A major scale is comprised of 7 individual notes and has the interval pattern, TTSTTTS, where T represents a tone, and S a semitone. If you’re not sure what these are, read our previous lesson on steps, tones & accidentals.
The C major scale is the simplest major scale on a piano, as it is comprised of the white keys. We’ll therefore use the C major scale to clarify the concept of the major scale.
The above image shows a C major scale. This scale starts and finishes on a C, and therefore the C is called the base note. The next note is a tone above the base note, i.e. a whole step above, which in this case is a D. The note above the D is a tone above it again, and is therefore an E. Then an F as it is a semitone above E. It follows the TTSTTTS pattern as discuss above until the scale is complete.
As all major scales have the same interval pattern, it’s easy to compile other major scales. For example we could compile the E major scale as shown below:
For the E major scale we would start from the E, i.e. the base note, and follow the same interval pattern as before. The red keys above show 1 octave of the E major scale, and the blue keys represent notes in other octaves.
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