The Note START HERE CHORD THEORY SONG TUTORIALS THEORY TECHNIQUE MUSICIANSHIP CHORDS & SCALES LIBRARY

Scales in the Key of C

Pianote  /  Key of C  /  UPDATED Mar 9, 2023

Click on the scale name link for a diagram and explanation of each scale type:

C Major Scale | C Natural Minor Scale | C Harmonic Minor Scale | C Melodic Minor Scale | C Major Pentatonic Scale | C Minor Pentatonic Scale | C Major Blues Scale | C Minor Blues Scale


C MAJOR SCALE

Major scales contain seven notes arranged in a pattern of whole and half steps: W-W-H-W-W-W-H.

Keyboard diagram of a C major scale with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

C NATURAL MINOR SCALE

Natural minor scales follow the key signature of their relative major key and have no additional accidentals.

The relative major key of C minor is E-flat major. Therefore, C minor has three flats: B♭, E♭, and A♭.

Keyboard diagram of a C natural minor scale with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

TIP: To find the relative major key, count up three half-steps from the root note of the minor key.


C HARMONIC MINOR SCALE

Harmonic minor scales follow the key signature of the relative major key and raise the seventh note of the scale by one half-step.

The relative major key of C minor is E-flat major and the seventh note of C minor is B♭. Therefore, C minor has three flats (B♭, E♭, and A♭) but B♭ is raised to B.

Keyboard diagram of a C harmonic minor scale with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

C MELODIC MINOR SCALE

In melodic minor scales, we raise the sixth and seventh notes up one half-step when ascending and lower them back down when descending. Melodic minor scales follow the key signature of the scale’s relative major.

The relative major key of C minor is E-flat major. Therefore, C minor has three flats (B♭, E♭, and A♭) and A♭ and B♭ are the sixth and seventh notes. We raise A♭ and B♭ to A♮ and B♮ when ascending the melodic minor scale, and we lower them back to A♭ and B♭ when descending.

Ascending

Keyboard diagram of an ascending C melodic minor scale with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

Descending

Keyboard diagram of a descending C melodic minor scale with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

C MAJOR PENTATONIC SCALE

A major pentatonic scale is a five-note scale built on the following major scale degrees: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6.

Keyboard diagram of a C major pentatonic scale with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

C MINOR PENTATONIC SCALE

A minor pentatonic scale is a five-note scale built on the following minor scale degrees: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7.

You can also think of the minor pentatonic scale as being built on the following major scale degrees: 1, ♭3, 4, 5, ♭7.

Keyboard diagram of a C minor pentatonic scale with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

C MAJOR BLUES SCALE

A major blues scale is built on the following major scale degrees: 1, 2, ♭3, 3, 5, 6.

Keyboard diagram of a C major blues scale with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

C MINOR BLUES SCALE

A minor blues scale is built on the following minor scale degrees: 1, 3, 4, ♭5, 5, 7

You can also think of it as being built on the following major scale degrees: 1, ♭3, 4, ♭5, 5, ♭7

Keyboard diagram of a C minor blues scale with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

🎹 Make This Your Year of Getting Good at Piano 🔥

Get free lessons, tips, and piano news delivered to your inbox every week. Subscribe to The Note!


Pianote is the Ultimate Online Piano Lessons Experience™. Learn at your own pace, get expert lessons from real teachers and world-class pianists, and join a community of supportive piano players. Learn more about becoming a Member.

Start learning piano the easy and fun way.
Sign up for 4 FREE play-along lessons

By signing up you’ll also receive our ongoing free lessons and special offers. Don’t worry, we value your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.