F major scale

Interested in learning the F Major Scale?

The F Major Scale is one of the most commonly used scales in music. It’s a great scale to know if you want to play blues, rock, country, or jazz music.

In this article, we’ll teach you how to play the F Major Scale on guitar. You’ll also learn some chords and chord progressions that are common in the key of F Major.

Read the complete article below to start learning how to play the F Major Scale today!

Introduction To F Major Scale

The F Major scale is great for various genres like ballads, rock songs, country, and pop. As per the Austrian composer Schubert, it is a key of “complaisance & calm,” while Helmholtz, a classical composer, used the terms “Peace, joy, light, passing regret, the religious sentiment.” to describe the sound of the scale.

It is the most commonly used key by Taylor Swift. Some people also describe it as the friend to turn to when they need positivity and good vibes. It is also the home key for many instruments like the English horn and the basset horn. The list of symphonies in F major is attached here.

Major Scale Structure

The major scale with its seven notes falls under the category of a diatonic scale and has the following scale formula:

{W W H W W W H} or {T T S T T T S} or {2 2 1 2 2 2 1}

Out of these, the first one represents all the major scales in terms of the whole steps and the half steps, while the second representation is in terms of the semitones and the whole tones.

The third formula is based on the number of semitones between the notes. As you know, one whole tone is equal to two semitones. You may use the formulas to have a detailed structural representation of any scale, as

R – T – M2 – T – M3 – S – P4 – T – P5 – T – M6 – T – M7 – S – R(O), where R(O) is the tonic note an octave higher.

Intervals Of F Major

The intervals of any major scale are shown in the table below. The summary of the intervals from the table is R – M2 – M3 – P4 – P5 – M6 – M7 – R(O).

Between the NotesSeparation in Notes.The Interval from Root
Root & 2nd NoteTMajor 2nd
2nd & 3rd NoteTMajor 3rd
3rd & 4th NoteSPerfect 4th
4th & 5th NoteTPerfect 5th
5th & 6th NoteTMajor 6th
6th & 7th NoteTMajor 7th
7th Note & OctaveSOctave

Notes Of F Major

Using F as the first note in the detailed structural representation above, we get:

R – F – T – G – T – A – S – Bb – T – C – T – D – T – E – S – F (O).

Hence the notes of the F Major scale are {F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F(O)}, where F(O) is the F note one octave above the root.

There is one accidental (Flat) denoted by the flat symbol in the key signature of F major and no sharp. Hence it is played on the piano using six white keys and one black key. As you know, F is the next note to C in the counterclockwise direction on the Circle of Fifths.

The 7th note, E, is only a half step below the tonic at the M7 interval, earning the name the leading tone in music theory. The Major 7th interval is a very dissonant interval with a strong urge to resolve to the octave.

Scale Degrees

The intervals between the notes of F major, the note names, and their scale degrees are shown in the table below for easy reference.

Intervals Root M2 M3 P4 P5 M6 M7P8
Scale Degrees12345671(8)
Notes FGABbCDEF(O)

Diagram Of This Scale On The Treble And Bass Clef:

You can see the F major scale on the treble and bass clefs in the musical notation diagrams below. Both are shown in both ascending and descending order.

Treble Clef:

F Major Scale in ASC and Desc direction on Treble Clef

Bass Clef:

F Major Scale in ASC and Desc direction on Bass Clef

F Major Scale Guitar Positions

The diagram below shows the F major scale in the combined patterns of notes on the fretboard up to the 13th fret. As you know, the patterns repeat after the 12th fret. You can see the entire major scale in a single line from the 1st fret of the 6th string to the 13th fret.

F Major Scale Up to 14th Fret

The below diagrams show the five different scale patterns based on the CAGED system of open chords. Note the lowest root note positions of each pattern carefully, as you need to start playing any pattern from this position.

Pattern 1

F Major Scale Pattern P1

Pattern 2

F Major Scale Pattern P2

Pattern 3

F Major Scale Pattern P3

Pattern 4

F Major Scale Pattern P4

Pattern 5

F Major Scale Pattern P5

1st pattern

The main characteristics of the pattern are:

  1. It is based on the E open chord shape.
  2. It spans from the open position to the 3rd fret.
  3. It has three root notes.
  4. The lowest root note is on the 1st fret of the 6th string.

