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The Diatonic Scale

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This scale is a term which defines every scale that contains the forumla of W W h, W W W h inside an octave.

W's represtent a whole step and h's represent a half step.

C major is of course a classic example for it as we've seen before.
(Haven't we? Click here to learn about the C major scale.)

C major scale as an example of a diatonic scale.

In this formula we have five tones/whole steps and two half tones/half steps. In our previous lessons we already discussed the fact that all major scales are built of the same formula.

But here is something new. The natural minor scales are diatonic as well since they share the same formula as the major scales only they start from a different place.

The order whole steps and half steps in a minor scale which is a diatonic scale as well.

In the major scale, the half tones fall between the third and fourth tones and the seventh and eighth tones.
In the minor scale, the half steps fall between the second and third tones and the fifth and sixth tones.

Question

What about the harmonic minor and melodic minor scales? Are they diatonic too?

A harmonic minor is not diatonic because it has an other order of whole steps and step whithin an octave.

Nope, Since the order of whole steps and half steps whithin these scale has changed to W h, W W h W+h, h.

So now that we covered the major and minor scale, I'd like to teach you how to use the circle of fifths. It will teach you how all major and minor scales are related to each other.

Return from The Diatonic Scale to Piano Theory.






























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