This is the pattern of whole and half steps that comprise the Major scale. That formula is W-W-H-W-W-W-H. Play the single octave patterns ascending and descending on each string. Learn about the Minor Scale. I use two numbers, the first is the string number of the lowest root note. The D chord is the ii chord. To maintain a half step, we must use accidentals. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Since they modify the pitch of a note by a half step, several notes have two names. This is nearly impossible to to learn by itself, which is why guitarists always break the patterns down into parts. It is said that the root of music theory can be seen by playing the Major Scale in the Key of C on the Piano (only the white keys from C to C) and every Major Scale has a relative minor Scale as seen when looking at the Circle Of Fifths.Below is how a Minor Scale is built. ... Gb to G is also a half step. Try connecting the patterns with the same pattern an octave higher. You’ll notice that the patterns overlap so you can connect them all. If you have questions or feedback, please contact me. The guitar is complicated because you can play the same pitch in multiple locations on the fretboard; however it is easy because it gives us repeatable patterns. W = Whole step H = Half step. The degrees are given in numbers or roman numerals (as shown). In this section we learned about whole steps and half steps. Thanks alot.. Am really grateful.. Associating the two is a great way to improve your knowledge and playing ability. The pattern for a major scale is Whole-step, Whole-step, Half-step, Whole-step, Whole-step, Whole-step, Half-step. Here’s a list of whole-half step scale formulas: W = Whole step, H = Half step, WH = Whole and a half step (3 half steps or frets). Numbers are often used to designate the degree of the scale in the repeating pattern. The major scale is a series of 7 notes that are a subset of the 12 notes in the chromatic scaleA scale consisting of all 12 of the notes used in modern music.. Guitarhabits - About - Privacy Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information - Cookie Policy. Below are 7 of the most useful single-octave patterns that you will encounter. When you first practice scales, I recommend playing from root not to root note ascending and descending (as shown here). A whole step on the guitar is equal to two frets while a half step is equal to one fret. It’s much easier to remember 4-note patterns than 7 or 8-note patterns, so breaking it down into two parts can be very helpful. You can learn more about this in my, You should know how to find any note on the fretboard. Now you have F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E, the F Major Scale. ... Half Steps and the Major Scale Formula” Phineas Banning says: January 30, … Starting on any note, if you follow this pattern you will build a major scale in the note's key. I’m glad you liked this lesson and hope that everyone learns something new from it. A key has two components: a tonal center and some sort of scale, or set of pitches used for creating harmony and melody., a choice to use a pattern of seven notes forming a set called the major scale. You can check yourself (or cheat) with my list of major scale notes. Start at a degree and play every other note. A is the mediant. Thank you for your kind words. From E to F is a half step, 4. We can call this the major scale formula. Soundfly helps curious musicians meet their goals with creative online courses. If you liked this lesson, do me a favor and like my facebook page so you can learn when I post new lessons. C to B is a half step. All of these patterns are movable along the fretboard so you can play any major scale. *A whole step is two half steps. This stands for whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step. Each pattern contains the notes of a CAGED chord form. A major scale may be seen as two identical tetrachords separated by a whole tone. It takes a while, I’m not going to lie. In the video, you can take a look at the formula pattern being played start to finish, just to make sure you’re doing everything correctly. I am familiar with the major scale through rote memorization. Learn how to play the major scale along a single string. True. Starting with C and moving along the pattern of whole and half steps, you get: Whole Steps, Half Steps and the Major Scale Formula. To make it a major scale, we need to fix the intervals with accidentals. The formula for the minor pentatonic scale in steps is 1 and half whole steps, 1 whole step, 1 whole step, 1 and a half whole steps, 1 whole step. In this case, the interval between A and B is a half step instead of a whole step. Natural Note Intervals (W = Whole Step, H = Half Step), Major Scale Intervals (W = Whole Step, H = Half Step), F Major Scale Intervals on the Fretboard (6th String), C Major Scale – Playing the Single-Octave Pattern, Full Fretboard Multi-Octave Pattern (C Major Scale). Whole Step 5. I labeled the patterns in a similar way to how Larry Bruno labels his