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Major Scale 1

September 1, 2016                 Archives

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The major scale is a collection of the seven musical notes arranged in a pattern of half and whole steps. The good news is this pattern is the same for each of the twelve major scales! The scale is named by the first note of the scale. The scale will cycle through the seven musical named notes in alphabetical order until the first note (now as the octave) is repeated. Sharps and flats are added to each of the notes so that the major scale interval pattern is maintained.

This distinct pattern of half and whole steps (see the first article on intervals for this idea) is as follows:

major scale formula

The C Major scale has the notes C, D E, F, G, A, B and then C again at the octave. The major scale pattern is shown below:C major scale

The following D major scale will show how accidentals are used to preserve the whole step - half step interval pattern that distinguishes the major scale.

D major formula

The scale goes through the musical alphabet D to D. At the third scale degree, the F must be sharped to maintain the necessary whole step interval between the 2nd and 3rd notes (or scale degrees) of the D major scale. Again, on the seventh scale degree the C must be sharped to both maintain a whole step interval to the note B (6th scale degree) and then a half step interval to the eighth scale degree D.

Here are a few scales for you to work out the proper interval patterns for a major scale by either sharping or flatting the appropriate notes. Mouse over the image to see the answer.

Construct the F major scale

Construct the F major scale

Construct the G Major scale

Construct G Major scale

Construct the Bb Major scale

Construct Bb major scale

Construct the A Major scale

Construct A major scale

Construct the Eb Major scale

Construct Eb Major scale

Construct the B Major scale

Construct B Major

Construct the Db Major scale

Construct Db Major scale


Next: Natural Minor Scale


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