Pop Music Theory


Lessons in Order

1-7 (Intro & Pitch) +
8-18 (Major Scale) -
17: Major Scale 1-8
19-29 (Chord Progressions) +
30-34 (Hook Chords) +
35-41 (Written Notes) +
42-50 (Song Chorus) +

Lessons by Topic

Strategy +
Pitches +
Scales +
17: Major Scale 1-8
Written Notes +
Chords +
Chord Progressions +
Melody +
Songwriting Steps +
Science +
Games & Tools +
Song Examples: Crazy +
Song Examples: Rolling Stone +

Detailed Contents

Get Future Lessons

Lesson 17: Major Scale 1-8

This lesson teaches the major scale (all 8 degrees).

Before taking this lesson, you should know the first 5 degrees of the major scale. You can test yourself with Lesson 12: Major 1-5 Games.

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 different 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

Next:
Practice these major scales in Lesson 18: Major Scale Games.




Lessons in Order

1-7 (Intro & Pitch) +
8-18 (Major Scale) -
17: Major Scale 1-8
19-29 (Chord Progressions) +
30-34 (Hook Chords) +
35-41 (Written Notes) +
42-50 (Song Chorus) +

Lessons by Topic

Strategy +
Pitches +
Scales +
17: Major Scale 1-8
Written Notes +
Chords +
Chord Progressions +
Melody +
Songwriting Steps +
Science +
Games & Tools +
Song Examples: Crazy +
Song Examples: Rolling Stone +

Detailed Contents

Get Future Lessons


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