# 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.