Simple Keyz - 12 Major Scales

Instantly Learn All 12 Major Scales

Let’s explore the Major Scale. 

Before we start, what is a major scale? 

The major scale (or Ionian scale for my theoretical folks), is one of the most commonly used scales in songs —  especially in Western music. 

You’ll be hard pressed not to hear this scale used in today's pop and contemporary  music. It easily makes up 80 to 90 percent of songs you hear on iTunes, YouTube, Spotify or on the radio. 

What you’ll be learning here is how to play, recreate and recognize this scale. 

If you were Classically trained, like I was, learning scales may have been boring — like REALLY boring! 

Depending on your experience, you may actually have had fun but personally, learning scales was like a bad dream! 

I just couldn’t get over why we had to go over them — OVER and OVER again. 

I would take my weekly lessons, practice the scales and was still no where close to playing the songs I knew and loved.

I later discovered that my lack of motivation was mainly because I didn’t understand WHY learning scales was so important to the music learning process. 

Quite frankly, I don’t think music teachers are also aware of the method I stumbled on to master scales and learn to play any song on demand.

The good news is, I’ll be sharing the exact same technique that skyrocketed my playing with you here. It will open up a whole new world of understanding and musical expression you never knew was possible. 


So let’s get started, we'll begin with the C Major scale.


This is the easiest key you’ll ever learn because it is the ONLY  key that has ALL white notes. (The other reason we start the musical alphabet on ‘C’)

Let's see what this looks like on the keyboard.



C Major is the easiest to learn because it’s a flat key (literally) — it has all white notes. 

Now let's learn the formula behind the major scale. We’ll use the C Major scale as our reference point, because it is the easiest key to remember.


This formula uses whole steps and half steps and also works in ANY key!


Below is the Major Scale Formula: 


  • W-W-H-W-W-W-H


So here’s the formula broken down: 


Whole Step, Whole Step, Half Step, Whole Step, Whole Step, Whole Step, Half Step. 


Another way to help you remember this is to ‘chunk’ it into smaller groups. 


You can see this below:


  • WWH // W // WWH


You can remember this formula by breaking into three parts, with two of them being EXACTLY the same — so you’re really only memorizing two parts. 


Whichever way you look at it, it works. 


Now there is another easy way to remember this and it’s tied to a story I got from my mentor, Jermaine Griggs.


This is a true story by the way and as I recall, he was cleaning his car on a hot summer day (he lives in California ☀️). For some odd reason he decided to wear a black shirt on that day. 


Why black on a hot summer day? Your guess is as good as mine. :)


At any rate, his wife came out and saw this man out in the sun sweating profusely and asked him, “why don't you wear white when it’s hot out??”




Right there and then an epiphany struck.


He came up with this line, “Why Won’t He Wear White When Hot.”


It’s the exact same formula for the Major scale if you highlight the first letters. 


Let's look at it again.




See it?


It’s the same formula: W-W-H-W-W-W-H


I thought this was pretty neat when I first heard of this, and I expect it will be helpful for you as it was to me.


So this is another way to help you remember your scales and it works in ANY key.


If you want a shortcut to learning all 12 major scales, you can learn more here.


If you're serious about taking your understanding of music to the next level, I highly recommend checking out our guide to the Fundamentals. 


You'll get a solid foundation to music theory that will put you on the fast lane achieving your musical potential.


Until next time! 


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