D Major Scale and Song Transcription

Posted on October 3, 2010


This weeks lesson will focus on the D major scale, included will be the scale and my favorite D major tune, “Ants marching” by Dave matthews.

First let’s build the D major scale, it will follow the exact major scale formula as C and G major, that formula being W W H W W W H (W= whole step, H = half step).

Here are the scale tones:
D E F# G A B C# D

Compare the major scales we have already learned and the new D major. The C major scale has no #’s or b’s and the G major scale has an F#. With D major we keep the same # as G but also add the C#. This will occur in every major scale as we go through the series.

The next scale will contain the same accidentals (#’s and b’s) as the previous and will add an additional # or b each time. These additional notes will be a 5th away from each other. For example if we count up from F#, we can see that C# is a perfect 5th away from F#. Also if we are to look at the scale/key name, those too are a 5th away from each other. Perhaps you have heard the term heard the term, “Circle of 5ths”, now you know where it comes from.

And now, because of the wonderful people at Guitar Pro,  I can include manuscript, tablature, and listening exercises as part of my article.  This is an excellent user friendly program. It cut my work load in half and offered so many more options. My fellow Guitar Video Channel editor Billy Voight recently did an in depth review of this program.

Ok, back to our exercises!

Play the D major ascending and descending

Listen in MP3 format:

D Major scale ascending and descending

Just as a painter would not learn the name of a color just to know it, we need to use this scale. I offer to you now a transcription of the opening groove in “Ants marching” by The Dave Matthews band.


Listen in MP3 format:

Dave Matthews band-Ants Marching

Up next is one of the other major riffs of the song. This one I especially love because of its sequential run up the D major scale. The second degree is omitted but other than that it includes every note in a 2 notes up and 1 note back fashion.

Listen in MP3 format:

D major riff-Ants marching  

I hope you enjoyed this weeks segment on the D major scale. I have read before that different scales have different effects on people. They will resonate so deeply within them. D major is one of my favorties. All the major scales have that “happy” quality to them but for some reason D major makes me smile just a little bit more. Why? I don’t know? I just know that it feels good.

I want to extend another thank you over to the folks at Guitar pro for the endorsement and their wonderful software. To learn more about their product please go to www.guitar-pro.com

Enjoy your BASS!

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