For simplicity, we will learn this concept in the key of C because the key of C does not have sharps or flats, i.e. does not have the black notes that you see in the picture.








Remember at school when you were still young and you sung: do re mi fa so la ti do, this is a major scale. The major scale of C is

C D E F G A B C – do re mi fa so la ti do. This is a major scale.

As I said before, I am going to give minimum theory and more application. I will present this principle in the simplest way I know how.

Let us analyze this scale of C, what is the formula to forming it?

Whole and Half-steps

First you should notice that the notes on the piano are separated in terms of steps: half steps and whole steps, for example:

When you go from C to C# you take half a step

When you go from C# to D you take half a step

But, when you go from C to D, you take a whole step

Note that between C# and D there is no note and also between C and C# there is no note but between C and D there is a note, which is C#.

That is: ½step + ½ step = whole step

This is the most difficult part for most of my students, but it actually isn’t if you look and think about more than once!

I am going to spend a lot more time on this concept because it is so important!


Let us do a few examples, we will use the scale of C which has the following scale,

C–D– E – F–G–A - B

1 - 2 - 3 – 4 - 5 - 6 - 7










C and D are whole steps apart (which is 2 half-steps)

D and E are whole steps apart (which is 2 half-steps)

E and F are half-step apart (3 and 4)

F and G are whole steps apart (which is 2 half-steps)

G and A are whole steps apart (which is 2 half-steps)

B and C are half-step apart (7 and 8 or 1)

You can see from the above that when you go from E to F and from B to C you don’t jump any notes, you go STRAIGHT to the next note.

But, between C and D, D and E, G and A, A and B you will jump a note, for example: there is a note that you have to jump when you go from C to D, BUT you don’t skip any note between E and F!

Knowing this rule is key to knowing the rest of the scales on the piano. So, how do we form a major scale, say, in the key of Eb?

First we put down the numbers, also known as SCALE DEGREES:


Next we find the notes for this key:

Since we want the scale of Eb, Eb will therefore will be our ‘1’.

Our rule says 1 and 2(1 being Eb and 2 being F) are a whole step apart, therefore we will skip the E and go to F.

I can’t go to the E because our rule says that they have to be a whole step apart, so I have to skip the note E and go straight to F.

Now I am on F which is the second scale degree. What is the next scale degree?

Well, I have to jump the F# and go straight to G according to our rule.

Now I am on the 3rd scale degree, I see red because I will not jump any note, which means I just move on straight to Ab, that’s according to our rule. See red each time you are on the 3rd or 7th scale degree because when you are on these notes, when moving to the next note, you don’t jump you just move on.

You should be getting the drift by now! Finish the rest of the scale using the rule above.

Here are all the 12 major scales:

1 comment:

  1. hey thanks for these lessons man! most appreciated...