your work inside CODE tags by clicking the # button.

11-05-2008, 03:16 AM
I wonder if it accidentals being talked about ? OR the I IV V chord positions ?

I think that first, in order to transpose music into tabs, you need to be able to read music to a degree. That means knowing all of the key signatures, as you've rightly said if there are 3 flats (the b you show ) then the key is Eb.

There is an easy way to remember which key has which sharp or flat by remembering a sentence.

Father Charles Goes Down And Eats Bread

Take the first letter of each word - then in the alphabet take the letter AFTER this and that is the scale name.

For example FATHER - starts with the letter F so the next in the alphabet is G. The scale of G major has one sharp in it, which is the F from Father.

CHARLES - starts with C, the next letter in the alphabet is D so the scale is D major and the sharps in it are the C from Charles PLUS the one before, being the F from Father.

G major = F from Father
D major = F from Father plus C from Charles.

and so on.

When the scale is a 'flat' scale it will always show that in the name ie Eb major as opposed to Emajor.

There is a similar pattern for flats using a slightly different sentence but with an altered setup = the letter BEFORE the word gives the scale name so you would know the scale has 3 flats in it Bb Eb Ab - Ab is the last one shown so the scale name is the first letter of the word before Ab ( ANDS ) = ENDS = Eb major

Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles Father -

Any note played that is NOT in the scale is called an accidental, in other words it wouldn't normally be in the scale, wouldn't normally be in the piece and is ONLY played where shown and not every time that note is played.

When you play a chord you normally are playing the 1st, 3rd and 5th note of the scale you have worked out as above.

So taking that one step further, we know that G is the scale name - we know that it is alphabetically after F so we now also know that there is just the one sharp in the scale = F.

The scales STARTS & ENDS on the scale name note.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
G A B C D E F# G

Any other note played in this scale would be an accidental. An example of this would be when you see that the key signature shown at the front of the music shows the F# in it but you then find that at some point you come across a C that has a # sign in front of it - which means that THIS C needs to be sharp but not all others, unless shown.

The order the notes in the scale 1 - 8 are also given names - the ones used to form 3 note chords are the 1 3 5 notes called tonic mediant dominant.

You would then take this one stage further to look at which are the most common chords in any scale played - and these are generally the I IV V (1st 4th 5th) position chords.

What this means is that you move up your scales to the appropriate number.

I = tonic = the first note of the scale = G chord
IV = sub dominant = 4th note up from G = C chord
V = dominant = 5th note up from G = D

So basically you are moving up the scale to the a specific position, in this case lets look at fourth up the scale = C chord. The C chord is made up of 3 notes which will be C E G

I don't know if this will have helped or hindered. If it is too muddling moderators please feel free to remove it.

I have just started to learn the Ukulele myself, very very very much a beginner but I do read music and have a bit of theory knowledge and the above is how I am working out (or attempting) how to play things.

11-05-2008, 03:47 AM
Well I did use notepad and courier but because it wont "read" the spaces for the notes above the top line and moves what you type if you use spaces I resorted to that way of posting it.
I thought I was being pretty clear with my explaining what kind of help I was asking for. (this is why I hate asking for help on the internet)

Yes it is the sheet music for Hawaii 5-0.
Scroll down about half the page and under the "Chin Ho" bullett is the sheet music
(it won't let me link the pages)

If you go to the pages and look at bars 10,11,12,13 and several others. You will see the notes I am refering to, the ones above the top line for chords Eb G7 are not on the Eb scale sheet (there are no notes above the top line on the Eb scale) that I have and I was going to try to tab this song out for the UU folks.

But without knowing where and why to tab those notes I asked for help.

I guess I should be asking, How do you tab?? Do you tab off of a key signature scale sheet or do you use some other method?

11-05-2008, 05:24 AM
I hope this shows okay.

Here is the Eb scale in two octaves - I've written in some additional higher notes.

Basically the notes are just repeated on either a line or in a space.

I presume that you would then take them down an octave if it is too high for a ukulele or transpose the piece into a different scale so that the player doesn't 'run out' of frets ?

I've never tabbed anything before so I am unsure - perhaps now is the time to give it a go ?

