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Author Topic: Number Scales  (Read 7170 times)
Active Newbie
Posts: 12

« on: March 21, 2012, 03:37:36 am »

Have any of you guys heard about number scales?

Even now I have a hard time reading sheet music, but I learned about number scales not too long ago, and basically it assigns a number to each note, so rather than trying to memorize all the letters for each note there's instead a single set of numbers that progresses as your notes go higher.

The only two problems that I am aware of about this is:
1) There is no universal number scale, you would either have to create your own or typically start with the letter "C" (which would be "1") and go from there.
2) The number scales I've come across have not included sharps and flats in them because they were simpler songs. If one decided to use that method you would have to mark the numbers with sharp and flat symols to distinguish between them (I.e. F = 6 and F# = 6#, etcetera).

I thought I'd right about it because I found it easy to understand when I learned about it because it's a very simple, straightforward system. When I get can't figure out how to play a song when reading sheet music or fingering charts, I usually just write it out in a number scale and it's easier for me to understand. It's aslo pretty convinient for when you have that creative moment where you play a few random notes and they actually sound good together, you can quickly just jot down the numbers for each note instead of having to draw it all out or trying to remember it.

I thought I'd write about this because it helped me, so I figured some others would probably find it easier too.

Thanks for taking the time to read this,

Harp Player
Hero Member
Posts: 836

« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2012, 04:18:40 pm »

I have never heard of the number scale, But the Do, re, me ...... scale (shape notes) does the same thing and has been around for a few hundred years now.  It isn't as popular as it used to be a generation ago but it is still quite successful.

Posts: 1

« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2013, 08:22:10 pm »

i use the number scale as well. Its very universal and used with guitar, bass, and piano playing often.

Sr. Member
Posts: 345

« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2013, 02:53:40 am »

I have never heard of it but that is not unusual. The only drawback I see is that you would have to convert every set of sheet music you wanted to play into the numeric scale to play it.  It would transpose easily. All you would need to do is move the starting point up or down to the note you wanted to begin with. sharps and flats could be written as a 1.5 or a 2.5 as a flat or sharp is a half note usually off from a natural.

Active Newbie
Posts: 26

« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2013, 09:16:56 pm »

Hi there,
im a totally noob to playing music and just like this i just started to play the Mo. I got an ocarina for christmas and hat thing is just pretty *#&py and u couldn`t get the one of the high notes out of it.
So i checked on youtube if some guy out there could help me get this problem solved (as when i learned the moonwalk by youtube vids).
Finally i found this guy DOcJazz4 who also uses numeric scales in some of his videos and i found it pretty easy to use them. then after some days of consuming his videos i found one where Karl were kind of interviewed by David(DOcJazz4) and i was catched by his magic from the start. i mean ucould literally feel his obsession with music, with maing instruments and spreading he joy of playing an instrument which can be learned by spending 5 minutes a day practising (thank you very veery much by the way).
I read very much about the Mountain Ocarinas and became aware that i had to have one of those instruments.... so i ordered more quick than good the c&g-set and the book with the favourite carols... worst failure... i should have ordered the selflearning curriculum because i can`t read notes and if im trying really hard it works but i can`t read and play and sometimes i also translate it in numeric scales.

ijust realised that it would be much easier for me if i just stop translating them by hand and learn the notes by their names, i watched Karls introducing in the Mo-videos on youtube and am step by step learning how to play this awesome instrument.

Id suggest to learn the notes by the ordenary scale would be better and less wok than translating every single song in numbers before u would be able o even hear it in your head.

Thats just my point i hope i helped.

Peace ben

p.S. I Apologize fpr my bad english but im german and pretty lazy, so i don`t look everything up in dictionary, i jus write as i would speak it, so if anything isn`t clear feel free to ask i try to answer as good as i can.


Croup and Vandemar, the Old Firm, obstacles obliterated, nuisances eradicated, bothersome limbs removed and tutelary dentistry undertaken.
Full Member
Posts: 248

Student of the Ocarina

« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2013, 12:18:08 am »

p.S. I Apologize fpr my bad english but im german and pretty lazy, so i don`t look everything up in dictionary, i jus write as i would speak it, so if anything isn`t clear feel free to ask i try to answer as good as i can.

Hi, pflegte ich, um wohles Deutsch zu sprechen gemigt, aber es ist 25 Jahre gewesen und ich habe viel vergessen.

I find playing the Ocarina by the notes is the best. Do order the self-learning course as soon as you can, it is WORTH IT! 

Enjoy your journey with the Ocarina.

Jr. Member
Posts: 60

« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2013, 11:16:10 pm »

i use the number scale as well. Its very universal and used with guitar, bass, and piano playing often.

never saw it for piano.  i bumped into numeric notation for thew first time when I looked through my mother in laws hymnal in china.


Poly G&C, Warmstone G
Uncle Sam
Active Newbie
Posts: 7

« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2013, 05:27:03 pm »

I've used a number system when singing in chorus that's helped me learn my part and is helpful when altering the key.  With the common Solfege system, the major scale would be:
Do=1, Re=2, Mi=3, Fa=4, Sol=5, La=6, Ti=7, Do=1
You could write the chromatic scale as: 1, b2, 2, b3, 3, 4, b5, 5, b6, 6, b7, 7, 1
To keep things simple, I think of all the in-between notes as flat (b) or minor versions of the major scale.
I do the same with my Poly G MO.  I think of the tones as intervals of the chromatic scale, not the actual notes.
That way I can play a song in any key as long as I know the intervals.  I hand-drew a little fingering chart to keep in my wallet.

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