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Major Scale Construction

The major scale is constructed like this:

TONE, TONE, SEMITONE, TONE, TONE, TONE, SEMITONE

So if we use Cmajor as an example,
C D E F G A B C

C – D
TONE
D – E
TONE
E – F
SEMITONE
F – G
TONE
G – A
TONE
A – B
TONE
B – C
SEMITONE

So Using the following:

TONE, TONE, SEMITONE, TONE, TONE, TONE, SEMITONE

We can make all major scales:

Lets use Dmajor as an example:
D E F# G A B C# D

D – E
TONE
E – F#
TONE
F# – G
SEMITONE
G – A
TONE
A – B
TONE
B – C#
TONE
C# – D
SEMITONE

Other ways of working out scales can be done like this:
For scales that have sharps(#)
If we start with C major

C D E F G A B C

Go up to the fifth degree of the scale to G and start following the musical alphabet through to the octave.

G A B C D E F G

Retain the sharps (#) from the previous scale – (with Cmajor we have no sharps or flats)

Add a sharp (#) to the seventh note:

G A B C D E F# G

———————————–

So using this again:

G A B C D E F# G

Go up to the fifth degree of the scale to D and start following the musical alphabet through to the octave.

D E F# G A B C D

Retain the sharps (#) from the previous scale – (with Gmajor has an F#)

Add a sharp (#) to the seventh note:

D E F# G A B C# D

———————————–

Follow this through and you will get all the major scales that have sharps in their key signature.

A major scale has the notes: A B C# D E F# G# A

E major scale has the notes: E F# G# A B C# D# E

B major scale has the notes: B C# D# E F# G# A# B

F# major scale has the notes: F# G # A# B C# D# E# F#

C# major scale has the notes: C# D# E# F# G# A# B# C#

——————————-
Major scales with flats (b)
Again using Cmajor as our starting point.

C D E F G A B C

Go up to the fourth degree of the scale to F and start following the musical alphabet through to the octave.

F G A B C D E F

Retain the flats (b) from the previous scale (Cmajor has no sharps or flats)

Add a flat (b) to the fourth note

F G A Bb C D E F

——————–

So following this through:

Take Fmajor:

F G A Bb C D E F

Go up to the fourth degree of the scale to F and start following the musical alphabet through to the octave.

Bb C D E F G A Bb

We now have our next major scale that has flats in it – this being Bb major

Retain the flats (b) from the previous scale (Bb major already has, as you can see a Bb)

Add a flat (b) to the fourth note

Bb C D Eb F G A Bb

Bb major scale has the notes Bb C D Eb F G A Bb

Eb major scale has the notes Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb

Ab major scale has the notes Ab Bb C Db Eb G Ab

Db major scale has the notes Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db

Gb major scale has the notes Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F Gb

Cb major scale has the notes Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb Cb

—————————————

Each note of a scale has a name – below using Cmajor as an example – the table shows both the name and the number of each degree of the scale – the numbers are always represented by a roman numeral

Note Degree of scale Name
C
I
TONIC
D
II
SUPERTONIC
E
III
MEDIANT
F
IV
SUBDOMINANT
G
V
DOMINANT
A
VI
SUBMEDIANT
B
VII
LEADING TONE

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