The C major, scale starting on C

Can you read this?


By now, you should be able to realize these notes;

What we know

The C major scale is simply the alphabet starting on C, reverting to A once you pass G, and so on and on seemingly forever.

Let’s remember how pitch actually works - in a mathematical sense - by looking at the Grand Staff page in Basics, which shows the relationship between the pitches and frequency.

The C major scale is all white keys on the piano.

But what exactly is the C major scale?

1.) No doubt it is the most used scale in western music, but it is also vitally important when it comes to learning the language which musicians use to describe any musical content.

2.) Structure

Here we have ALL 12 notes starting and ending on C

(also known as the C chromatic scale)

The distance between each note is 1 HALF STEP

2 Half Steps make 1 WHOLE STEP

Here we have ALL 12 notes starting and ending on C,

but the notes which are in the C major scale have been circled.

The pattern of the whole steps and half steps is the structure of the major scale.

(Meaning we could take this pattern, start it on any of the 12 notes, and we would get a major scale.)


Here’s a clip of a never ending stream of the chromatic scale;

now we’ll take our major scale structure -

and start it on C#, instead of C

Great. If we played these circled notes, we would hear a C# major scale.

But there are problems with this;

1.) An F AND an F#

2.) A C AND a C#

For clarity and practice, we will call  the  F  an  E# , and the  C  a   B# . This concept is known as ENHARMONICS, and if you don’t quite understand what’s going on here, you can read the section in Notation Skills. This way we use all the letters on the staff. The purpose of this is to give the reader a clear sense of what key we’re in.

The Major Scale
2. IntervalsIntervals.html
3. Relative and ParallelRelative_and_Parallel.html
4. Intro to ModesIntro_to_Modes.html
5. Other ScalesOther_Scales.html