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Musical Scales for Pianists and Keyboard Players: A Comprehensive Reference

There are a huge range of scales in use in both Western and non-Western music. As well as the very common major and minor scales are a whole host of others used in a variety of different musical styles, genres and cultures.

Here we have assembled 56 scales with the ascending scale in the key of C for each one written in musical notation, plus a step pattern table at the end to make it easier to transpose these scales into other keys.

Inspiration has to come from the excellent Scales and Modes for Guitar book by Cliff Douse. We hope you find this useful in learning and using scales on keyboard instruments.

Major scales

Mode 1: Ionian mode

Mode 2: Dorian mode

Mode 3: Phrygian mode

Mode 4: Lydian mode

Mode 5: Mixolydian mode

Mode 6: Aeolian mode

Mode 7: Locrian mode

Melodic Minor scales

Mode 1: Melodic minor scale

Mode 2: Phrygian #6 scale

Mode 3: Lydian augmented scale

Mode 4: Overtone scale

Mode 5: Hindustan

Mode 6: Locrian #2 scale

Mode 7: Superlocrian scale

Harmonic Minor scales

Mode 1: Harmonic minor scale

Mode 2:

Mode 3:

Mode 4: Romanian

Mode 5: Spanish gypsy scale

Mode 6:

Mode 7:

Double Harmonic scales

Mode 1: Double harmonic scale

Mode 2:

Mode 3:

Mode 4: Hungarian minor scale

Mode 5: Oriental

Mode 6:

Mode 7:

Diatonic Pentatonic scales

Mode 1: Pentatonic major scale

Mode 2: Egyptian

Mode 3:

Mode 4: Ritusen Japan

Mode 5: Pentatonic minor scale

Pentatonic and Hexatonic scales


Pelog (java)

Kumoi (Japan)

Hirajoshi (Japan)

Iwato (Japan)

Indian pentatonic

Blues scale


Prometheus neapolitan

Symmetrical Scales

Whole tone scale

Diminished scale

Augmented scale

Chromatic scale

Miscellaneous Scales

Hungarian major scale

Enigmatic scale

Eight tone Spanish scale

Neapolitan scale

Lydian minor scale

Major locrian scale (Arabian)

Neapolitan minor scale

Todi (Indian raga scale)

Marva (Indian raga scale)

Persian scale

Step Patterns

All of the above scales are written and played in the root key of C, in order to aid in learning and comparison. When it comes to transposing, it is a case of moving each note of a scale up or down the same number of semitones. The step pattern table below will aid in this, as it shows which interval notes for any given scale are played, regardless of the root key.

The columns beginning with R (for root) and finishing O (for octave) and with numbers 2-12 in between, dictate how many semitones (or half notes) up from the root of the scale a particular note is. So, for example, a C major chord’s fifth position note is an E. A D major chord’s fifth position note is F#.

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