A Guide To Guitar Chords

How To Construct Major Scales

The major scale is the foundation of Western music. This music theory tutorial will teach you how to construct major scales in any key. Knowing how to create major scales is required knowledge to create guitar chords.

Let's start with the C major scale:

C Major Scale C    D    E    F    G    A   B

All notes in the C major scale are natural notes, that means notes without #'s or b's. A # (sharp) raises a note with a half step and a b (flat) lowers a note with a half step.

Let's have a look at the intervals between the notes of C major. Between C and D are 2 half steps, between D and E also 2 half ste^ps, between E and F is only 1 half step, between F and G are again 2 half steps, between G and A also 2 half steps, between A and B 2 half steps and between B and C only 1 half step.

This interval structure is essential for the sound of the major scale and can be easily remembered with a scale formula:
Scale formula for major scales: 2 2 1 2 2 2 1

Remember that between every note in the scale are always 2 half steps, except between E & F and B & C (1 half step).

Let's try the scale formula and find ourselves the major scale of D.

  • The first note is of course a D.
  • The first interval in the scale formula is a 2. So from the D we have got to go 2 half steps further: D to D# to E. So the second note of the scale is an E.
  • The second interval in the scale formula is again a 2. So from E we have got to go 2 half steps further: from E to F to F#.The third note of the scale is an F#.
  • The next interval is a 1. From F# we go 1 half step further: G.
  • The next interval is a 2: G to G# to A.
  • The next interval is a 2: A to A# to B.
  • The next interval is a 2: B to C to C#.
  • The last interval is a 1: C# to D

So the D major scale looks like this:

D Major Scale D    E    F#    G    A    B    C#

 

Let's do 1 more together, the major scale of F.

  • The first note is F
  • 2 further: G
  • 2 further: A
  • 1 further: not B because that would be 2 half steps further, but Bb.
  • 2 further: C
  • 2 further: D
  • 2 further: E
  • 1 further: F

F major scale:

F Major Scale F    G    A    Bb    C     D     E

 

Try the other scales for yourself. Here are the solutions:

C Major Scale C D E F G A B
C# Major Scale C# D# E# F# G# A# B#
D Major Scale D E F# G A B C#
Eb Major Scale Eb F G Ab Bb C D
E Major Scale E F# G# A B C# D#
F Major Scale F G A Bb C D E
F# Major Scale F# G# A# B C# D# E#
G Major Scale G A B C D E F#
Ab Major Scale Ab Bb C Db Eb F G
A Major Scale A B C# D E F# G#
Bb Major Scale Bb C D Eb F G A
B Major Scale B C# D# E F# G# A#

 

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