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The G Major Scale is part 28 in a 31 part series on musical notation and basic music theory. See C Major Scale and Do Re Mi to review diatonic harmony, scale degrees, whole steps, half steps, semitones and the major scale pattern.
Below we have a C Major scale. Remember the pattern? It's WWHWWWH.
If we change the key to G Major, we now start our scale on G. If we follow the pattern, what would the notes in a G Major scale be? Below we have all of the notes in the chromatic scale on top.
Below them are the notes in this Major Scale. This is a great visual! You can see where notes are skipped due to whole steps to create a major scale in G major.
Look at this piano to see how the pattern W-W-H-W-W-W-H forces the F# into the scale.
This is how you know you are in the key of G when the treble staff (below) looks like this. Notice the # is on the top line which is F, making it F#.
When musicians see one sharp in the KEY SIGNATURE (key signature tells you what key you're in by the clef and the number of sharps or flats at the beginning of a song), they automatically know they are in the key of G major (or E minor, but that's the next lesson).
Again, if we look at the treble staff and start on G, we go up the octave and follow the pattern WWHWWWH. F becomes F# in the key of G Major. It is the only note that changes when going from the key of C to the key of G.
NOTE: Here is a good example of why you have enharmonic names for notes. You could also call this note Gb. However, since we are in the key of G, the seventh pitch has to be some kind of F. You can't notate a G and Gb in the same scale.
Here is a short list of famous songs in the key of G Major:
Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton
Sugar Mountain by Neil Young
Take It Easy by The Eagles
Country Boy by Ricky Skaggs
Hot Dog by Led Zeppelin
A Hard Day's Night by The Beatles
Love Me Do by The Beatles
Squeeze Box by The Who
Knockin' on Heaven's Door by Bob Dylan
Blowin' in the Wind by Bob Dylan
Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash
Tush by ZZ Top
I Feel Fine by The Beatles