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The major scale or Ionian scale is one of the most commonly used scales. It is one of the diatonic scales. Like many musical scales it is made up of seven notes: the eighth duplicates the first at double its frequency so that it is called a higher octave of the same note (from Latin "octavus", the eighth).
The major scale had a central importance in European music, particularly in the common practice period and in popular music, owing to the large number of chords that can be formed from it. In Hindustani classical music it is known as Bilaval.
- whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half
- whole, whole, half.
The circle of fifths
The circle of fifths, first described in 1728 by Johann David Heinichen in his book Der General-bass, has been used ever since as a means of illustrating the relative harmonic distance between musical keys.
The numbers inside the circle show the number of sharps or flats in the key signature, with the sharp keys going clockwise, and the flat keys counterclockwise from C major (which has no sharps or flats.) The circular arrangement depends on enharmonic relationships in the circle, usually reckoned at six sharps or flats for the major keys of F♯ = G♭ and D♯ = E♭ for minor keys. Seven sharps or flats make major keys (C♯ major or C♭ major) that may be more conveniently spelled with five flats or sharps (as D♭ major or B major).
In a broader sense, "major scale" may refer to any heptatonic scale whose first, third, and fifth degrees form a major triad. Besides Ionian scale (also called natural major), there exist other major scales:
The melodic major scale is the fifth mode of the jazz minor scale. Example: C-D-E-F-G-A♭-B♭-C. It differs from the Ionian scale by lowering the sixth and the seventh degrees and from the natural minor scale by raising the third degree. The combined scale that goes as natural major ascending and as melodic major descending is also called melodic major: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C-B♭-A♭-G-F-E-D-C (differs from melodic minor only by raising the third degree).
- Bower, Michael. 2007. "All about Key Signatures". Modesto, CA: Capistrano School (K–12) website. (Accessed 17 March 2010)
- Jones, George Thaddeus. 1974. Music Theory: The Fundamental Concepts of Tonal Music Including Notation, Terminology, and Harmony. Barnes & Noble Outline Series 137. New York, Hagerstown, San Francisco, London: Barnes & Noble. ISBN 9780064601375.
- Kennedy, Michael. 1994. "Key-Signature". Oxford Dictionary of Music, second edition, associate editor, Joyce Bourne. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-869162-9.
- Yamaguchi, Masaya. 2006. The Complete Thesaurus of Musical Scales, revised edition. New York: Masaya Music Services. ISBN 0-9676353-0-6.
- Listen to and download harmonised Major scale piano MP3s
- The major scale for guitar in one position, with derivation