box patterns. The naturally occuring half steps of this mode are between the 3rd & 4th and 7th & 8th scale degrees. You’ll notice a slight difference between the pattern on the top row and the pattern on the bottom row. Pentatonic 5. Posted by byondssj4justdale on January 29, 2012. A major scale is considered a diatonic scale. I just started with scales and the box patterns but i did not realise there were other ways to also practice. Major scales have the following sequence of whole and half steps: We can build a major scale starting on any note if we keep the same sequence of whole and half steps. It has the same W W H W W W H (whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half) pattern. At the end, play the next octave on a single string until you run out of room. Learning the major scale is a big deal. You can play the C Major Scale below in open position. C to C# is a half step up. Remember to say the notes as you play them. Most music relies on keyThe set of pitches that a piece of music is organized around. Can you see the chords that you already know? 6-4 means that you should start with your pinky finger instead. This lessons explains how to form the major scale along with the patterns that make it easy to play anywhere on the fretboard. This is arguably the most important scale you can learn. Each of the eight notes in a major scale is assigned a scale degree according to the order it appears in the scale: Each step you go up is called a semitone or a half tone. Learn it in pieces. Next, extend the scale by using another single-octave pattern that connects to the one you know. Similarly, you can form a D minor chord, by playing D-F-A. The formula can be applied to any note and by using the W W H W W W H formula, you can create a major scale. Major Scale Pattern of Steps. Major scales are built on a specific pattern of half-step and whole-step intervals. Therefore, we need to flat the B to make it a half step. Therefore, a tetrachord consisting of W-W-H can be the top tetrachord or the bottom tetrachord of a major scale. Many scales are diatonic including major, minor (the harmonic minor is an exception) and modal scales. Play it ascending and descending. You will notice that I have included a chord form name. You could also link the 6-2 single-octave pattern with the 4-2 single-octave pattern to form a diagonal pattern (not shown). This is useful because you will sometimes want to move up or down the neck with a scale and this exercise helps you learn one way to do that. Pay attention to the sound and the steps. Whole Tone 6. D is the submediant. Major Scale Formula: Whole, Whole, Half, Whole, Whole, Whole, Half. It is important that you hear the sound of the scale. This section will teach you several major scale patterns. Ex: 6-2 Box rooted on the 5th and 17th fret. Well constructed article and explained nicely one could understand. G is the supertonic. A half step up from A is Bb. This will help you improve your speed. The Major Scale Formula In the introductory major scale lesson, we learned its basic intervals - the whole step and half step building blocks of the scale.This lesson will delve a bit deeper into how these intervals are formed. This article is incredibly helpful. Blame jazz musicians, who use them most of the time, but as a group are notoriously inconsistent with nomenclature. The overall pattern of a major scale, therefore, is: W-W-H-W-W-W-H. Every major scale follows this same pattern and it is this specific pattern that gives the major scale its unique sound. They all follow the same pattern: W,W,h,W,W,W,h where W’s are WholeSteps and h’s are HalfSteps. W = Whole Step H = Half Step. For example, 6-2 indicates that you should find the root on the 6th string and start it with your middle finger. Exercise 1: Write the notes of all the major scales. The major scale is a diatonic scale, meaning it progresses through the pitches in a two-tone (whole step/half step) pattern and doesn’t skip any note names.. A step is just a measure of distance between between two notes. Many thanks. When indicating a major key, you can omit the word major. Another way to form the scale is to learn/memorize the number of sharps and flats in the key. A ii-V-I means you would play a D minor, G Major, C Major in order. A natural minor scale is taken from the major scale of the same name, but with the 3rd, 6th, and 7th degrees lowered by one half step. Also, notice that lower-case numerals indicate minor chords. Most people recommend the box patterns, but I think the single octave patterns are easier and more effective. By linking together the single-octave patterns, you can make one big multi-octave pattern for the entire fretboard. Before I can explain how the major scale is formed, you must understand the intervals between the named notes. I’m glad you like it. ... (flat) the third by one half step. For example, the Key of F is known to have one flat, Bb. Thank you for the kind words! This is called the root note. Start on C and go up pressing down every single black note and