Good luck :)

11-05-2008, 07:59 AM
Sweet some useful info
Strange the scale you posted Jani is a little diffrent than mine mine doesn't have the notes 10,11,12,13,14 (not including the ones you drew in) that yours does, mine changes at the at the 2nd F (which is A string 8th fret) then goes back down the scale??? I wonder if it's cuz it's in a Ukulele Beginner book??

Now I just have to figure out where those note/chords are on the Fretboard
So useing the scales you posted the first G7 chord shows

"6th fret E string (Bb) 8th fret A string (F) then the note you drew as the G, looking at a fretboard map I guess I don't have enough strings on my Ukulele?

11-05-2008, 08:44 AM
I see what you're asking now. What you're referring to are called "ledger lines (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ledger_line)." They're used to show notes that are above or below the staff lines.

If you learn how to read music, you won't have to rely on those scales sheets anymore, I suggest you try to learn. I'll help you with any questions you have. It's simple once you understand how they work.

Here's a picture for illustration:


You see how the notes just continue to go up or down the scale when they fall off the staff?

The "G" that you're asking about can be found at the 10th fret on your A string.

P.S. All of the formatting that you've done in NotePad will be lost if you don't enclose your work within CODE tags. If you click the actual "Post Reply" button, you'll see the CODE buttons on the editor. It looks like a pound sign (#).

11-05-2008, 08:59 AM
Here's how you use CODE tags:

Click the "Post Reply" button to access the advanced post editor.

Paste your work done in NotePad into the text box. Select it, then click the CODE button.


Here's a picture of the CODE tags in action:


Below is what the above picture will look like after you submit your post.

S p a c e s are preserved when using the code tags.

<- 7 spaces
<- 4 spaces
<- 15 spaces

It's easy to line things up this way.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

11-05-2008, 09:39 AM
I think there is one more important information, I don't know how much you know about written music, but apart of the cross for sharp and the b for flat, you have a third sign, I think it's called "natural" in English, but I might be wrong with that cause I learned all that stuff in German^^

so, if you take a look at that part of the sheet you mentioned:


you see in the third bar (the one with F7) a "natural" sign. That means the former flat note (or sharp, depending on the note it's in front of), in this case the Ab, is natural again, so A. If there is NO OTHER sign in the same bar on the same note, the tone stays natural. In the next bar the b is put in front of the A again, that's not necessary but helpful for fast reading. Usually that note is flat again, because of the new bar.

I hope that helped, I can tell you, music theory in one language is hard enough, another language and ...^^

Have fun!

11-05-2008, 10:54 AM
Thanks for all the info/help so far everyone.

Thanks for the refresher Sesso I used that ## and when I did it moved stuff cuz I spaced the notes above the normal 5 lines and it moved the notes around (it doesn't like formatting blank spaces)

Thanks for posting the sheet music in ??? HaileI I couldn't figure out how to do that

If you asked me how to read sheet music for Trombone I could tell you but Trombone players don't play chords and there lies my problem. And I never had to figure out how to change sheet music involving chords (High School Band).

So if we take that F7 "chord" from the sheet music example where on the fretboard map/tabs is that and how on the scale did you figure that out?

Quoting Seeso "The "G" that you're asking about can be found at the 10th fret on your A string."
Yes but according to the notes on the scale "6th fret E string (Bb) 8th fret A string (F)" I cant fret the F and the G on the same string to make the G7 chord.

I guess part of my ??? is also about building chords, maybe???

11-05-2008, 11:26 AM
well, it's not that difficult, you just have to look at the chord and then, one by one, find the notes on your fretboard, starting with the lowest on (for example) the C string, I think that would be, in this case of F7, the 15th fret (Eb''), then continue with the next (A'') on the next higher string (2nd string), which should be 17th fret, and last but not least, the highest note on the highest string. it's C''' here and that means it's the 15th fret on the first string. to make it even easier to find those chords, you can simply look in the lower octave (so on the first few frets) and then simply add 12 frets to it. so if you have the Eb'' in your sheet and you want to play it on the E string, locate it on the first frets (it's actually the 3rd) and then just go from the octave (the 12th fret) the same amount of frets up: 12 + 3 = 15. same procedure with the other notes. so the difference between your trombone knowledge and this is just to locate the notes on your fretboard in a way you can easily access every tone.

hope that helps...

