Bighorn
 

Downloads


 

I've listed here a selection of scale scores (dots or music) which you can download and print out to help you on your way. Start by getting familiar with the major scales and then move on to the others...

The 12 major scales are the foundations or 'building blocks' that make up all western music.

You may have heard the term 'modes' of a scale. Quite simply, if you start a scale on any note other than the first note, and play up the same note to an octave above, you're playing a 'mode' of a scale.

For example if you play all the notes of C major, but start and finish on a D, you're playing the second mode of C. You'll hear how the sound of the scale changes from 'happy' to 'sad'. This is a minor scale and is called a dorian D. Here's the full list of modes:

First - Ionian (major)

Second - Dorian (minor)

Third - Phrygian

Fourth - Lydian

Fifth - Mixolydian

Sixth - Aeolian (minor)

Seventh - Locrian

 

I've also put some backing tracks on this site as downloads for you to play along with, but before we get to these we need to mention the fact that the saxophone is a transposing instrument. The standard tuning across an orchestra is know as 'Concert pitch'. This is due to most instruments (oboes, violins, violas, flutes, pianos, cellos, etc, etc) having the same tuning. The saxophone does not tune to concert pitch (for reasons explained elsewhere on this site) so you'll need to pick the key of your backings to match the key you're playing on your saxophone. For example, if you want to play your G scale on an alto, you'll need the concert Bb track to play along to. Here's the key converter or transposition table...

Transposition table

 
Concert keyAlto sax keyTenor sax key
CAD
C sharp (D flat)B flat (A sharp)E Flat (D sharp)
DBE
E flat (D sharp)CF
EC sharpF sharp
FDG
F sharpE flat (D sharp)A flat (G sharp)
GEA
A flat (G sharp)FB flat (A sharp)
AF sharpB
B flat (A sharp)GC
BA flat (G sharp)C sharp (D flat)

And as for the other members of the saxophone family, the alto (Eb) is the same key as the sopranino, the baritone and contra-bass while the tenor (Bb) is the same key as the soprano and bass.

MP3 playalongs
Once you've got the dots printed out to learn and play, and you've worked out which concert key you're playing in, you may like something to play along with, so here's a selection of blues-style MP3 tracks for you to play your scales and arpeggios over. It makes learning scales just a bit more bearable, gets you into the habit of playing with 'a band', helps you play to a beat/rhythm, and above all, is a bit of fun! Just find a computer or stereo that plays MP3 files and off you go...

Here are the MP3 backing tracks:

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Concert C maj.mp3
MP3 audio file [5.0 MB]

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Concert Csharp maj.mp3
MP3 audio file [5.9 MB]

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Concert D maj.mp3
MP3 audio file [5.0 MB]

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Concert Eflat maj.mp3
MP3 audio file [5.6 MB]

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Concert E maj.mp3
MP3 audio file [7.5 MB]

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Concert F maj.mp3
MP3 audio file [7.5 MB]

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Concert Fsharp maj.mp3
MP3 audio file [5.0 MB]

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Concert_G_maj.mp3 
MP3 audio file [4.5 MB]

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Concert_Aflat_maj.mp3 
MP3 audio file [5.0 MB]

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Concert_A_maj.mp3 
MP3 audio file [4.5 MB]

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Concert_Bb_maj.mp3 
MP3 audio file [5.0 MB]

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Concert_B_maj.mp3 
MP3 audio file [5.0 MB]

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Concert_C_minor.mp3 
MP3 audio file [7.5 MB]

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Concert_Csharp_minor.mp3 
MP3 audio file [7.5 MB]

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Concert_D_minor.mp3 
MP3 audio file [8.2 MB]

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Concert_Eb_minor.mp3 
MP3 audio file [8.2 MB]

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Concert_E_minor.mp3 
MP3 audio file [8.2 MB]

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Concert_F_minor.mp3 
MP3 audio file [8.2 MB]

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Concert_Fsharp_minor.mp3 
MP3 audio file [6.4 MB]