Hobbies Playing Music Everything You Need to Know About Major Scales in Music How to Form a Major Scale in Any Key Share PINTEREST Email Print cintascotch / Getty Images Playing Music Music Education Music Theory Basics Music History Music Lessons Playing Guitar Playing Piano Home Recording By Espie Estrella Espie Estrella is a lyricist, songwriter, and member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International. our editorial process Espie Estrella Updated February 19, 2020 Scales refer to a series of notes that go in an ascending and descending manner. The major scale is the foundation from which all other scales are formed. The notes on a major scale are numbered from 1 to 8, this signifies the intervals. Formula to Form a Major Scale There is a simple formula you can apply to form a major scale: whole step—whole step—half step—whole step—whole step—whole step—half step Keep in mind, there are 12 semitones (or notes) that form an octave in western music. There are whole tones and halftones. The halftones are formed by going a half-step up or down from the whole tone. Each of the semitones makes up the 12 semitones. Going a half-step is the smallest interval in western music. The formula to form a major scale involves using whole steps and half steps. Major Scale in Every Key A C major scale begins with a C and ends with a C. It is the simplest to write in notation and demonstrate on a piano. It has no sharps or flats. On a piano, it is played by going from the C note on a keyboard, striking each key after it until you reach the next C—all white keys in succession from one C to the next. Playing from C to C is the completion of an octave (eight notes). The same rule applies to the rest of the keys where a D major scale begins and ends with a D and so on. Key Notes That Form the Scale C C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C D D - E - F# - G - A - B - C# - D E E - F# - G# - A - B - C# - D# - E F F - G - A - Bb - C - D - E - F G G - A - B - C - D - E - F# - G A A - B - C# - D - E - F# - G# - A B B - C# - D# - E - F# - G# - A# - B C Sharp C# - D# - E# (=F) - F# - G# - A# - B# (=C) - C# D Flat Db - Eb - F - Gb - Ab - Bb - C - Db E Flat Eb - F - G - Ab - Bb - C - D -Eb F Sharp F# - G# - A# - B - C# - D# - E# (=F) - F# G Flat Gb - Ab - Bb - Cb (=B) - Db - Eb - F - Gb A Flat Ab - Bb - C - Db - Eb - F - G - Ab B Flat Bb - C - D - Eb - F - G - A - Bb Major Scale As a Diatonic Scale A major scale is considered a diatonic scale. Diatonic means that the scale has five whole steps (whole tones) and two half steps (semitones) in the octave. Many scales are diatonic including major, minor (the harmonic minor is an exception) and modal scales. Minor Scales: Natural, Harmonic, and Melodic What Is a Chromatic Scale? The Italian Commands of Piano Music The I - IV - V Chord Pattern major scale Semitone Natural Notes, Natural Signs and Accidentals in Music Introduction to Major and Minor Piano Scales Definition and Examples of Melodic Intervals Overview of Pentatonic Scales in Music Theory Table of Intervals in Music Theory Printable Piano Lesson Book triad Different Meanings of Tone in Music Beginner Piano Book: Lesson Two What are Intervals?