2nd pattern

The salient features of the pattern are:

  1. It is based on the D Chord shape.
  2. It spans five frets from the 2nd to the 6th fret.
  3. It has two root notes.
  4. The lowest root note is on the 3rd fret – 4th string.

3rd pattern

Observe the 3rd pattern for the F major scale

  1. It is based on the C chord shape.
  2. It is spaced over four frets from the 5th to the 8th.
  3. It has two roots.
  4. The lowest root note is on the 8th fret – 5th string.

4th pattern

Let us now see the 4th pattern carefully.

  1. It is derived from the A open chord shape.
  2. It spreads over five frets from the 7th to the 11th.
  3. It carries two root notes.
  4. The lowest root note is in the same position as the 3rd pattern – the 8th fret on the 5th string.

5th pattern

The main characteristics of the 5th pattern are:

  1. Based on the G chord shape.
  2. Spans 5 frets from 9th to 13th.
  3. Has three roots.
  4. The lowest root note is on the 13th fret of the Low e string.

Practicing & Playing the Major Scales

We have described the method in detail in our article on the D Major Scale. As a similar process is applicable, it is requested that you go through the details there.

F Major Scale On The Piano Keyboard

The F major scale with all the note names on the keyboard is shown in the piano diagram below. The piano diagram also suggests the fingers to play the different white and black keys.

Piano Diagram for F Major

What Are The Chords Of F Major?

You can see all the scale degrees, chord designation, scale degree names, chord quality, and chord names for the chords built from the F major scale in the table below.

Scale Degrees1234567
Chord DesignationIiiiiiIVVviviidim
Scale Degree NamesTonicSuper-TonicMediantSub-DominantDominantSub-MediantLeading Tone
Chord NamesFGABbCDE
Chord QualityMajorminorminorMajorMajorminordim

The following triad chords result from the F major scale.

  1. Three major chords – I, IV, and V – The F major, C Major, and the Bb Major chord. The V chord – C Major is the dominant chord for this key.
  2. Three minor chords – ii, iii, and vi – The Gm, Am, and the Dm chord.
  3. One diminished chord – viidim – The E diminished chord, Edim.

What Are The Notes In These Chords?

As you know, the triad chords are formed by imposing the tertian harmony, which means stacking the intervals of thirds over the root note. The triads of the F scale are shown in the table below.

Scale DegreesIntervalsChord NotesChord Name
1R – F – M3 – A – m3 – CF A CF
2R – G – m3 – Bb – M3 – DG Bb DGm
3R – A – m3 – C – M3 – EA C EAm
4R – Bb – M3 – D – m3 – FBB D FBb
5R – C – M3 – E – m3 – GC E GC
6R – D – m3 – F – M3 – AD F ADm
7R – E – m3 – G – m3 – BbE G BbEdim

Popular Chord Progressions In The Key Of F Major

Relative Minor & Parallel Minor Of F Major

The relative minor of the F major scale is the D minor scale. Both these scales carry the same notes. As you are undoubtedly aware, to find out the relative minor of any major scale, you can,

  1. Find out the 6th scale degree of the major scale, or
  2. Lower three semi-tones from the major key. In the present case, lowering three semitones, you get D {E, D#, D}.
  3. Use the circle of Fifths.

The parallel minor of the F major scale is F minor. The difference between the parallel scale lies in the 3rd, 6th, and 7th scale degrees which are flatted in the minor scales.

Songs In The Key Of F Major

The major songs in the key of F major are:

  1. “Come Together” by the Beatles.
  2. “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce.
  3. “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift.
  4. “Yesterday” by the Beatles.
  5. “Like A Prayer” by Madonna.
  6. “The Scientist” by Coldplay.
  7. “Don’t Stop Me Now” by the Queen.

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve looked at the notes of the F Major scale, some guitar positions for playing the scale, and the chords that belong to this key. We’ve also looked at the relative minor (Dm) and parallel minor (Fm) of F Major, as well as some common progressions and songs that you might encounter. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

Leave a Comment