This is a very useful concept I teach to all my students, it really helps to define and classify the fundamental tonalities I teach intermediate beginners, which are: major, minor, major blues and minor blues.
“Tonalites” have characteristic sounds which are created by specific intervals. As a musician, you need to develop the capacity to identify these four tonalities. (and later, others)
We'll begin by basing each tonality on a corresponding scale, which respectively are: major, minor, major blues and minor blues scales.
Major scales are the only scales with no intervallic alterations, it's formula is simply: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7. C major scale = C – D – E – F – G – A – B.
The minor scale formula is: 1 – 2 – flat3 – 4 – 5 – flat6 – flat7. C minor scale = C – D – Eflat – F – G – Aflat – Bflat.
The major blues scale formula is: 1 – 2 - flat3 – 3 – 5 – 6. C major blues scale = C – D – Eflat – E – G – A.
And the minor blues scale formula is: 1 – flat3 – 4 – flat5 – 5 – flat7. C minor blues scale = C – Eflat – F – Gflat – G – Bflat.
What I'm about to say is quite abstract but as you practice and study it will slowly begin to make more and more sense: when you play the major scale and chord progressions beginning on the I chord in the same key, each is tonally reflected in the other. Ex) A C major scale evokes the overall tonality of playing a I – IV – V progression in the key of C and the same is true of the relationship between the other three scales and the progressions you'll play them over.
In the next blog I'll give very concrete exercises to play that will help clarify these concepts...