When we play a series of seconds, it forms a familiar musical construct called a scale. The type of scale that is formed depends upon the qualities of seconds that are in the sequence.
For this series of exercises, we will explore the major, minor, chromatic and whole tone scales.
A major scale is formed by the following pattern of major and minor seconds (or whole steps and half steps):
Ascending: Major Major minor Major Major Major minor
Descending: Whole Whole Half Whole Whole Whole Half
We can see this pattern by analyzing the intervals in the C Major scale below:
The same pattern occurs in any major scale – in fact, this pattern defines the major scale. No scale can be a major scale if it does not follow this pattern.
Observe the same pattern of Major seconds (M2) and minor seconds (m2), or whole steps and half steps in the remaining major scales as you play them.4