The Major and Minor Scale (1)

The two most commonly used scales in music are the major and minor scale. Every major and every minor scale consists of seven notes. One way to identify these notes is by using a formula. This is also how the Wheel of Fifths is made, which shows you the seven notes that make up a scale – for all major and minor keys. Below you will find the interval pattern for major and minor scales.

Major Scales:
W – W – H – W – W – W – H

Minor Scales:
W – H – W – W – H – W – W

In this formula, ‘W’ stands for ‘whole step’ or ‘tone’ and ‘H’ stands for ‘half step’ or ‘semitone’.

The C major scale, for instance, can be found using the interval pattern for major scales. Firstly, the notes C and D are a whole step apart. The notes D and E are also separated by one whole step. E and F, however, are separated by a half step. And so on.
Thus, the C major scale contains the notes ‘C – D – E – F – G – A – B’.

To create the C minor scale, we see that the notes C and D are separated by one whole step or tone. D and Eb, however, are separated by one semitone. When we use the formula to build minor scales, ‘W – H – W – W – H – W – W’, we can quickly find all the notes that make up the C minor scale.
As such, the C minor scale contains the notes ‘C – D – Eb – F – G – Ab – Bb’.

Remember that the interval between ‘B – C’ and ‘E – F’ equals one semitone – there are no sharps or flats.

Please note that this is only one way to create scales. There are several quicker ways to build scales, such as by using the Wheel of Fifths Songwriting Tool. Are you ready to integrate theory into your playing? Feel free to visit the Wheel of Fifths Shop.

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