Sax School 101: Get to Know All the Major Saxophone Scales

Learning to play any musical instrument, even a saxophone, takes time and dedication. 

At first, studying saxophone intricacies like chords and scales may appear tedious. But as you progress, you will develop the skill and ear to instinctively guide your fingers where to go without thinking about it.

For you to learn how to play the major scales of saxophone in an easy and fun way, you can check this saxophone scales guide.

The Formation of a Major Scale

All the major scales have the same pattern of tones or whole step and semitones or half-step. 

A semitone or a half step is a chromatic tone away from the starting note, either ascending or descending. A tone or whole step is two-half steps away from the starting note, which can also be ascending or descending.

The pattern of a major scale structure is tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone

Understanding this sequence and how it sounds will assist you in honing your ear and saxophone playing in any key.

Why Should You Learn Scales?

Scales are the core of the music we hear and play. Understanding and practising them provides a strong foundation for performing various pieces of music. 

Regardless of the music style you play, it helps you recognise harmony and chords in a piece of music and learn finger patterns.

Whether you are a beginner or a professional saxophone player, practising your scale skills is an excellent habit to enhance your skills. Even professional saxophone players advise that learning scales is important in music lessons.

Plus, you can quickly learn them through free saxophone lessons.

What are the Major Scales in Saxophone Playing?

A scale consists of seven notes, with the last one repeated just one octave higher at the end. 

There are 12 major pentatonic scales to learn in the saxophone :

C Major Scale

The C scale notes are C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. You’ll hear no sharps and flats in this scale.

D Major Scale

The D major scale has two sharp keys. The notes on the D major scale are Low D, E, F-sharp, G, A, B, C-sharp, and D.

E Major Scale

The E major scale has four sharp keys — F-sharp, G-sharp, C-sharp and D-sharp. The notes on the E major scale include E, F-sharp, G-sharp, A, B, C-sharp, D-sharp, and E.

F Major Scale

The F major scale has one flat key: the B flat. The notes on the F major scale are F, G, A, B-flat, C, D, E and F.

G Major Scale

The notes in the G major scale are G, A, B, C, D, E, F-sharp, and G.

A Major Scale

This scale has three sharps. The A major scale notes are A, B, C-sharp, D, E, F-sharp, G-sharp, and A.

B Major Scale

The B major scale consists of five sharp keys. The notes in the B major scale are B, C-sharp, D-sharp, E, F-sharp, G-sharp, A-sharp, and B.

B flat Major Scale

There are two flats on this scale. The notes that comprise the B flat Major scale are B-flat, C, D, E-flat, F, G, A, and B-flat.

E flat Major Scale

There are three flats on this scale. The notes include E-flat, F, G, A-flat, B-flat, C, D, and E-flat.

A flat Major Scale

There are actually four flats in the A-flat major scale. The notes in this scale are A-flat, B-flat, C, D-flat, E-flat, F, G, and A-flat.

C Sharp Major Scale

This scale has seven sharps. The notes in the C-sharp major scale are C-sharp, D-sharp, E-sharp, F-sharp, G-sharp, A-sharp, B-sharp, and C-sharp.

F Sharp Major Scale

Know that there are six sharps in the F-sharp major scale. The notes in this scale are F-sharp, G-sharp, A-sharp, B, C-sharp, D-sharp, E-sharp, and F-sharp.

The Circle of Fifths

The circle of fifths is a good technique to organise the scale. It is a technique for playing every scale by shifting only one note from one scale to the next. 

You add a sharp as you travel around the circle in one direction. And as you go in the opposite direction of the circle, you add a flat.

How to Memorize Saxophone Scales

The best way to memorise and play saxophone scales is by doing this  5-Minute Major Scale Workout. Learn the scales in one octave, then start expanding your full range once familiar with the pattern.

Playing the scales on the piano will also help you develop an ear for them and put them to good musical use. This will assist you in learning to sing and hear the scales and mastering chords and chord sequences. 

All these things provide the fundamental foundation for creative improvisation. And the best part is, you can find free lessons online to learn faster.

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