The Music Theory Advantage TM
 Quickly Learn and Remember how to Spell
The Major and Natural Minor Scales

Created by
Max Maxwell
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Spelling Diatonic Scales for Major Keys

The purpose of knowing the names of the sharps and flats in every major key is to be able to spell the diatonic scale for each major key. A diatonic scale is a scale that only uses notes, which are selected by the key in which you are working. The diatonic scale for each major key starts and ends on the same note as found in the name of the key. 

Example:

C Major Scale

(zero sharps, zero flats)

C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C

The C Major Scale starts and ends with the same note for which the C Major key is named. Notice that the C Major scale above has no sharps or flats in it. This is because the C Major key has no sharps or flats. The diatonic scale of a major key, called a major scale, will have the same sharps or flats as found in the major key to which it belongs.

To Spell a scale, just include every note name in alphabetic order. When you hit G, start over with A and proceed until you repeat the starting note (see the C Major scale above for an example). This leaves you with a total of eight notes in the scale, including a repeat of the first note.

 How to Spell the Diatonic Scale for a Major Key

1. Write out the scale with plain letter names (no sharps or flats) in alphabetical order. Start and end with the same note name found in the name of the key. Remember to skip back to A after G.

 Example: D Major -  D  E  F  G  A  B  C  D

2. Determine the number and names of the sharps or flats in the key for which you want to spell the scale.

 Example: D Major is a key with sharps - (die-shoe-hive) - The number of sharps is two (shoe). The names of those sharps are F# (fin) and C# (car).

 

3. Apply the sharps or flats to your scale.

Example: D  E  F#  G  A  B  C#  D

That is it! In three easy steps you can spell a major scale. As you can see, once you know the number and names of the sharps or flats for every major key, it is easy to spell the diatonic scale for every major key.

Exercise P2-7:

Write out the diatonic scales for each major key below using the method described in this lesson. Scroll to the bottom of this page for the answers.

  1. G Major   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____

  2. Cb Major  _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____

  3. D Major   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____ 

  4. Eb Major  _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____

  5. F# Major  _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____

  6. Bb Major  _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____

  7. A Major   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____

  8. Ab Major  _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____

  9. B Major   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____

 10. F Major   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____

 11. E Major   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____

 12. Db Major _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____

 13. C# Major _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____

 14. Gb Major _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____

 15. C Major   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____   _____

 

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Exercise P2-7: 1) G A B C D E F# G  2) Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb Cb  3) D E F# G A B C#

4) Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb  5) F# G# A# B C# D# E# F 6) Bb C D Eb F G A Bb 

7) A B C# D E F# G#8) Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Ab  9) B C# D# E F# G# A#

10) F G A Bb C D E F  11) E F# G# A B C# D#12) Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C D

13) C# D# E# F# G# A# B# C#  14) Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F Gb

 

Copyright 2008-2011 Kenneth J. Maxwell Jr.