Posted by: Corey | January 24, 2012

Scales Made Easy – The Formula

A scale is a series of ascending or descending notes that usually outline a key. You know what a basic major scale sounds like if you’ve ever heard this:

Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do

To build a scale, we use whole steps and half steps.

Half Step: One note to the next immediate note. This is one key on the piano to the next (INCLUDING black keys), or one fret to the next on guitar. For example:

C to C#

E To F

Whole Step: Two half steps. For example:

C to D

B to C#

To build a scale, pick any note, then use this formula.

Whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half.

or

W-W-H W-W-W-H

So for instance let’s start on D (and get to an instrument to try this out!)

Then a whole step (WWHWWWH) gets you to E.

From there, another whole step (WWHWWWH) gives you F#

Then a half step (WWHWWWH) – G

Then a whole step (WWHWWWH) – A

Then a whole step (WWHWWWH) – B

Then a whole step (WWHWWWH) – C#

Then a half step (WWHWWWH) – D

Bam. D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D. There’s a D scale! You can see why its usually recommended that you learn your different scales and what notes are in them. You don’t want to have to walk through this every time you want to jam or write a song! But it’s a great place to start, and you can use this formula to find out every note in every key 🙂

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Responses

  1. […] heard a major scale. I get into more detail on how to make scales here, and if you don’t know how to do make a scale on any note you should DEFINITELY read that […]

  2. […] Pick any note from the scale. Using the D scale that we figured out in scales-the formula, we could pick D, E, F#, G, A, B, or C#. Let’s pick D to start […]


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