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Middle English scole, scale bowl, scale of a balance, from Old Norse skāl; akin to Old Norse skel shell
- Date: 14th century
- 1 a : either pan or tray of a balance
- b : a beam that is supported freely in the center and has two pans of equal weight suspended from its ends —usually used in plural
- 2 : an instrument or machine for weighing
In music, a scale is a group of musical notes collected in ascending and descending order, that provides material for or is used to conveniently represent part or all of a musical work including melody and/or harmony. Scales are ordered in pitch or pitch class, with their ordering providing a measure of musical distance. The term scale is also used to mean the abstracted intervalic structure or shape of a collection of notes independent of the actual pitches used, as in "major scale", which invokes the particular structure common to the C-major scale, D-major scale, etc.