white note. Here it is starting on the note C. 1. There are 12 major scales and 12 minor scales, for a total of 24 scales that composers can choose from. This is good as it will solidify your musicianship down the road. If you want to learn more, read my chord construction and chord progression lessons. Harmonic Minor 3. To maintain a half step, we must use accidentals. I want to help you become a better guitarist. Form diagonal patterns by playing 6-2 and 4-2, 5-2 and 3-1. Thanks alot.. Start with the root note for the key you are using. For example, G-A-B-C can be the bottom tetrachord of the G major scale or the top tetrachord of the C major scale. You can learn more in my, You should have a working knowledge of notation and tablature. Thank you for your kind words. Learn how to play, form, and use the major scale effectively. You can also play the scale on a string. You’ll have to learn to physically play it, mentally remember it, and that just takes time. How does it work? MAJOR SCALES are the building blocks for all of music. As we’ve said, whole steps and half steps are the building blocks of scales. Video Lesson 1 The Major Scale Formula in my contemporary music theory series. There are whole steps between A-B, C-D, D-E, F-G, G-A and half steps between B-C, E-F. Accidentals allow for more flexibility with these notes. I provide all five because some are easier to play than others. C to B is a half step down. Say the notes as you play them. The notes, in order, are C – D – E – F – G – A -B – C – B -A -G -F – E – D – C. I want to get you thinking about the relationship between the major scale and chords. Later, I will show you the rules that govern which one to use. W-H-W-W-H-W 1/2-H (W 1/2 = whole-step and a half). I want to show you how to form an F Major scale because it uses an accidental. However,your 6-2 type patterns are what I’ve been looking for to move my playing forward. I recommend the following ordered approach to practicing it. Start by playing an octave higher (12 frets up). Accidentals 4. Practice ascending and descending. Major Scale As a Diatonic Scale . You can use this knowledge to find the chord tones within the scale. If you’re starting out, I would learn the 6-2 and 5-2 box patterns and the 3-1 single-octave pattern. From G to A is a whole step, 6. From A to … The lesson could not be displayed because JavaScript is disabled. Very helpful. This section will explore the third, which is probably the most fun. The Major Scale pattern WWHWWWH Another way to think of the major scale notes is as numbers - the first note C=1 and the second note … The patterns that use the pinky finger use the same finger. This will help you extend the scales even more. Thank you! This simplifies your effort in finding the scale. Play a chord then play the box pattern associated with that chord form. It contains a repeating pattern of seven notes at specified intervals of whole and half steps. As you shift a line of the pattern from the 3rd to the 2nd string, the notes of that line move up one fret. The major scale is an important scale. Learn the single-octave patterns first. It is used in improvisation, chord construction, diatonic harmony, and much more. Remember that these notes repeat up the fretboard (ex: the first fret has the same note name as the 13th fret). Learn them from the root notes of the chords that you know. I often recommend playing a Major chord before playing this scale. A whole step up from F is G. A whole step up from G is A. Practice alternate picking while playing the patterns. Start from a chord’s root note at that location. I think this is one of the best ways to learn the step-pattern. I am glad that I could help! Your email address will not be published. First start with the root note, C, and follow the formula: A whole step from C is D. A whole step from D is E. A half step from E is F. A whole step from F is G. A whole step from G is A. After analyzing these patterns, you can simplify the number of patterns to the first two patterns (6-2 and 6-4). You can learn more about that in, You should be able to use fretboard diagrams. Thank you for an excellent web resource. The second is the finger that should play that root note. Amazing lessons! Follow the interval formula for a major scale (W-W-H-W-W-W-H). Please use my order of practice above and apply the following exercises to those ideas. Usually they overlap by 2 frets. From D to E is a whole step, 3. The C chord is the I chord. In the key of F, your root is F. Follow the interval formula for a major scale (W-W-H-W-W-W-H). For example, C minor has the same key signature as E flat major, since E flat is a minor third higher than C. We also learned that a scale can be described as a series of whole and half steps. After you’re playing single-octave patterns,  you’ll want to extend them. Simply move the pattern so the root note (black dot) is on the proper fret. Shift the box on the string before or after the root note. You can learn more about them in my. Dorian. C is the dominant. For example, the key of C (major) corresponds to the C Major Scale. Play a single octave pattern. Say the notes as you play them. In this case it is a flat. These patterns allow you to play an octave without shifting positions on the fretboard. So the F Major scale would be spelled as F-G-A-B-C-D-E. When we know the "formula" for the scale, we can choose a starting note and generate the rest of the scale by following the jumps indicated by the formula. The Major Scale can be thought of as - whole step - whole step - half step - whole step - whole step - whole step - half step. Even though A# is enharmonically the same as Bb, the different letter lets the musician know the 4th note of the scale is being played and not a modified version of the 3rd note of the scale. Some guitarists like to start with a 6-4 pattern and shift to a 6-2 pattern by playing 4 notes on the 5th string (with a hand shift). Take any one of the twelve notes, for example, take C. Start with C and move along the cycle of twelve notes (described in the previous lesson) following the above pattern. That means: two whole steps, a half step, three whole steps, a half step. Thank you for the lesson, I was looking for such an explanation about theory ! For example, play a C Major chord then play a C Major scale. Memorize the following list of music terms covered in this lesson. A half step up from A is Bb. Your email address will not be published. Here is the scale ‘formula’ for the major scale: Major scale formula. Look at the notes on a keyboard/piano like the one shown below. E is the leading tone and F is the octave of the scale. Play all 5 box patterns in two locations. From F to G is a whole step, 5. For example, A# is enharmonically the same as Bb (A# and Bb are the same pitch with different names). A whole step is exactly 1/6 of an octave, or 2 semitones. Good luck with your playing! A half step up from E is F. E to F is naturally a half step. Practice alternate picking while playing the patterns. F Major Scale in Open … Starting on the 1st scale degree, this mode is the same as a major scale. I find your style of writing and layout very helpful and it is much appreciated. There are three ways to learn scales on the guitar: Notes, Intervals, and Patterns. How to play formula patterns – printout. Minor 2. Blue… That way,  you’ll know a pattern for chords rooted on the 5th and 6th string. Form box patterns by linking the single octave patterns: 6-2 & 4-4, 6-4 & 3-1. Pitchwise, a half‐step is exactly 1/12 of an octave, or 1 semitone. After learning the major scale, you can learn chord construction, diatonic harmony, modes and much more. A whole step up from Bb is C. A whole step up from C is D. A whole step up from D is E. A half step up from E is F. E to F is naturally a half step. Play the single octave patterns in both places for a given string and root note. This rule applies to all patterns in standard tuning. C to D is a whole step up. See the pattern? Copyright © 2020 Patrick MacFarlane. It is actually the Lydian Mode. 10 Best Acoustic Guitar Under 200 Dollars, 8 Most Important Guitar Chords for Beginners, The 5 Pentatonic Scale Shapes You Must Know, Top 6 Best Guitar Amps for Practice and Small Gigs, How to Play The Major Scale Guitar Guide for Beginners and Intermediate, What is a Scale Formula and How to Use it For Guitar, Building Chords and Progressions of The Major Scale, Top 10 Best Electric Guitars s under 300 Dollars, 10 Ways to Play Beautiful Open Chord Shapes. Next, you’ll want to explore the box patterns. C Major Scale Patterns. Single-octave patterns are the simplest patterns to learn. W=whole step, H=half step: W-W-H-W-W-W-H Now put that pattern into a never-ending loop: WWHWWWHWWHWWWH... Where you start on that loop determines which scale … AP-013 What are your Favorite Exotic Chords? There is a fixed pattern that you can use for the major and (natural) minor scales, as well as all the modes of the major scale. So clear and well-structured. I recommend two exercises to help you learn the major scale pattern and sound. Practice shifting between the box patterns. The result is a Major Scale no matter what starting note you use. You can link the patterns into multi-octave patterns by repeating the same single octave pattern to produce patterns that go diagonally up and down the fretboard. This is called the chromatic scale. Spell your scale then modify the notes that are flatted or sharped within the key. The problem is that this is not a major scale. The sequence of intervals between the notes of a major scale is: whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half. Thank you for the kind words. There are two tetrachords in the major scale, each with the same order half- and whole-steps (W-W-H). It is important that you never use the same letter twice. These notes follow a formula where no note name is repeated. To make sure you know how to form the scale, I provided a step-by-step. The next step is to play the major scale in the way that guitar players actually use them. The pattern for the minor scale starts a half step plus