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 a few other calculators which may be useful:
- Note frequency, speed of sound, and dB calculator - if you're interested in physical properties of sound;
- Streaming Services' Royalties Calculator - if you want to know how much you can earn by streaming your music on Spotify; and
- Fret calculator - if you want to build a guitar (or another string instrument).
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. All three results are displayed by default, but in the
advanced mode(below the calculator) you can choose what you want to be shown.
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 obviously 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.
Select the category into which you think your scale falls. If you're not sure, check the list of music scales at the bottom of the article (some categories are pretty arbitrary).
Pick the name of the scale.
Check the results at the bottom - 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.
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. Between B and C there's a half step, 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 A major scale:
A, B, C♯, D, E, F♯, G♯, A
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.
Let's build a C minor scale:
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...)
Then we check the formula for the natural minor scale:
1, 2, ♭3, 4, 5, ♭6, ♭7, 8
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 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 the categories they are assigned to: