The 12 Major Scales Tutorial
Scales provide the foundation for understanding harmony and learning the 12 major scales is a fundamental step in learning jazz piano.
When we play a piece of music using the notes of a particular scale, we say that we are playing in that key. For example, if we are playing a piece of music using just the notes from the C major scale, we are playing in the key of C.
Downloadable Lesson Supplement
Further Scale Study
All of the major scales contain 7 notes. However, you will also come across scales that contain 5, 6 and even 8 notes — more on these in other lessons.
The most effective way to learn the 12 major scales is through using the circle of fifths. The circle of fifths is a handy diagram that shows which keys are most closely related to each other on the piano.
If you are just starting out with jazz piano scale study, the first step is to learn the 12 major scales. Many interesting sounding modes can be derived from the major scale and so spending adequate time to memorise them will give you strong foundations for further scale study.