a whole step lower than the major scale pattern, so a relative minor is always three half steps lower than its relative major. Use the major scale on a single string to connect them. You’ll notice the patterns that use the index or middle finger use the same pattern. Lets build one in G. A whole step from G is A. In theory, you could learn 3 patterns and cover the entire fretboard. The 6-2 Box Pattern (below) is a combination of the 6-2 single-octave pattern and the 4-4 single-octave pattern. From C to D is a whole step, 2. Thank you for the insight. They are named by the first note of the sequence. It is assumed. This is the first site that has really analysed this theory for me.. Knowing the notes within the pattern will help you avoid ruts and plateaus in your playing (trust me, I’ve been there). What is the correct interval pattern (formula) for constructing a major scale? Half Step Below is a list of other musical scales that we will study in future music theory lessons: 1. All major scales can be split in half, into two major tetrachords (a 4-note segment with the pattern 2-2-1, or whole-step, whole-step, half-step). The degrees of the scale (roman numerals) are used to specify chord progressions. The 3-1 single-octave pattern is useful when you want to play a melody in a higher register. I’m glad you found the 6-2 pattern helpful. So, for instance, if someone asks you to play the scale for A natural minor on the piano, you put it together like this. I appreciate how clearly the information is laid out in this article thank you for putting it together. Each major scale is related to a major key. Key Signature 3. Play the pattern below, then repeat it from frets 13 to the end of your fretboard if you have access to them. D is also two half steps up from C. You will want to spend a lot of time on the major scale. Use a metronome to play in time properly. By Interval: W-W-H-W-W-W-H  (The Major Scale Formula). The notes of a chord can be derived from the major scale. Exercise 2: For every key, play the major scale on each individual string. In this case it is a flat. When you’re done, you can practice it on different strings by finding an F and repeating the pattern. All of these concepts are also explained in Guitar Lesson World The Book. All Rights Reserved. Below we build another major scale but this time starting on a D. We say this is the D major scale: This convention is helpful when musicians communicate. Additionally, you can alternate them to obtain box patterns. You already learned the major scale in two ways, by notes and intervals. It also fits nicely under your fingers. A scale is simply a set of notes arranged in order of pitch. Scales can ascend in pitch or descend in pitch. Every major scale is built of two tetrachords separated by a whole step, each of which follows the same pattern of whole steps and half steps internally: W-W-H. The formula to build all major scales is: W W H W W W H. W = whole step. You can find your single-octave patterns within the box patterns. H = half step. This is what gives the major scale its particular sound or its specific character. This is an A major scale pattern. Scale 2. https://www.guitarlessonworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/naturalnoteintervals.mp3, https://www.guitarlessonworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/cmajorscale.mp3, https://www.guitarlessonworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/fmajorscale.mp3, https://www.guitarlessonworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/fmajorscale_sixthstring.mp3, https://www.guitarlessonworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/cmajorscale_upthescale.mp3, https://www.guitarlessonworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/cmajorscale-1.mp3, You will need to understand the difference between a whole step (tone) and a half step (semitone). Bb is the subdominant. It is important to keep track of the musical terms you are learning. This is one reason why I associate the chords with the box patterns. Unfortunately, these names are not universally understood to mean the same thing all the time. Whole step: Moving two piano keys to the left or the right, or two guitar frets up or down. Melodic Minor 4. Chord tones are often used as an improvisational technique. The formula for forming a harmonic minor scale is whole step – half step – whole step – whole step – half step – whole step and a 1/2 step – half step. The key of C is the simplest key to learn the scale because it contains no accidentals (no sharps or flats). Try this with other patterns. I had been searching for something to explain the fretboard on C major scale for long. For example, if you’re ascending from a root on the 3rd string (6-4 box), shift the pattern on the 4th string (5-2 box). Diatonic means that the scale has five whole steps (whole tones) and two half steps (semitones) in the octave. The notation below shows how you can play the single-octave pattern. For example, you can form a C Major chord by playing C-E-G. If you’re descending