A diatonic major scale is a series of eight notes played in a progression starting from a tonic to the upper tonic. In a diatonic major scale, the distance between the 1st & 2nd note, 2nd & 3rd note, 4th & 5th note, 5th & 6th note, and 6th & 7th note is a tone, while the distance between the 3rd & 4th note, and 7th & 8th note is a semitone. Hence a diatonic major scale follows this pattern; TT ST TTT ST (i.e. Tone, Tone, semitone, Tone, Tone, Tone, semitone). There are two ways to write a diatonic scale on the stave:
▪ With a key signature
▪ Without a key signature
With a key signature you establish the accidentals at the start of the stave. Without a key signature you define each accidental as it is played.
The diatonic scales are matched to their key signatures below.
DIATONIC MINOR SCALE:
There are two types of diatonic minor scales; they are:
◈ Diatonic harmonic minor scale
◈ Diatonic melodic minor scale
The melodic minor scale would be explained in the next grade.
In constructing the harmonic minor scale, follow the following steps:
✓ Draw the stave
✓ Insert the clef
✓ Look for the relative major of that minor key (This is gotten by counting three semitones from that minor key).
✓ Insert the key signature of that relative major (if you’re using key signature. If not, go on to the next step).
✓ Construct the notes in the stave
✓ Raise the 7th note with a sharp sign. (note that this is compulsory otherwise it wouldn’t be harmonic minor scale again)
✓ Fix your slurs where appropriate
✓ Close the stave with a double bar line