Without any foreword, here’s our favorite C major scale:

C major scale

C major scale

The formula of a major scale from its tonic to its next higher octave is WWHWWWH (C goes a whole step to D etc.) where W = whole step and H = half step. The major scale is always used as a standard when comparing different scales hence the 7 degrees of the scale are all natural.

This is a C minor scale:

C minor scale

C minor scale

Compared to C major, C minor has an Eb, Ab and Bb. Hence, a minor scale has a flat-3rd, flat-6th and flat-7th compared to a major scale. These intervals are also called the minor-3rd, minor-6th and minor-7th respectively. The formula of a minor scale goes WHWWHWW.

The major and minor scales are 2 of the most important if not the most important scales. It is essential to know how the scales sound like. To put it in words, the major scale sounds happy while the minor scale sounds sad. A major scale harmonizes in 3rds to a major chord while the minor scale harmonized to a minor chord (duh!). Another essential thing to know is the 7 modes of a major scale where by playing the major scale from different degrees of the scale we get different modes that correspond to chords formed from the notes we start with. In modes ‘language’, the major and minor scale are called the Ionian and Aeolian modes respectively.

PS: I’m not writing these “Practicing Modes” lessons (look at published date) in sequence because whenever I’m writing on something, I always think I could’ve done a prequel! Once I get everything down I will compile them together and possibly release an ebook as well!


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