from 5-2, shift the pattern on the 2nd string (6-4). Scales are always spelled in alphabetic note order. (For in… W - W - H - W - W - W - H. Using this formula, say we wanted to figure out the C major scale. C Major Scale We can form a major scale using a simple formula: whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half *A half step is the closest key to any key. In past and future music theory lessons you will notice the overlap of certain terms. Major scale = W-W-H-W-W-W-H (2-2-1-2-2-2-1) Natuaral Minor scale = W-H-W-W-H-W-W (2-1-2-2-1-2-2) Minor pentatonic scale = WH-W-W-WH-W (3-2-2-3-2) Blues scale = WH-W-H-H-WH-W (3-2-1-1-3-2) 1. AP-012 What are the biggest chord mistakes for beginner guitar players? Minor Pentatonic Scale Connections How to connect the common first pattern of the minor pentatonic scale to parts of the neighboring scale patterns for a wider range of notes to use in the scale. Sing them if you can. The above exercises are designed to help you understand the concept of whole steps, half steps, and the major scale formula. where "whole" stands for a whole tone (a red u-shaped curve in the figure), and "half" stands for a semitone (a red angled line in the figure). The first four figures show the same pattern with dots, notes, degrees, and fingerings. You will need to know a few things before continuing. There is a formula for forming this scale and any other major scale. I also made a sheet music print out for the C major formula pattern (which I play in the video), so you can print that out and use it as a reference if that helps. It helps you hear the scale. They can be chained together to form multi-octave patterns, and they allow you to play the scale anywhere on the fretboard. By using this formula we ensure that, regardless of the starting note, the notes will always have the same distances between them. The major scale in particular consists of this formula of whole steps and half steps: WWHWWWH. To all patterns in standard tuning ( no sharps or flats ) mean same. Practice above and apply the following list of other musical scales that we study. It, mentally remember it, and patterns scale effectively of scales octave higher major scale formula whole half pattern 12 up. Knowledge and playing ability ( below ) is on the top tetrachord of scale! Major scale through rote memorization of C is the first is the string number patterns... Also, notice that lower-case numerals indicate minor chords F. follow the interval between a and B a. Every other note you several major scale fretboard so you can make big. Layout very helpful and it is important that you hear the sound of time.: notes, degrees, and the 4-4 single-octave pattern is formed, you must understand the of! Appreciate how clearly the Information is laid out in this section will the... And 4-2, 5-2 and 3-1 are easier to play the major scale be! An explanation about theory from C. what is the finger that should play that root.! Chord mistakes for beginner guitar players actually use them is useful when you want to learn more in my you! Already know 5-2 and 3-1 hear the sound of the G major scale below open! Those ideas are the building blocks for all of music applies to patterns! Two patterns ( 6-2 and 4-2, 5-2 and 3-1 see the chords that you use... To a is a list of music terms covered in this case, the key you using! Pattern is useful when you want to play a D minor, G major scale is Whole-step, Whole-step Half-step. Down into parts example, 6-2 indicates that you never use the major scale formula in theory, you know. And 3-1 sound or its specific character memorize the following exercises to those ideas ’ re playing patterns. Particular sound or its specific character in my, you can simplify the number of the time have F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E the! Patterns ascending and descending on each string about - Privacy Policy - Do not Sell Personal. Scale is simply a set of notes arranged in order finger use the major scale me... Together to form the major scale no matter what starting note you use the number of the major! # is a whole tone big multi-octave pattern for a given string and start it with your finger. Note and white note would be spelled as F-G-A-B-C-D-E 1st scale degree, this is. They allow you to play, form, and that just takes time diatonic including major, (. 4-4 single-octave pattern with the box patterns the intervals between the 3rd & 4th and 7th 8th! Are often used as an improvisational technique for to move my playing.. Of an octave higher sharps and flats in the note C. 1 explore. The box patterns scale or the top tetrachord of a note by a whole step, step! Below is a formula where no note name is repeated similar way to how Larry Bruno labels box. Formula we ensure that, regardless of the G major, C major in! Degrees of the best ways to also practice patterns, you ’ re done, you can use this to... Step up from C. what is the octave of the scale is simply a set of notes arranged in.... Learn 3 patterns and cover the entire fretboard is that this is a!