G major scale

Interested in learning about the G Major Scale?

The G Major Scale is one of the most important scales in music. It’s a great scale to know if you’re looking to write or play rock, country, blues, or gospel music.

In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about the G Major Scale. You’ll learn how to play it on guitar, as well as some common chord progressions and songs that use this scale. By the end, you’ll be able to apply what you’ve learned in your own music!

Read the complete article below to know about the G Major scale thoroughly!

Introduction To G Major Scale

In the Baroque period, the G Major was considered the “key of benediction.” Queen Elizabeth II had stipulated to use of this major key for the song “God Save the Queen” in Canada. The National Anthem of New Zealand is in the key of G Major. Spotify considers it the most common key of music on their streaming platform.

Bach used G major often for his 6/8 chain rhythms. Similarly, Joseph Haydn used the key frequently in his works. You can find the list of symphonies composed in this major key here.

Major Scale Structure

As you are aware, the different types of scales differ from each other in the pattern of the whole steps and half steps between each of their notes. As per the music theory, a half step is the smallest interval that can exist between any two notes. In a diatonic scale, the whole step is the maximum distance permitted between the notes. All major and minor scales fall in the category of diatonic scales.

These restrictions, coupled with the seven notes of these scales, limit the number of whole-step and half-step intervals to five and two, respectively. Any minor and major scales follow these stipulations and differ in the pattern in which these intervals are arranged within a scale.

A major scale follows the pattern shown by the major scale formula below:

{W W H W W W H}, where W denotes the whole step intervals and H the half steps.

In terms of the semitones and the whole tones, which are equivalent to the H and W, respectively, the pattern is {T T S T T T S}. This can be represented in what is known as the detailed structural form, as shown below:

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

The representation also lists down the intervals of every note in the scale from the root note.

Intervals Of Major Scales

You can derive the intervals of every note from the root using the scale formula above.

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

These intervals can be summarized as:

R – M2 – M3 – P4 – P5 – M6 – M7 – R(O).

You can see that there are 4 Major intervals (M2, M3, M6, and M7) and 4 Perfect intervals (P1, P4, p5, and P8).

G Major Scale Notes

You can derive the intervals of the notes from the intervals mentioned in the previous section. The G Major scale notes are:

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

G Major scale: {G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G(O)}, where G(O) is one octave above the root.

There is only one accidental (sharp) in the key signature of G Major. Hence it is played on the piano using six white keys and a black one.

As you would have noticed, the seventh note has an interval of only a semitone from the octave, and hence, it is called a leading tone. It is a dissonant interval with a strong tendency to resolve up to the octave note.

Scale Degrees

All the notes of the G Major scale, their intervals, and scale degrees are shown in the table below.

Intervals Root M2 M3 P4 P5 M6 M7P8
Scale Degrees12345671(8)
Notes GABCDEF#G

Diagram Of This Scale On The Treble And Bass Clef:

The below diagrams show the notes of the G Major scale on the treble clef in ascending and descending order and then repeated on the bass clef.

Treble Clef:

G Major Scale Asc And Desc on Treble Clef

Bass Clef:

G Major Scale Asc And Desc on Bass Clef

G Major Scale Guitar Positions

Next, we will take up the G major scale positions on the guitar. Knowing the scale patterns on the guitar allows you a lot of improvisation in your playing and to create melodies effortlessly. However, memorize the notes on the fretboard if you have not done so far.

The below diagram shows you the complete G major scale of the entire fretboard up to the 15th fret. As you are aware, all the notes on the frets repeat after the 12th fret. You can see the entire G major scale in a single line pattern on the low E string from the 3rd to the 15th fret.

G Major Scale Upto 15 frets

The five patterns of the G major are based on the CAGED pattern open position shapes and are shown in the diagram below. You should go through these patterns carefully and note all the root note positions, particularly the lowest root note. Note that the patterns overlap with each other. This allows connection and easy transition between them.

Pattern 1

G Major Scale pattern P1

Pattern 2

G Major Scale Pattern P2

Pattern 3

G Major Scale Pattern P3

Pattern 4

G Major Scale Pattern P4

Pattern 5

G Major Scale Pattern P5

You must start playing any pattern from the lowest root position in the increasing order of pitches till you reach the 1st string. Then reverse the order till you reach the lowest note on the 6th string for that pattern. Again go up the order and complete back on the lowest root note.

You must utilize four fingers for playing each pattern.

1st Pattern

The first pattern, based on the E shape, has three roots, with the lowest root note on the third fret of the 6th string. It spans four frets from the 2nd to the 5th fret. You can use your index finger for fret 2, middle finger for fret 3, ring finger for fret 4, and little finger for fret 5.

