Let’s look at how to build a G 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.
The notes in the G major scale are the notes used to write songs in the key of G major.
How to Build a Major Scale
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 (the same as two half-steps).
Major scales are named after the note they start with. So a G major scale will start on a G note.
Here’s the pattern of half and whole steps used to build a major scale (W = whole step, and H = half-step):
W – W – H – W – W – W – H
It can be easier to remember this pattern when you think of it as two sets of W – W – H, joined by a whole step.
How to Build a G Major Scale
So to build a G major scale, we’ll start on a G note and use the pattern of whole and half-steps to build the scale. If you’re not sure how to label the notes of the piano, start here.
Starting with a G, we’ll play the note one whole step up, which is A. Then we’ll play the note one whole step up from A, which is B. Then we’ll find the note one half-step up from B, which is C. We can continue the pattern until we reach another G and the scale is complete.
What Are the Notes of the G Major Scale?
The notes of the G major scale are:
G – A – B – C – D – E – F♯ – G
Labeling the Notes of the G Major Scale
You may be wondering why the black key is labeled as an F♯ instead of a G♭ (sharp indicates the note one half-step up, flat indicates the note one half-step down).
The reason is because scales must progress in alphabetical order. Since this is a G major scale, the second note will be some sort of A, the third note some sort of B, the fourth some sort of C, and so on.
Other Major Scales
You can use this pattern of whole and half-steps to build any major scale. Choose your starting note, then use the pattern W – W – H – W – W – W – H to find the corresponding notes of that major 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 a G major scale on the piano, and you can use that knowledge to build any major scale!
Once you understand how to build major scales, it will be much easier to learn how to build different types of chords.