We now have to examine the intervals between each and every note to see that they conform to this pattern. If they don't, we can use accidentals (sharps and flats) to make them conform.
We start by looking at the first two notes, 'F' and 'G'. What is the distance between these two notes? It is a whole tone. Therefore, the first interval in the pattern, 'Tone', is correct, and we can go on.
Now let's look at the 2nd and 3rd notes, the 'G' and 'A'. The distance between these two notes is a whole tone, so that conforms to the second interval requirement, tone. On we go!
Our next notes to examine are the 3rd and 4th notes, the 'A' and 'B'. This forms a whole tone. But our major-scale pattern says that there should only be a semitone between these two notes. No problem! We'll just lower the B to a B-flat, and now it's a semitone.
Here's what we've got so far:
We show whole tones with a square bracket and semitones with a slur (curve).
Just keep going, checking each interval between all notes in the scale. You will find that in this scale, the B-flat is the only accidental that we have to use. Here is the complete correct F-major scale:
An F-major scale, as you can see, has one flat. It is the only major scale that has one flat. All the different major scales use their own set of accidentals. In the next lesson, you'll learn how to make a proper key signature from the accidentals that are used.
Make sure that you write your scale using the process mentioned above. Start with one octave of notes, THEN make your adjustments if necessary.
For practice, try writing an A-major scale in the bass clef. Just go back to Step 1 and start on an 'A'. If done correctly, this is what it will look like:
If you are asked to write a scale in a descending pattern, you simply reverse the order of the Tone - Semitone pattern. Here is an A-major scale descending:
For more practice on major scales before you take the quiz, here is a practice sheet with another way of doing major scales (may take time to down load, large gif.). Here is another way of memorizing major scales:
To take the quiz, click "Quiz" above, then print the resulting page and complete it.
-Back to index-