Music Theory – L1 Lesson 4

C Major Scale on a Piano Keyboard

If we apply the major scale to the piano keyboard the system works out as follows: start on any note on the piano and move up a whole Step (2 half steps), whole Step, half Step, whole Step, whole Step, whole Step, half Step. Example 12 shows how a C major scale would look on a piano keyboard.

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D Major Scale on a Piano Keyboard

With this information you could play any major scale by following the pattern of whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step. Example 13 shows a D major scale on a piano keyboard.

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Key Signatures and Diatonic Notes

The notes of a C major scale C, D, E, F, G, A, B are commonly referred to as the diatonic notes of the key of C major. If we had the key of D major the diatonic notes would be D, F#, G, A, B, C#. If we use the major scale formula (l , I , 1/2, , I , , 1/2) we can figure out every major scale. We will find that each key has a different number of sharps or flats. If a piece of music uses a particular key, its key signature is placed at the beginning of the piece of music. Example 14 shows a list of all the sharps and flats found in various keys. These are commonly referred to as the key signatures, and they occur after the clef sign and at the beginning of each line of music.img12