# How to determine which Note is Scale Degree 7 in a key (for example, A Major)?

What note is scale degree 7 in a key? For example, in A Major, it seems to me it might be A but I do not know.

How do you determine which note corresponds to the 7th scale degree. What about the other notes and their corresponding degree?

• It cannot be A, as A is the root note. It will always be the note prior to the root. This has already been marked down, as it appears there has been little attempt to find a readily available answer. – Tim Apr 15 '16 at 18:09
• @Tim Just to be clear, when you say "it will always be the note prior to the root" -- you mean half step (or semitone), correct? For example in A maj I would regard the previous note to A as G, whereas the previous half step is G#. – JYelton Apr 18 '18 at 20:37
• @JYelton - why would the previous note to A be G? G isn't in the A major scale or key. G# is. – Tim Apr 18 '18 at 21:11
• I'm just saying that "note" could be vague. Some might think that "note" refers to the letter (G preceding A) rather than the sharps and flats, etc. Or maybe I'm just confusing things. – JYelton Apr 18 '18 at 21:22

First of all, a question like this can be easily answered with a simple google search. If you search for A-Major scale on line, one of the results will be: Basic Music Theory dot com A Major Scale

The following two images from that site show the entire A-Major Scale. The first shows the notes on the piano keyboard and the second shows the notes on the treble clef in standard music notation.

The formula for all major scales for the intervals between notes is W W H W W W H Which can also be written out as whole whole half, whole whole whole half.

You always start on the root note and count that as the first scale degree (# 1). Then you go up the "chromatic scale" (which consists of all notes playable on a piano keyboard) by one whole step to get to the next note in the scale which is the second scale degree. One whole step is equal to two half steps. A half step is represented by each key on a piano keyboard (black keys included).

So in A Major you start on A which is the 1 degree and go one whole step (a black key and a white key) to land on B which is the second scale degree. From B you again go a whole step (one white key and one black key) and you land on a black key which is C#. Next in the major scale formula is a half step because now we are on the first H in our formula W W H W W W H. A half step from C# is to the adjoining key which is a white key and is a D (4th scale degree). This process is repeated (following the whole half formula) until we get back to the root note of A which is the 8th scale degree if you will.

All Major scales will start on the root note as the first scale degree and follow this same formula. A piano keyboard is useful in visualizing the whole (two keys) and half (the next key to the right) steps.

Minor keys have their own formula which differs from the major scale formula.

If you forget this, simply google whatever scale you need to know about and you will find your answer there.

• The whole point of a Google search is to land on this page to answer the question, which is exactly how I just got here. Whatever resources are on the web, the goal of StackExchange (to me) is to be a better resource. I prefer your answer to the one you linked. – JYelton Apr 18 '18 at 20:33
• @JYelton Good point. One time my daughter's boyfriend was doing a Google Search for something and found one of my SE Answers and he said it was the number one result that popped up from his query. I was only trying to let the OP know that Google can be a resource for any questions the OP might have along these lines. But I was happy to share my explanation as well. And add thereby add to the body of information available in a Google search. I'm glad you liked my answer. – Rockin Cowboy Apr 19 '18 at 21:37
• So, being in A major, G# is the 7th degree. Now, if a song has say C#7, does that mean that i would play C# chord+ G#? and B7 would be B chord + G# ? thanks in advance – Fernando Gabrieli Oct 16 '18 at 0:23
• @FernandoGabrieli I think you are confusing chords and scales. In chord notation B7, C7, G7 etc. is actually the way to describe a "Dominant 7th" chord which is commonly used in songs written in major keys. To play Dominant 7th chord you add a "flattened" 7th degree to the scale of the root of the major chord. In the case of a C7 chord, a C Major chord would have C as the root note followed by the 3rd and 5th notes of the scale. So a C chord is C E G. To make this chord a C7 you find the 7th note in the C scale which is B and then flatten it to Bb (which happens to be the same as A#). – Rockin Cowboy Oct 16 '18 at 20:02
• @FernandoGabrieli You may be confusing a "half step" with "flat". In Western Music an octave is divided into 12. But there are only 7 "whole notes" A B C D E F and G. There are 5 "half notes". 7 plus 5 = 12. In a major scale the tones between the root note & the next note are one whole step. All the keys (both black and white) on a keyboard count as a step and when you jump the adjacent key to get to the key after the adjacent key that is a whole step. Since there is no black key to jump between B & C that is only a half step. But it's not flat in the key of C Major. – Rockin Cowboy Nov 10 '18 at 1:24