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A scale is a set of notes that covers an octave, usually listed in ascending order, and used as the tonal material for music. The major scale, minor scales, and most other modes have seven SCALE DEGREES, one for each letter name!

All our scales are called DIATONIC because they are based on an octave divided into twelve half-steps. The CHROMATIC SCALE, shown below ascending and descending, contains all twelve of these notes. It may be spelled with sharps or flats. Note that there is no accidental between E and F nor B and C.

There are six full steps in an octave. The WHOLE-TONE SCALE has six scale degrees.
The PENTATONIC SCALE has five scale degrees. There are two minor thirds to fill the space of the octave.

If you already know all this stuff, try the scales quiz.
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