Scale Charts

Scale charts are fairly straightforward once you know your way around them. However, they are extremely useful, so it’s worth spending a couple of minutes to really get to grips with them. A scale chart shows the chords that naturally appear in a scale, as well as the notes in the chord. So they’re handy whenever you’re doing anything remotely linked to harmonisation.

There are  rules for making a scale chart, with a couple of additions to minor scales.

 

Scale chart rules in major keys

So here we’ll list the rules of writing out a scale chart, using D major as an example

  1. On a piece of manuscript paper write a treble clef and the appropriate key signature (e.g. two sharps),
  2. Write the scale out in semibreves (e.g. from D to C), leaving plenty of space between the notes. There is no need to duplicate the tonic as you usually would when writing a scale,
  3. Add the third and fifth on top of each note,
  4. Annotate the scale chart by writing the chord name and Roman numeral beneath the stave.

 

Here is a diagram of these stages, using D major as an example:

Scale chart-page-001

 

Scale chart rules in minor keys

A scale chart in a minor key uses exactly the same process as the one above, but it has one additional step.

  1. On a piece of manuscript paper write a treble clef and the appropriate key signature (e.g. two sharps),
  2. Write the scale out in semibreves (e.g. from D to C), leaving plenty of space between the notes. There is no need to duplicate the tonic as you usually would when writing a scale,
  3. Add the third and fifth on top of each note,
  4. Add a sharp accidental to the seventh degree of the scale, making sure to add the accidental to this note inside chords,
  5. Annotate the scale chart by writing the chord name and Roman numeral beneath the stave.

 

Here is a diagram of these stages, using D minor as an example:

Scale chart-page-002