Category: Lessons, Music Theory
Now for one quick roundup of all of the information we have learned about major scales and major key signatures. This is intended to be a brief review, and more information on each specific area can be found in previous lessons. I will try to include links.
The major scale is a diatonic scale, meaning it contains 7 distinct notes. A scale is a sequence of ascending or descending notes. A major sclae has 2 tetrachords that follow the same pattern (TONE-TONE-SEMITONE). In a major scale, the tetrachords are separated by a half. A major scale follows the pattern: TONE-TONE-SEMITONE-TONE-TONE-TONE-SEMITONE.
Remember that a tone is 2 steps on the piano, and a semitone is 1 step – or the smallest distance between any two notes on the piano. You can review tones and semitones here.
Let’s build a major scale starting on A flat. I like to picture a piano keyboard when I am building my scales, that way I can see where the tones and semitones are. If you a beginner, drawing out a picture of a piano keyboard isn’t a bad way to start. In fact, I would even go so far as to suggest that it is a good way to start!
Here is the A flat major scale. As you can see, there are quite a few notes that land on the black keys. The arrows between the notes indicate the tones and semitones. The red arrows are whole tones, and the blue arrows are semitones.