Skip to main content

## Section2.2The Major Scale

A major scale contains a specific succession of whole and half steps. It is helpful to think of the pattern as consisting of two tetrachords. (A tetrachord is a four-note scale segment.) The lower tetrachord consists of the pattern whole step, whole step, half step. A whole step joins the lower tetrachord to the upper tetrachord. The upper tetrachord duplicates the pattern in the lower one: whole step, whole step, half step. If we use W for whole step and H for half step, the major scale pattern is W–W–H, Whole–step connection, W–W–H. Figure 2.2.1. The D major scale on a keyboard Figure 2.2.2. The D major scale in treble clef

All major scales use the notes of the musical alphabet in order; no notes are skipped and no notes occur twice. In the example above, the first four notes are $\text{D}$–$\text{E}$–$\text{F}^♯$–$\text{G}$, not $\text{D}$–$\text{E}$–$\text{G}^♭$–$\text{G}$. In $\text{D}$–$\text{E}$–$\text{G}^♭$–$\text{G}$, $\text{G}$ erroneously occurs twice and the $\text{F}^♯$ between $\text{E}$ and $\text{G}$ is skipped.