display | more...

The major scale is the most important and fundamental scale in all of Western music. To derive these scales we will use a technique involving major tetrachords.

A major tetrachord is a set of four notes arranged in sequence by pitch. From the starting note, a major tetrachord consists of the following ascending intervals: whole-step, whole-step, half-step.

Our first example is building the C major tetrachord. We start with the root note, C, and follow the interval pattern above to derive the other notes in the tetrachord. A whole-step up from C is D, our second note. Going another whole step gives us E. The final half-step brings us up to F. So, the C major tetrachord is C-D-E-F.

Now, to finish the major scale, we go up one more whole-step and then append the major tetrachord of that note onto the first tetrachord.

Continuing our example: the note which is a whole-step above F is G. From the technique above, we derive the G major tetrachord as G-A-B-C. Putting the two tetrachords together, we get the C major scale: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C

This technique can be used as an easy way to derive any major scale.

Constructing the Circle of Fifths ⟩⟩

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.