What Is Scale?

Scale is the system of measuring and classifying objects or events according to a set of standards. It can be used to shrink vast lands onto maps, or to create blueprints and scale models for machinery and architecture.

To assess construct validity, future researchers should seek support for the new scale in information collected on sociodemographic questionnaires. This will increase the likelihood of convergent and discriminant validity.


The scale of something is its size or extent. It can also refer to a series of steps or levels, like the Richter scale for measuring an earthquake, or the pay scale that determines how much someone should be paid.

The term scale is often used in music, for example when describing the interval patterns that compose a particular musical tone system. The number of different possible interval patterns is almost infinite, but particular scales tend to become conventionalized within a culture or musical tradition. The most complex scales occur in non-Western cultures, such as grama in India or dastgah in Iran or maqam in Muslim music.

A graphical scale is a line graph showing lengths enlarged or reduced by a fixed factor, called the scale factor. This is usually a fraction, but it can be a ratio. Scaling helps architects, engineers and machine-makers work with models of three-dimensional objects that would be too large to hold if they were their actual size. It also lets them shrink vast lands into small pieces of paper, such as a map.


Scale is the name of a set of tones that form a basis for melodies and harmonies. Scales are used in music by many cultures around the world, and are a fundamental to music theory.

The word scale is also used to refer to a range of levels, like the Richter scale for earthquakes or a pay scale for employees. The term is derived from the Latin verb for ladder, and it has been in use since the Middle Ages.

When a plant is infested with scale insects, it can appear as if it has a disease. Their shell-like bump appearance often leads to confusion with a fungal disease, which is why it is important to understand what scale insects are and take action as soon as they’re first spotted. Armored (hard) scale insects secrete a hard protective covering over their bodies and tend to stay in one place, where they feed on the contents of individual plant cells and exude honeydew.


The scale of something refers to its size or extent. This may be a building, a mountain range or a football team.

Music theorists use a set of rules to define a musical scale. It can also be described as being hemitonic or cohemitonic, or as having specific intervals. Some non-Western music, such as indigenous Australian Aboriginal singing, is not defined by a particular scale because the composers were not aware of it as a theoretical concept.

Maps often include a scale that indicates how much a given distance on the map represents in actual real world terms. The scale may be printed on the map or written as a ratio. Many maps are created in a wide range of scales, from local to global. This is because different types of maps are used for different purposes. Local scales tend to be small, while regional and global ones are larger. There are also a variety of map scales in between, depending on the geographic phenomena being represented.


The types of scale used to take measurements determine the type of information they provide. There are four levels of scale: nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio. Understanding these four levels is important because the kind of scale a researcher uses will affect the statistical techniques that can be legitimately used in their analysis.

For example, if the researcher uses an interval scale variable (which is one in which zero really means zero and addition and subtraction are meaningful), they will be able to compare responses between different respondents. However, if they use a nominal scale variable (one in which no number actually means anything), their data will be limited to only establishing an association between the variables.

Scales are essential in the music of many cultures, including nonliterate and folk cultures. Highly developed, complex systems governing the use of scales exist in many of these cultures. These scales are often called grama in India, dastgah in Iran, and maqam in Muslim culture. They have interval patterns that are classified into categories such as diatonic, chromatic, and major or minor scales.