Piano Major Scales

Piano Major Scales is the most important scales: firstly because they are very common and, secondly, because they are fundamental for your understanding of keys. If you hear someone mention that a piano sonata by the composer and pianist Franz Shubert is played in A Major this means that it depends on the A scale. It is also common that piano pieces are named like A Minor – this accordingly refers to a minor scale as also are explained on the site.

Here we will focus on major scales. You can scroll down and see illustrations of all major scales, further down you will also see an overview with all the notes and the intervals, semi-tones and finally the formula of the major scale. This theory helps you learn the concepts and memorizing it easier. See also major scales exercises.

C Major

C major scale diagram
Notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C
Fingerings (LH): 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1
Fingerings (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

D Major

D major scale diagram
Notes: D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D
Fingerings (LH): 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1
Fingerings (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

E Major

E major scale diagram
Notes: E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E
Fingerings (LH): 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1
Fingerings (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

F Major

F major scale diagram
Notes: F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F
Fingerings (LH): 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1
Fingerings (RH): 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4

G Major

G major scale diagram
Notes: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G
Fingerings (LH): 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1
Fingerings (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

A Major

A major scale diagram
Notes: A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A
Fingerings (LH): 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1
Fingerings (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

B Major

B major scale diagram
Notes: B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A#, B
Fingerings (LH): 4, 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1
Fingerings (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

C# / Db Major

C# major scale diagram
Notes: C#, D#, F, F#, G#, A#, C, C#
Fingerings (LH): 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3
Fingerings (RH): 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2

D# / Eb Major

D# major scale diagram
Notes: D#, F, G, G#, A#, C, D, D#
Fingerings (LH): 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3
Fingerings (RH): 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3

F# /Gb Major

F# major scale diagram
Notes: F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D#, F, F#
Fingerings (LH): 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 4
Fingerings (RH): 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2

G# / Ab Major

G# major scale diagram
Notes: G#, A#, C, C#, D#, F, G, G#
Fingerings (LH): 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3
Fingerings (RH): 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3

A# / Bb Major

A# major scale diagram
Notes: A#, C, D, D#, F, G, A, A#
Fingerings (LH): 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3
Fingerings (RH): 4, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4

Major Scales overview
C: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C
C#/Db: C#, D#, F, F#, G#, A#, C, C#
D: D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D
D#/Eb: D#, F, G, G#, A#, C, D, D#
E: E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E
F: F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F
F#/Gb: F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D#, F, F#
G: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G
G#/Ab: G#, A#, C, C#, D#, F, G, G#
A: A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A
A#/Bb: A#, C, D, D#, F, G, A, A#
B: B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A#, B

Fingerings:
1 = Thumb | 2 = index finger | 3 = middle finger | 4 = ring finger | 5 = little finger.
LH = Left hand | RH = Right hand

Intervals and steps
Interval: 1, 2, 3
Semi-notes: 2 - 2 - 1 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 1
Formula: Whole, Whole, Half, Whole, Whole, Whole, Half

A good thing to know about is also the intervals and steps. This is always the same about all the scales in a category, therefore this helps you a lot until you have memorizing all the scales and also the opposite way: you don’t need to memorize everyone if you know the intervals.

Scales and chords

As soon as you know a certain major scale you also know the chords in the same key. This is because you can randomly choose three different notes from a scale and you will get a triad (learn more about chords). For example: in the key of C the standard chords that are used are:

An easy way to start improvising on the piano is to play major scales together with the chords that use the same notes.

Another interesting thing is that different major scales have their own "sounds". For example C is suitable for ballads and Eb will sound a bit like Bach.