Scales – Major and minor

Major and minor scales are made up of a pattern of whole steps and half steps (or tones and semitones)

steps

Formulas for Major and minor Scales

Here are the formulas for creating Major and minor scales. You can start on any pitch and follow these patterns and play either a Major or minor scale.

 

Major Scale Formula

If you played all of the white keys you would play a C Major scale (C D E F G A B C).  If we were to note the spacing of the pitches as either whole tones or half tones we would create the pattern below.

cmajorscale

Next, start on a ‘G’ and see if you can use the formula

W W H W W W H we just created to play a G Major scale.

 

 

Next, start on a ‘D’ and see if you can use the formula

W W H W W W H we just created to play a D Major scale.

 

 

Minor Scale Formula

You can create a minor scale if you played all of the white keys. An A Minor scale (A B C D E F G A)  would create the formula below.

aminorscale

See if you can start on an ‘E’ and play an E minor scale using our formula

W H W W H W W

 

 

Next, see if you can create a ‘B’ minor scale using the formula

W H W W H W W

 

 

Practicing Playing Scales

Try starting on different pitches on the piano and use the formulas to create Major and minor scales

 

 

NEXT,  Click here to go to the lesson about Key Signatures, Sharps and Flats

 

 

RESOURCES

Playing Scales on the Piano

Online Game of Major Scales by MusicTechTeacher

Online Help with Creating Scales using Whole and Half Steps – by Music Fundamentals – Great explantion

YOUTUBE semitones/tones, half/whole steps and major scales

Scale Degrees – by Music Theory Fundamentals

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