There are dozens of piano scales in music. There are major, minor, pentatonic and a whole lot more. There are four important piano scales that every piano player should learn. This article will tell you what those scales are and how to play them.
Half Steps/Whole Steps
To learn how to play piano scales, you must first understand half and whole steps. A half-step is the distance from one note to the very next note. For example, the distance between E and F is a half step. The distance from F to F# is a half step. A whole step is simply two half steps combined. The distances from C to D and G to A are whole steps. In learning how to play the scales, we will refer to half steps with an H and whole steps will be referred to as a W.
Major piano scales are the most common type of scales used in Western music. To play a major scale, you simply start on the root note and use the following formula: W-W-H-W-W-W-H. Using this formula, you will find that the notes of the C major scale are C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C. The notes of the F major scale are F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E-F. You can use this formula to find the major scale of any key.
Natural minor scales are also the most commonly used piano scales. To play a natural minor scale, you start on the root note and use the formula: W-H-W-W-H-W-W. Using this formula, you will see that the notes of the C natural minor scale are C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb-C. The notes of the F natural minor scale are F-G-Ab-Bb-C-Db-Eb-F.
The next set of piano scales to learn is the melodic minor scales. To play a melodic minor scale, you begin on the root note and use the following formula: W-H-W-W-W-W-H. By using the formula, you will see that the notes of the C melodic minor scale are C-D-Eb-F-G-A-B-C. The notes that make up the F melodic minor scale are F-G-Ab-Bb-C-D-E-F.
The last set of piano scales that everyone should know is the harmonic minor scale. The only difference between the harmonic minor and the melodic minor scale is the sixth note. Instead of going up 1 whole step from the fifth note, you are supposed to go up 1 1/2 whole steps (3 half steps). Therefore, the notes that make up the C harmonic minor scale are C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-B-C. The F harmonic minor scale is made up of F-G-Ab-Bb-C-Db-E-F.
These are the most important piano scales to learn. You should pick a key and learn all four scales before moving on to the next key. Soon, you will be able to play all of the piano scales quickly and easily.