Let’s look at how to build an F sharp 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 sharp major used the notes of the F sharp major scale to write the song.
How to Build a 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 sharp major scale will start on an F♯.
The pattern for building a major scale is (where W = whole step, and H = half-step):
W – W – H – W – W – W – H
It can be helpful to think of this pattern as two sets of W – W – H, joined by a whole step.
How to Build an F Sharp Major Scale
So to build an F sharp major scale, find your starting note. If you’re not sure how to label the notes of the piano, start here.
Next, use the pattern of whole and half-steps to find the remaining notes of the scale. Starting with F♯, play the note one whole step up, which is G♯. Then find the note one whole step up from G♯, which is A♯. Next, find the note one half-step up from A♯, which is B.
Continue following the pattern until you reach the next F♯, and the scale is complete.
What Are the Notes of an F Sharp Major Scale?
The notes of an F sharp major scale are:
F♯ – G♯ – A♯ – B – C♯ – D♯ – E♯ – F♯
Labeling the Notes of a Major Scale
You may be curious why the G♯ is called G♯ and not A♭, or why the A♯ is called A♯ and not B♭ (sharps indicate the note one half-step up, and flats indicate the note one half-step down).
The reason is because the notes of a scale must progress in alphabetical order. Since this is an F sharp major scale, the next note will be some sort of G, the next note some sort of A, the next note some sort of B, and so on (this is also why the E♯ is labeled as E♯ and not F).
Other Major Scales
You can use this pattern of whole and half-steps to build any major scale. Find your starting note, then play the W – W – H – W – W – W – H pattern to build the rest of 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
Some scales are considered “enharmonic”. This means they use the same keys on the piano, but are labeled differently.
The F sharp major scale is an enharmonic scale because it can be labeled as F sharp major, or G flat major. The actual keys on the piano used to play these two scales are the same, but they can go by two different names.
There are six total enharmonic major scales:
Take a look at the circle of fifths to understand these patterns and see how the major scales relate to one another.
Now you know how to build an F sharp major scale on the piano, and you can use that pattern to build any other major scale!
Knowing how to build major scales will help you in building different types of chords, and in playing creatively at the piano.