2nd Pattern

The 2nd pattern is based on the D shape and has two root notes, with the lowest on the 5th fret of the 4th string. It spans 5 frets from the 4th to the 8th fret. Use 4 fingers to start at the lowest root with the finger positions shown below

  • 3rd & 4th strings – Index at 4th fret, middle at 5th, ring at 6th and little at 7th.
  • 1st, 2nd, 5th & 6th strings – Index at 5th fret, middle at 6th, ring at 7th and little at 8th.

You must switch your fingers as you leave and return to 3rd and 4th strings.

3rd pattern

The 3rd pattern is based on the C shape and spans from the 7th to the 10th string. Hence no switching is required in playing this shape. It has 2 roots, with the lowest on the 10th fret of the 5th string.

4th pattern

Based on the A shape, it spans over 5 frets from the 9th to the 13th fret with 2 roots in the pattern. The lowest root note is at the 10th fret of the 5th string. You will have to switch your fingers to play this pattern.

5th pattern

The last pattern, based on the G shape, has three root notes, with the lowest on the 15th fret of the 6th string. It also spans 5 frets from the 11th to 15th fret and necessitates the switching if fingers while playing.

G Major Scale on the Piano Keyboard

The below piano diagram shows the G major scale with the note names on the keyboard. It also shows the finger to play the different white and black keys.

G Major Scale on Piano with finger positions

What Are The Chords Of G Major?

The table below shows all the scale degrees, scale degree names, chord designation, chord quality, and chord names for the key of G major.

Scale Degrees1234567
Chord DesignationIiiiiiIVVviviidim
Scale Degree NamesTonicSuper-TonicMediantSub-DominantDominantSub-MediantLeading Tone
Chord NamesGAmBmCDEmF#dim
Chord QualityMajorminorminorMajorMajorminordim

As you may know, the following triad chords (with three notes) are built from any major scale using each of their seven scale degrees as the starting notes.

  1. Scale degrees 1, 4, and 5 results in the three major chords, designated as I, IV, and V. Out of these, the V chord is known as the dominant chord. In G, these chords are G major, F major, and C Major chord.
  2. Three minor chords are formed from the scale degrees 2, 3, and 6, represented in Roman notation as ii, iii, and vi. For the G major scale, these are A minor, B minor chord, and E minor chord.
  3. The scale degree 7 produces a diminished chord, the vii°, F#dim.

What Are The Notes In These Chords?

The triad chords are built by imposing the intervals of thirds ( a major or a minor 3rd) over the root notes. Such chords belong to a group following the tertian harmony.

Formation Of The Basic Triads

Based on the fact that a triad has two stacked intervals and two possible options for each of them, the major or minor 3rd, four types of basic triads are possible:

  1. R – M3 – m3 producing a major chord
  2. R – m3 – M3 results in a minor chord
  3. R – m3 – m3 gives a diminished chord
  4. R – M3 – M3 forms an augmented chord

Unfortunately, no augmented triad results from harmonizing any Major or minor scale. Hence, use the other three intervals to form the seven triads. These triads are shown in the table below.

Scale DegreesIntervalsChord NotesChord Name
1R – G – M3 – B – m3 – DG B DG
2R – A – m3 – C – M3 – EA C EAm
3R – B – m3 – D – M3 – F#B D F#Bm
4R – C – M3 – E – m3 – GC E GC
5R – D – M3 – F# – m3 – AD F# AD
6R – E – m3 – G – M3 – BE G BEm
7R – F# – m3 – A – m3 – CF# A CF#dim

Popular Chord Progressions In The Key Of G Major

Relative & Parallel Minor Of G Major

The relative minor of G Major is the E Minor scale. As you are undoubtedly aware, two relative scales carry the same notes. The relative minor of any major scale can be easily derived from its sixth scale degree note. E is the note at the 6th scale degree of G Major.

Other easy ways to find the relative minors are:

  1. Lower three semitones from the Major scale. In the present case, lowering three semitones gives {F#, F, E} an E.
  2. From the circle of 5ths.

The parallel minor of the G Major is the G minor scale. The parallel scales share the root notes but differ in the flatted 3rd, 6th, and 7th notes in the minor scales.

Songs In The Key Of G Major

Some of the popular songs in the key of G major are listed below:

  1. “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd.
  2. “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel.
  3. “Gravity” by John Mayer.
  4. “Let Her Go” by Passenger.
  5. “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash.
  6. “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen
  7. “Yellow Submarines” by the Beatles.

Conclusion

If you have learned the notes and positions of the G major scale on the guitar, it’s time to begin practicing some music. In this blog post, we introduced you to the chords of G major and popular chord progressions in the key. We also shared a few songs that you can learn to practice what you’ve learned. If you want clarifications regarding anything related to the key of G major, please leave your comments below, and we will get back to you soon.

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