13.Introduction to the Scale

Steps of the Scale 

There are many different types of scales, in this chapter we are going to look at the major scale. The major scale is a particular sequence of whole steps and half steps encompassing 8 pitches. The sequence in ascending order are as follow: whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step.

We call the preceding diagram a ‘C’ major scale, since the sequence of whole steps and half steps begins on ‘C’. It is very important to understand as long as the sequence of whole steps and half steps remains the same, a scale may begin on any pitch. Here is an example of a ‘G’ major scale. It has the same sequence of whole steps and half steps, but because it begins and ends on ‘G’ it is called ‘G’ major scale rather than a ‘C’ major scale. 

As you can see, the ‘C’ major scale consisted of all white keys (no sharps or flats), whereas the ‘G’ major scale contains one black key (an ‘F sharp’). A black key is used to maintain the sequence of whole steps and half steps. For example, if ‘F’ was used instead of ‘F sharp’, the sequence of whole steps and half steps would have been; whole, whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole. This would not be a major scale. It would also sound very different from a major scale due to the difference in the sequential order of whole steps and half steps.  

Here is the ‘G’ major scale on the staff. 

(Chapter 13 – Audio Sample 1)

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