Major scales and triads



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MAJOR SCALES AND TRIADS
W W H W W W H – Major scale “formula”
M3 (Major third) + m3 (minor third) = Major triad

(M3 = 2 whole steps OR 4 half steps)

(m3 = 1 ½ whole steps OR 3 half steps)

(Sharp scales - spellings) (Triad spelling)


C: C D E F G A B C C E G

G: G A B C D E F# G G B D

D: D E F# G A B C# D D F# A

A: A B C# D E F# G# A A C# E

E: E F# G# A B C# D# E E G# B

B: B C# D# E F# G# A# B B D# F#

F#: F# G# A# B C# D# E# F# F# A # C#

C#: C# D# E# F# G# A# B# C# C# E# G#


(Flat scales - spellings) (Triad spelling)

C: C D E F G A B C C E G

F: F G A Bb C D E F F A C

Bb: Bb C D Eb F G A Bb Bb D F

Eb: Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb Eb G Bb

Ab: Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Ab Ab C Eb

Db: Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db Db F Ab

Gb: Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F Gb Gb Bb Db

Cb: Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb Cb Cb Eb G

Triads

A triad is a group of three notes which are related by thirds. Each of the note groupings in the example below is a triad. Notice that each one is a stack of two thirds. The first group is a triad built on the note C. The triad contains the three notes C, E, and G (C to E is a third and E to G is a third-a stack of two thirds). The next group of notes is a triad built on 'D', etc.



Each of the notes of a triad is given a name. The bottom note (when stacked by thirds) is the root. The middle note is called the third and the top note the fifth.


There are four qualities of triads: major, minor, diminished, and augmented. A triad's quality is determined by the intervals it contains. For instance, a major triad contains a major third from its root to its third and a minor third from its third to its fifth. Also the interval from its root to its fifth is a perfect fifth. Click on the buttons in the example below to see the spelling for each of the four triad qualities built on the note 'F'. Pay close attention to the order of the thirds up from the root and the interval distance from the root to the fifth.


Triad Qualities

Major Minor Diminished Augmented





INVERSIONS
Triads will not always be used in the convenient stacks of notes as shown above. They may appear with any note as the bass (bottom note) and with various doublings. The notes can be played harmonically (all at the same time) or melodically (notes played individually). The important thing is that all three notes are being used together in some way.


Root in the Bass


Third in the Bass


Fifth in the Bass


Root in the Bass





Root in the Bass
& Root Doubled



Third in the Bass
& Doublings



Played Melodically
& Root Doubled



Some scales look the same on the keyboard but are very different on paper (C# major and Db Major for example). This next section covers that breifly, though I don't believe it does into the why's or history of it.
Enharmonic equivalents

Note that the key signature (and scale and triads) are not the same for F# and Gb major, even though these two notes are enharmonically equivalent, meaning they are played using the same key on a piano. You would play these two scales in exactly the same way on a piano, and they would sound the same, but the notes are still written down differently. So you would always write an F# major triad as F# A# C# and a Gb major triad as Gb Bb Db. This is true for all enharmonic equivalents, so a C# major scale is written differently from a Db major scale, and so on.

Also, it might seem a little odd to come across notes such as Fb, for example in a Db minor triad. Although you might be tempted to substitute E instead of Fb, as they are enharmonic equivalents, it is wrong to write a Db minor triad as Db E Ab - you must write the triad as Db Fb Ab.
MAJOR SCALES FINGERINGS

(Sharp scales) (Ascending) (Descending)


C: C D E F G A B C RH: 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1

LH: 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5


G: G A B C D E F# G RH: 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1

LH: 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5

D: D E F# G A B C# D RH: 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1

LH: 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5

A: A B C# D E F# G# A RH: 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1

LH: 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5

E: E F# G# A B C# D# E RH: 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1

LH: 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5

B: B C# D# E F# G# A# B RH: 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1

LH: 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4

F#: F# G# A# B C# D# E# F# RH: 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2

LH: 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 2 2 1 2 3 1 2 3 4

C#: C# D# E# F# G# A# B# C# RH: 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2

LH: 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 2 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3


(Flat scales)

F: F G A Bb C D E F RH: 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1

LH: 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5

Bb: Bb C D Eb F G A Bb RH: 2 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 2

LH: 3 2 1 3 2 1 3 2 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3

Eb: Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb RH: 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 2

LH: 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 2 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3

Ab: Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Ab RH: 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 3 2 1 3 2 1 3 2

LH: 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 2 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3

Db: Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db RH: 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2

LH: 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 2 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3

Gb: Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F Gb RH: 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2

LH: 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 2 2 1 2 3 1 2 3 4



Cb: Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb Cb RH: 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2

LH: 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 2 2 1 2 3 1 2 3 4


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