In this lesson we’re going to have a look the Major scale. Now when it comes to scales C Major is the best place to start because it doesn’t have any sharps or flats (black notes). This will help us get an understanding of how scales work before we start to tackle the more complicated scales. So the notes we have in a C Major scale are C D E F G A B then back to C. The distance from the bottom C to the top C is called an octave. This is the distance of 8 notes. Octave referring to the Latin work Octavus meaning eight.
Now if we look at the intervals between each note, from the C to the D we have a tone, from the D to the E we have a tone, then from the E to F we have a semitone, from the F to the G we have a tone, G to A we have a tone, A to B we have a tone and finally from the B to the C we have a semitone.
If we look at this pattern we have tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone (T T S T T T S). This is the same for any scale. If were to take any note on the piano and follow the pattern of T T S T T T S we could work out that notes in that scale. If we were to play a song that only uses the notes of the C Major scale, we say that that song is in the key of C Major. One thing to note when working out the notes of a scale is that it has to go up exponentially (not missing any note out) and we can’t use the same note twice. For example, the scale of D Major starts D E F# G. Each letter has to follow on from the other we can’t have D E Gb G (even though these are the same notes) because we would have missed out the F and we would have used the G twice. This is the reason that sometimes we have to use sharps (#) and sometimes we use flats (b).