Pop Music Theory

Lessons

18: Major Scale 1-8

Lesson 18: Major Scale 1-8

This lesson finishes teaching the major scale, which is a foundation for understanding chord progressions and melodies, or even just reading music. To make this lesson easy, you should already know your major scale degrees 1-5, so review Lesson 13: Major 1-5 Games if you need to.

Below are the distances between degrees 1-8 of the major scale, adding degrees 6-7-8 to degrees 1-5 which you already know. Note, a major scale only has 7 distinct pitch names; degree 8 is just a repeat of degree 1, but it's traditional to "finish off" scales this way by returning to the starting note (an octave higher).

1
whole-
step
2
whole-
step
3
half-
step
4
whole-
step
5
whole-
step
6
whole-
step
7
half-
step
8

These new distances are simple: 5-6 and 6-7 are more whole-steps, but 7-8 has to be a half-step in order to end on degree 8 (because degree 8 is the same pitch-name as degree 1).

Now study the following examples. Make sure you understand why these scales contain these exact pitches:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
B♭ major scale 1-8: B♭-C-D-E♭-F-G-A-B♭


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
B major scale 1-8: B-C♯-D♯-E-F♯-G♯-A♯-B


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
D♭ major scale 1-8: D♭-E♭-F-G♭-A♭-B♭-C-D♭

For reference, here are the pitches in the common major scales:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
A♭B♭C D♭E♭FGA♭
ABC♯ DEF♯G♯A
B♭CD E♭FGAB♭
BC♯D♯ EF♯G♯A♯B
CDE FGABC
D♭E♭F G♭A♭B♭C D♭
DEF♯ GABC♯D
E♭FG A♭B♭CDE♭
EF♯G♯ ABC♯D♯E
FGA B♭CDEF
F♯G♯ A♯BC♯D♯ E♯F♯
G♭A♭ B♭C♭D♭E♭ FG♭
GAB CDEF♯G

When you're sure you understand the examples above, go on to Lesson 19: Major Scale Games to practice and test yourself.


Lessons

1: Introduction
2: Pitch & Keyboard
3: Pitch Names
4: Letters Game
5: Sharps & Flats
6: Half-Steps
7: Whole-Steps
8: Steps Game
9: Scales
10: Major Scale 1-2-3
11: Major 1-2-3 Games
12: Major Scale 1-5
13: Major 1-5 Games
14: Chords: Major Triads
15: Major Triad Games
16: Minor Triads
17: Minor Triad Games
18: Major Scale 1-8
19: Major Scale Games
20: Scales Above 8
21: What Next
22: Keys
23: Roman Numeral Chords
24: Diatonic Triads
25: Treble Staff
26: Pitch & Frequency

© 2017 Conrad Albrecht. All rights reserved.