I dabble in the piano for half a year(+) now. Just learned about scales through this video (


I guess i listen to a lot of music with minor scales, and I want to emulate that sound which clearly inspires me to play the piano.

So know I am asking my self if makes sense for me learning all the major scales.

Is there any advantges or disadvantages starting with other scales then major?


The disadvantage will be that most instructional materials will treat the major scale as the 'default' scale, and compare other scales to it. What you will also discover as you learn more music, is that the minor scale you are most likely hearing, 'natural minor', is actually the same notes as the major scale. For example, A natural minor and C major have the exact same notes (all the white keys on the piano).

This is what is called a mode. So memorizing the notes of the major scale and practicing the finger patterns will help you understand other music teaching videos, and actually teach you the natural minor scale at the same time. However, if you want to learn a particular song that is in a minor key, go right for it! You can learn a song you love first, and then learn the theory behind it later.


In almost every case, when talking about alternate scales, the intervals are always in relation to the major scale(Ionian); same as a major triad is the base reference for chords. If you are just learning scales and chords it will be pretty hard to follow someone teaching the new scales. I didn’t watch the whole video but when he shows the 12 major scales near the end I think that makes it seem much harder to learn. Each one of those major scales follow the same formula and once you memorize that Single pattern you can play any of the 12 major scales without needing to know each note off the top of your head (but eventually you will know them).

The major scale formula after playing the first note is:


W = Whole step | H = Half step

Learning the scale formulas will help you much faster than simply learning what notes are in each major or minor scale. I hope it opens a whole new world of music to you like it did for me

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    Don't agree that knowing the formula will help much faster, except finding the actual notes. Patterns will embed the scale notes better. But, a good first (I guess) answer. +1. – Tim Jan 28 '18 at 7:27
  • Maybe not. I can speak of my personal experience. I played guitar for 8 years not knowing any theory (like most guitarists) and I could play G major scale and D major scale and Blues pentatonic; but ask me to play a Db major scale? I would have no clue how to play it if I didn't already know the notes or fingering. when I learned about intervals and the scale formula I could then play any major scale on any instrument. it increased my understanding of scales rapidly. – Timinycricket Jan 28 '18 at 8:23
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    On guitar (which is not the instrument in question!) if one can play a D major scale, using only fretted notes, then Db major is the same pattern exactly, just everything one fret down. Just as Eb major is the same pattern only one fret higher. There is no need to 'know' any more than that. And on guitar, it's a little confusing with notes available either up some frets, or onto the next string and down some frets! But I take your point, and we're all different in how we reach a final conclusion. – Tim Jan 28 '18 at 9:25

I guess there's a distinction between learning the concept of a scale and understanding how it's constructed, and doing the kind of repetitive learning exercises that get the knowledge 'into your fingers' so you can play fast using that scale.

If you want to think or communicate in traditional theory terms at all, then as the other answers have already said, knowing what the major scale is (and that it tends to be a reference point for other terminology) is essential. But again, as Timinycricket says, there's very little to learn - if you know the W-W-H-W-W-W-H pattern, you know the major scale.

But in terms of what you practice, there's no harm at all in starting with the scales you like the sound of. A lot of rock guitar books start off by teaching the blues scale on the assumption that people will want to be playing music that sounds like that, and that's absolutely fine.

Having said that, one of the aims when learning an instrument is to be able to know/hear in your mind what a note is going to sound like before you play it, and likewise, to hear a note in your mind and be able to go straight to it on the instrument. Learning various different scales will have value in building up your mental map of where all the different notes are, even if with some scales you're learning which notes to avoid in your actual playing.

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