Intro to Music Theory 2: The C Major Scale and how to find any other Major scale.

piano scale C major music theory lessons
One Octave of the C major scale

In lesson one, we learned about the Chromatic Scale, Half Steps,and Whole steps. Now, it’s time to learn about the C Major Scale and how to find any other Major Scale. It’s important to remember the definition of a scale:

A specific series or pattern of notes, played in ascending (going up) or descending (going down) order.C scale chart for guitar

Take a look at the charts here for what the C scale looks like on the piano and guitar. Then, watch this video to hear and see what the scale sounds like on the piano. *NOTE*: although the notes are played differently on the guitar, they are the exact same pitches.

How does the major scale work? It uses a specific pattern of whole and half steps.

C major piano scale whole step half step
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Two whole steps, one half step, three whole steps, and one more half step.

Using this formula, you can find ANY major scale on your instrument!

Watch the next few minutes of this video:

Now it’s your turn! Download the PDF and fill in the whole steps and half steps to complete the scales or fill out the form below. Major Scales Worksheet

music, major scales, names of the notes, music theory, worksheet
A worksheet to fill out the names of the notes for five major scales

Melodic Direction: Little Birch Tree


Melodic Direction

We’re also going to use the Russian Folk Song, Little Birch Tree, to talk about Melodic Direction. Melodic Direction is a fancy term that essentially means how the notes are moving in a song. Take a look at this video to learn about how a melody can move by steps, by leaps, by repeats, and up and down.

Listen to the melody of Little Birch Tree below:


Now take a look at what the different types of melodic direction look and sound like:



Now, listen to the recording again while looking at the notation for the melody of Little Birch Tree. Even if you don’t know how to read music, the names of the notes are there, and you can see how when the melody steps up or down, the notes move by just a little and the note is the alphabet letter before or after the first note. When they repeat, they stay at the same level and have the same note name. When they leap, there is space in between them.

Birch Tree - Melodic Direction

Danielle πŸ™‚



Intro to Music Theory, Part 1: Chromatic Scale, Half Steps, and Whole Steps

Good afternoon! This is the first video in a series that is designed to help my students better understand how the music they play works. It will also help with ear training and sight reading. Here are the main vocabulary words to keep track of:

Chromatic Scale – the series of all the notes, moving up or down by half steps

Half Step – moving from one note to the note right next to it

Whole Step – moving from a note to another note, but skipping just one note in the middle

*Just as a disclaimer, I don’t have super duper recording or video software, but this does get the job done!

After watching this video, take a look at the chart below that is appropriate for your instrument. For guitar and violin, the notes move up in pitch as you move down the fingerboard. Chromatic Scale

Fret Chart for Guitar - Right HandedBeginning Violin Fingerboard Chart


Here is a worksheet to help you recognize whole steps and half steps by sight and by ear. Make sure to hit play on the videos.

Then you can head over to the post on Melodic Direction to learn about how the movements from one note to the other are categorized and what they sound like.