Music Scale Calculator

Created by Rita Rain
Reviewed by Bogna Szyk and Jack Bowater
Last updated: Sep 26, 2022

The music scale calculator will help you find scale notes — be it notes in a major scale, notes in a minor scale, or something more exotic, like the Spanish eight-tone scale, you'll probably find it in our long list of music scales.

The calculator also gives the semitone pattern and the numeric formula of a particular scale. While scale notes tell you what sounds you can use within a given scale, the semitone pattern shows what intervals occur in it, and the numeric formula tells you how to build that scale.

If you're interested in music, here are some other calculators which you may find informative:

  • Music interval calculator — if you want to know the names of the intervals between two notes or pitches and how to determine them;
  • Fret calculator — if you want to build a guitar (or another string instrument); and
  • Vocal range calculator — if you use scales to warm up and don't want to push your voice too far.

How to use the music scale calculator?

The music scale calculator lets you find notes in a scale, the numeric formula, and the semitone pattern. You'll also see the three results displayed by default, but in the advanced mode (which you can access by clicking the Advanced mode button below the calculator) you can choose what you want to be shown.

  1. Choose the root note - the first note of a scale upon which the scale is built. For example, if you're looking for notes in C major, you should choose C as the root note. Skip this step if you don't care about music scale notes and just want the semitone pattern.

  2. Select the category into which you think your scale falls. If you're unsure, check the list of music scales at the bottom of the article (some categories are pretty arbitrary).

  3. Pick the name of the scale.

  4. Check the results at the bottom - the scale notes, the numeric formula, and the semitone pattern.

Read on to find out what the numbers in the formulas mean and how to build scales.

Notes in a major scale

Let's have a look at the semitone pattern of the major scale:

2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1

The digits represent the number of semitones (half steps) between consecutive notes (called degrees of a scale). 1 means one semitone, 2 means two semitones (a whole tone), 3 means three semitones, and 4 means two whole tones.

The major scale pattern above says: there are 2 semitones between the first and the second note of the scale, 2 semitones between the second and the third note, 1 semitone between the third and the fourth, and so on.

Example:

Let's build an A major scale using the above pattern:

  • First note is the root note - A.
  • Second note has to be 2 semitones (a whole step) higher than A, so it's B.
  • Third note - from B, we go another step up. There's a half step between B and C, so we need to raise C by a semitone. You get C♯.
  • Fourth note - 1 semitone up from C♯ is D.
  • Fifth note - 2 semitones up from D is E.
  • Sixth note - 2 semitones from E is F♯.
  • Seventh note - 2 semitones from F♯ is G♯.
  • Eighth note in the major scale is just the first note again - A.

This way, we found the notes in the A major scale:

A, B, C♯, D, E, F♯, G♯, A

You can use the semitone calculator to find out the number of semitones and frequencies in hertz of any given pair of musical notes.

How to find notes in a scale?

Using the numeric formula, you can build scales based on the major scale. The numbers in the numeric formula stand for the degrees (notes) of a scale. 1 is the root note, 2 is the second note, and so on.

The accidentals next to the numbers tell you whether you should raise (♯) or lower (♭) the note of a major scale to get the target scale. If you have two sharps/flats, you raise/lower the note by a semitone twice.

Example:

Let's build a C minor scale:

  1. The starting point is C major, which you can build using the semitone pattern:

    1:C 2:D 3:E 4:F 5:G 6:A 7:B 8:C

    (The first note is C, the second is D, and so on.)

  2. Then we check the formula for the natural minor scale:

    1, 2, ♭3, 4, 5, ♭6, ♭7, 8

  3. Now we apply the formula for the minor scale to major scale notes:

  • First note doesn't change; it's just 1, so C.
  • Second note also stays D.
  • Third note - there's a flat sign next to the 3, so we have to lower the third note of the C major scale - E - by a semitone. We get E♭.
  • Fourth note stays the same - F.
  • Fifth note stays the same - G.
  • Sixth note - ♭6 means we lower A by a semitone. We get A♭.
  • Seventh note - we lower B and get B♭.
  • Eighth note stays C.

Here's the result - C minor notes:

C, D, E♭, F, G, A♭, B♭, C

The list of music scales

Here is the alphabetical list of music scales included in the music scale calculator and their designated categories:

Id

Scale name

Category

1

Acoustic

Ethnic

2

Aeolian

Modes

3

Algerian

Ethnic

4

Altered (Dominant)

Jazz

5

Arabic

Ethnic

6

Ascending Melodic Minor/ Jazz Minor

Jazz, Modes of Melodic Minor

7

Augmented

Other

8

Balinese/ Pelog

Ethnic

9

Bebop Dominant

Jazz

10

Bebop Dorian/ Minor

Jazz

11

Bebop Harmonic Minor

Jazz

12

Bebop Major

Jazz

13

Bebop Melodic Minor

Jazz

14

Blues

Common

15

Blues Major

Jazz

16

Blues Minor

Jazz

17

Chinese

Ethnic

18

Chromatic

Other

19

Dorian

Modes

20

Double Harmonic Major/ Byzantine/ Arabic

Ethnic

21

Egyptian

Ethnic

22

Enigmatic

Other

23

Half-Whole/ Dominant Diminished

Jazz

24

Harmonic Major

Other

25

Harmonic Minor

Common

26

Hawaiian

Ethnic

27

Hirajōshi

Ethnic, Japanese

28

Hungarian Minor Scale/ Double Harmonic Minor/ Gypsy Minor

Ethnic

29

Iminished/ Whole-Half

Jazz

30

In/ Sakura Pentatonic

Ethnic, Japanese

31

Insen

Ethnic, Japanese

32

Ionian

Modes

33

Iwato

Ethnic, Japanese

34

Locrian

Modes

35

Locrian ♮2/Half-Diminished/ Aeolocrian'

Jazz, Modes of Melodic Minor

36

Lydian

Modes

37

Lydian Augmented/ Lydian ♯5

Jazz, Modes of Melodic Minor

38

Lydian Dominant/ Lydian ♭7/ Acoustic/ Mixolydian ♯4/ Overtone/ Lydomyxian

Jazz, Modes of Melodic Minor

39

Major

Common

40

Major Pentatonic/ Chinese Mongolian

Ethnic

41

Melodic Minor

Common

42

Minor Pentatonic

Common

43

Mixolydian

Modes

44

Mixolydian ♭6/ Melodic Major/ Hindu/ Myxaeolian

Jazz, Modes of Melodic Minor

45

Natural Minor

Common

46

Neapolitan Major

Ethnic

47

Neapolitan Minor

Ethnic

48

Oriental

Ethnic

49

Persian

Ethnic

50

Phrygian

Modes

51

Phrygian ♮6/ Dorian ♭2/ Assyrian/ Phrygidorian

Jazz, Modes of Melodic Minor

52

Phrygian Dominant

Ethnic

53

Prometheus

Other

54

Romanian Major

Ethnic

55

Spanish Eight Tone

Ethnic

56

Super Locrian/ Altered (Dominant)

Jazz, Modes of Melodic Minor

57

Tritone

Other

58

Two-Semitone Tritone

Other

59

Ukrainian Dorian/ Romanian Minor

Ethnic

60

Whole Tone

Other

61

Yo

Ethnic, Japanese

Musicians use the concept of interference beats and beat frequency in tuning and playing their instruments, and the frequency of waves helps with the music scale.

Rita Rain
Root note
C
Scale type
Common
Scale name
Major
Notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C
Semitone pattern: 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1
Numeric formula: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
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