In this lesson we take a look at the G major scale. This scale is based on G. Its key signature has one sharp, F#. This means that when reading music, every time you see an F, it must be sharped. Instead of F you play F#.
Its pitches are G, A, B, C, D, E, and F#. After F sharp, you go back to G. This means that you play 6 white keys and one black key, F#, which is just after the white key, F. F sharp is the first key in the set of three black keys on your piano keyboard.
Now that we know the notes that form the G major scale, we shall now take a look at the correct fingering.
Firstly lets get a clear understanding of how our fingers are numbered. The diagram below illustrates this clearly. It can be seen that for both hands, the thumb is finger 1, the index finger is finger 2, the middle finger is numbered 3, the ring finger is numbered 4 and the pinky finger is 5th finger.
How to Play G Major Scale with Right Hand
Let’s learn the correct way to play the Gmaj scale with the right hand.
Start with the thumb (1st finger) and play G. Then play A with the second finger. 3rd finger plays B. Thumb should now pass under the 3rd finger and play C. Then 2nd finger plays D, 3rd finger plays E, 4th finger plays F#, and 5th (pinky) finger plays G.
When going down the scale, the same fingers are used for the same notes except that it all happens in reverse. The 5th finger plays G, 4th finger plays F#, 3rd finger plays E, 2nd plays D, and thumb (1st) plays C. Third finger now goes over thumb to play B, 2nd plays A and 1st finger plays G.
I created a video showing how you should play the G major scale with the right hand as well as the left hand.
How to Play G Major Scale with Left Hand
How about the left hand? Let’s find out.
For the left hand you start by playing the note G with the 5th (pinky) finger. Then 4th finger plays A, 3rd plays B, 2nd plays C, and 1st plays D. Third finger then goes over thumb and plays E, 2nd finger plays F sharp and 1st finger plays G.
To go down the scale, simply do everything in reverse. In other words, 1st finger plays G, 2nd plays F#, and 3rd plays E. Thumb now goes under middle finger to play D, finger 2 plays C, finger 3 plays B, finger 4 plays A and finger 5 plays G.
Notes: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G
Fingerings (LH): 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1
Fingerings (RH): 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
If you understand the formula for forming a major scale, you can form it in any key, starting on any note. The formula, using whole steps (WS) and half steps (HS) goes like this:
Root – WS – WS – HS – WS – WS – WS – HS (Root)
With respect to the G major scale the root is G, you move a whole step to A, a whole step to B, a half step to C, a whole step to D, a whole step to E, a whole step to F#, and a half step to G. A whole step is two half steps and it means that you skip one key. It means that you play the key that is 2 keys to the right of that key. For a half step, you don’t skip any key; you simply move to the next key. B to C is a half step and the same applies to F# to G.
Here’s some music theory which you may want to keep in mind for future reference, as you advance. In terms of scale degrees, G is the tonic of the Gmaj scale, A is the supertonic, B is the mediant, C is the subdominant, D is the dominant, E is the submediant, F is the leading tone and you move to G which is the octave of the scale.
The following diagrams show the G major scale on the treble and bass clef, ascending and descending.
Keep practicing this scale and you will only get better at it. As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect”.