11-05-2008, 12:25 PM
Ooooh I just noticed an error on the scale I put up for you - the note in the third space up is a C I think I marked it as an E !

I knew there would have to be an error there somewhere :p


That is as close as I can come to drawing a natural sign lol - this is placed before a note to 'naturalise' or take away any previous instruction regarding it, for *that note only* ( hmmmm the bottom little line should be over to the right ! )

For example if the scale is in Dmajor and has two sharps shown at the start of the music these two notes will always be played as sharps UNLESS the above sign is shown just in front of it in which case the C# becomes C but will revert to C# the next time it is played unless again the natural sign is shown.

I am gradually pulling back my theory knowledge from the back of my brain somewhere, it's 35 years :eek: since I was at school and learning all this. I can see myself sitting in bed the next couple of weeks reading the rudiments of music -

I can't chunk ! It sounds like a singing squirrel.


11-05-2008, 04:57 PM
Thank you all this is an awesome site and group of people!!!

I had a lesson tonight so I asked my Instructor about this and he pretty much said what HaileI said way up there on the fretboard for this song and my Soprano only goes so far and I want to be albe to play it the same on it and my Tenor. (I always make things harder than they need to be).

It was agreed I should just play it using normal first position chords and get on with it.

Thanks again and what a learning experience, it did make me go out and get a couple of theory/chord building books to study that I had been putting off doing.

11-05-2008, 05:43 PM
Right on, freedive. Glad we could help. If you're curious as to how that piece of music would look like tabbed out, here it is:


11-06-2008, 04:02 AM
Thanks for that Seeso and for that scale, I guess I could tab it out for Tenor for the pratice of tabing.

After looking at that, How did you figure out how to tab it?
Do you use a different scale for each string?
How did you figure out that the first chord was A13 E11 C12 ?

11-06-2008, 11:59 AM
After looking at that, How did you figure out how to tab it?

I just know where the notes are on each string.

Do you use a different scale for each string?

I didn't use a scale. I just know which note pertains to each fret on the ukulele. The only time scales came into question was when I defined the key signature.

How did you figure out that the first chord was A13 E11 C12 ?

I just read the music notation.

The bottom note is a C. More specifically, it's the C an octave above middle C. If I treat the open C string as middle C, then I should simply go an octave up from there to find my note.

I had four choices for playing this note. I could have played it on G5, C12, E8, or A3. I took a look at the other notes in the chord to see which choice was the best choice.

The highest note in this chord is a Bb, a flat 7th above my lowest note. There are two places to play that Bb, I can play it at G15 or A13.

The middle note is an Eb, a minor third above my lowest note. I have four options for this note: G8, C15, E11, or A6.

After taking a look at all of these options, the choices that made the most sense to me were C12, E11, and A13. They were the closest together, and were the easiest to play. I picked up my ukulele to make sure. Yup. All good.

11-06-2008, 12:42 PM
Seeso is the King!!!!! How much do I owe you for this lesson?

What would have to be done to make this song playable on a 12 fret Soprano?

11-06-2008, 01:14 PM
Seeso is the King!!!!! How much do I owe you for this lesson?

What would have to be done to make this song playable on a 12 fret Soprano?

You'd have to transpose the song to a lower key. Since the highest fret I used in the first tab was 17, you'd have to lower the key by 5 half steps to be able to play it on a 12 fret uke.

You could just take all the numbers and subtract 5 from all of them. Doing so would yield these results:


Taking a closer look, it seems that there are some things that we can do in this new key (Bb) to make it easier to play.


I don't have my uke with me right now, so I can't tell if it is actually easier to play, but let me know.

11-10-2008, 11:55 AM
Well on my Pono Soprano both are real hard, frets a close together (alot closer than my Kala Soprano's and I'm not used to playin that close to the body either).

On my long neck Flea the second version is somewhat eaiser for sure.

Thanks again for the help and putting up with my ???? this song is going in the back of the notebook for when I get alittle better....

11-10-2008, 03:16 PM
this thread makes my brain hurt and I know how to read music.......now do it in bass clef, seeso!

11-11-2008, 03:19 AM
I don't have my uke with me right now, so I can't tell if it is actually easier to play, but let me know.

I think you're right with the second version. It appears to be easier on the soprano.