Piano Major Scales

Major scales are the most important piano scales: firstly, because they are very common and, secondly, because they are fundamental to understand keys. If you hear someone mention that a piano sonata by the composer and pianist Franz Schubert is played in A Major, it means that it depends on the A Scale.

You can scroll down and see keyboard images all Major scales. Further down, you will see an overview with all the notes together with intervals, semi-tones and the formula of the Major Scale. This theory helps you learn the concepts and memorizing it easier. See also Major scales exercises and arpeggios.

C Major

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

D Major

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

E Major

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

F Major

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

G Major

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

A Major

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

B Major

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

C# / Db Major

C# major scale diagram
Notes: Db, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C, Db
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3
Fingering (RH): 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2

D# / Eb Major

D# major scale diagram
Notes: Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D, Eb
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3
Fingering (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#
Fingering (LH): 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 4
Fingering (RH): 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2

G# / Ab Major

G# major scale diagram
Notes: Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F, G, Ab
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3
Fingering (RH): 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3

A# / Bb Major

A# major scale diagram
Notes: Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb
Fingering (LH): 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3
Fingering (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#, E# (F), F#, G#, A#, B#, C# / Db, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C, Db
D: D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D
D#/Eb: D#, E# (F), F## (G), G#, A#, B# (C), C## (D), D# / Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D, Eb
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#, E#, F# / Gb, Ab, Bb, Cb (B), Db, Eb, F, Gb
G: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G
G#/Ab: G#, A#, B#, C#, D#, E#, F## (G), G# / Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F, G, Ab
A: A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A
A#/Bb: A#, B# (C), C## (D), D#, E# (F), F## (G), G## (A), A# / Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb
B: B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A#, B (Cb: Cb, Db, Eb, Fb, Gb, Ab, Bb, Cb)

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

Intervals and steps
Intervals: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Semi-notes: 2 - 2 - 1 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 1
Formula: Whole, Whole, Half, Whole, Whole, Whole, Half

Major scales with note letters (sheet music PDF)

The Major scales in musical notation are available in the member area.
The scale in all keys with fingerings (without note names) can be downloaded as PDF-files.

The Major scales in graphic compilation are available in the member area.
A collection of keyboard charts can be downloaded as a PDF-file.

The intervals and steps are important to learn. These are always the same for scales in a specific category. This helps you a lot until you have memorized all the scales and vice versa: you don’t need to memorize them if you know the intervals. The nature of the intervals labels the Major Scale as a diatonic scale.

Understand the names

Some of the scales have two names divided by a slash (e.g. C# and Db), because they can be played in two different keys. The notes are, however, the same on the keyboard. As an example, C#, D#, E#, F#, G#, A#, B#, C# and Db, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C, Db (as in C# / Db scales) are the same notes but partly written differently. In some cases, there are double-sharps (e.g. F##) that can look peculiar, see theory for an explanation. Also, the notes in the diagrams and the notes in the overview below sometimes differ. This is because the notes below the diagrams are foremost thought to be easy to understand.

Scales and chords

As soon as you know a certain major scale, you can easier grasp the chords in the same key. That is because you can randomly choose three different notes from a scale and you will get a triad. In the key of C, for instance, the standard chords being used are:

See harmonizing major scales into chords.

An easy way to start improvising on the piano is to play major scales together with the chords that use the same notes. To explain further: you can play chords like C, Em, F, G and Am together with the C Major Scale. Preferable is to play chords with your left hand and notes from the scale with your right (more on improvisation).

An interesting thing is that different major scales have their own “sounds”. For example, C is suitable for ballads and Eb can sound a bit like Bach.

See also: Harmonic Major Scales

Backing tracks

Backing tracks for major scales presented by Pianoscales.org. You can play piano to these tracks by using the Major scales.

Backing tracks album cover
Track list (selection)

C Major Soft Ballad

Show scale C major scale diagram

D Major White Shade Pop

Show scale D major scale diagram

E Major Pop

Show scale E major scale diagram

All tracks are available for members. Become a member.