Let’s look at how to build an F major scale on the piano. We’ll also learn the pattern for building any major scale.
What Are Major Scales?
Major scales are groups of eight notes, played in alphabetical order, starting and ending on the same note. They’re groups of notes used to write songs.
Songs written in the key of F major used the notes of the F major scale to write the song.
How to Build Any Major Scale
To build an F major scale, we first need to look at the pattern for building any major scale. Major scales are built using a pattern of half-steps and whole steps.
A half-step is the distance from one note to the very next, whether black or white.
A whole step is the distance from one note to two away, whether black or white. A whole step is two half-steps.
Major scales are named after their starting note, so an F major scale will start on an F.
To build a major scale, find your starting note, then play this pattern of whole and half-steps (where W = whole and H = half):
W – W – H – W – W – W – H
It can help to think of this pattern as two sets of W – W – H, joined by a whole step.
Major Scales Printable
This 23-page PDF will help you learn and visualize the notes for different major scales, laying the perfect foundation for learning the piano with chords!
How to Build an F Major Scale
So to build an F major scale, we’ll start on F. If you’re not sure how to label the notes of the piano, start here.
Starting on F, we’ll play the note one whole step up, which is G. Then we’ll play the note one whole step up from G, which is A. Next, we’ll play the note one half-step up from A, which is B♭.
We can continue following the pattern of whole and half-steps until we reach the next F, and the scale is complete.
What Are the Notes of the F Major Scale?
The notes of the F major scale are:
F – G – A – B♭ – C – D – E – F
Labeling the Notes of the F Major Scale
You may be wondering why the B♭ is labeled as a B♭ instead of an A♯ (a flat indicates the note one half-step down, a sharp indicates the note one half-step up).
The reason is that according to our definition of a major scale, the notes must progress in alphabetical order. Since this is an F major scale, the second note will be some sort of G, the third note some sort of A, the fourth some sort of B, and so on.
Other Major Scales
Now that you know how to build a major scale, you can use the pattern to build any major scale! Just find your starting note, then follow the pattern of W – W – H – W – W – W – H to build the scale!
Here are all the major scales:
C major scale
G major scale
D major scale
A major scale
E major scale
B major scale
F sharp major scale
C sharp major scale
F major scale
B flat major scale
E flat major scale
A flat major scale
D flat major scale
G flat major scale
C flat major scale
If you’d like to see how the scales are related to each other, take a look at the circle of fifths. It’s a really neat pattern demonstrating the relationships between the major scales!
Now you know how to build an F major scale on the piano. You also know the pattern for building any major scale.
This knowledge will come in handy as you continue learning the piano – especially when it comes to building different types of chords! And once you understand one pattern on the piano, you can apply that pattern over and over again, starting on different notes. The piano comes to life!