The Major Scale

Have you ever heard the phrase 'Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do' (in Solfeggio) being sung? That’s a Major scale! It's constructed from seven notes. The best way to see this is to look at the white keys on a piano, starting at middle C, our Major scale would be comprised of these notes: C, D, E, F, G, A and B.

Look at how these notes are positioned, notice that E & F have no black key between them, the same goes forB & C, this is because they are only a Semitone appart, and the Major Scale always follows this pattern of:

Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semitone or T,T,S,T,T,T,S for short. (In Intervals, that's: Root, Maj 2nd, Maj 3rd, Per 4th, Per 5th, Maj 6th, Maj 7th we'll talk about this in the Intervals Section later)

What about the black keys?

Well the key of C Major had no sharps or flats, therefore no black keys. This is also why the white keys of C & B and also E & F have no black key between them.

We won’t be so lucky with A, G, E and D. So let’s concentrate on C Major for learning purposes. C Major is the basis for all music, it’s the ultimate Major Scale, from which other scales and associated chords are derived. However, it’s also the easiest to learn.

These notes also have positions and names within the Scale, which help us to determine there job within that scale, like so...

Degree I II III IV V VI VII
Name Tonic Supertonic Mediant Subdominant Dominant Submediant Leading Tone
Note C D E F G A B

So a 'Leading Tone' would lead us back to the 'Tonic' note, this shift from the VII degree of the scale (aka 'Leading Tone') back to I degree (aka 'Tonic') is called 'Resolution'. A 'Dominant' note will also lead us towards the 'Tonic' and resolution.

On the Fretboard the notes of C Major this looks like...

WOW! Lots of notes! You’re probably asking yourself how you’re ever going to memorise all those notes.

In a future section we'll break it down into smaller pieces and related it to our CAGED positions on the fretboard.