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C Major and A minor Scale charts

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blank blank C major scale bass clef

C Major scale is first of the 12 Major Diatonic scales. The notes of C Major scale are: C – D – E – F – G – A – B. It’s relative minor is A minor. C Major scale and A minor scale share the same notes. The only thing that differs is the interval and the order of the order of the notes. C Majors’ parallel scale is C minor scale which is also known as E♭ Major scale.

The table below helps you understand what role each note in C Major / A minor scale plays in building tension in music.

C Major / A minor scale Modes & Function

Solfège: Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti
Mode: Ionian Dorian Phrygian Lydian Mixolydian Aeolian Locrian
Diatonic Function: Tonic Super Tonic Mediant Sub Dominant Dominant Sub Mediant Leading
Interval:                     T                     T                    st                     T                    T                     T                     st
Roman Numeral: I ii iii IV V vi vii°
Basic Chord: Major minor minor Major Major relative minor diminished
C Major Scale (0#):








C is the ‘Tonic’ of C Major scale and is the most important note in this scale. The C note set the tone of the song and as the melody progress away from C towards the ‘Dominant’ G (the highest point of the scale) it ultimately resolves back to the ‘Tonic’. That brings us to the second most important note which is G.

The G note in C Major scale is the Dominant and its position in this scale gives it the most tense feeling.  After reaching the highest point then the melody can progress back to C where the listener is taken to a familiar place where the rollercoaster begins again.  It is quite common to change to G ‘Mixolydian’ mode in the chorus or bridge.

Another important note is the A note which is the ‘relative minor’.  The ‘relative minor’ in this case is A minor scale. The A minor scale is like another way to worship the ‘Dominant’. So instead of beginning and revolving around C you may chose to revolve around A which has a minor and a more mellow sound as oppose to the C which has a little bit more uplifting neutral sound. Just as the C Major scale can have a parallel scale so can the A minor scale.  A Major scale is A minors’ parallel scale.

A Mode that often gets overlooked is the ‘Phrygian’ mode. E is the ‘Mediant’ in C Major scale. This means that E is the halfway point between the ‘Tonic’ C and the “Dominant’ G.  I often begin my chord progression is ‘Phrygian’ mode because of its higher pitch. E ‘Phrygian’ makes C ‘Ionian’ sound neutral and A ‘Aeolian’ sound sad. Because E is closer to G and in fact has a ‘G’ as its 3rd note E minor. Revolving you’re song around a chord that has ‘Dominant’ (G) in its basic chord, especially as it’s 3rd, gives the listener constant excitement and creates a different kind of tension when you move away from the ‘Dominant G’.

The D ‘Dorian’ is like the Great Value ‘Tonic’ of C Major scale. It’s called the ‘Super Tonic’ but it’s only a ‘Tonic’ because if you play every other note starting from C (C – E – G – B – D) when you get to the next octave the first note you play in the next octave is D.  If you keep going you’ll eventually end up back at C (C – E – G – B – D – F – A – C). The D serves as a higher new ‘Tonic’. D is also the same distance from above the ‘Dominant’ as the ‘Tonic’ is below the ‘Dominant’. There are 3 notes between C & G (D – E – F) and 3 notes in between G & D (A – B – C).

in Diatonic