Understanding Scale Degrees

This is a big lesson - don't race through it! In fact, don't even begin it unless you have already thoroughly absorbed the information in all previous lessons. For easy reference, each note in a scale is numbered and these numbers are referred to as scale degrees. For instance, in C major:

Scale Degrees in C

And in the key of E♭ major:

Scale Degrees in E♭

Referring to the key of C major, you would say that the 3rd is E, the flattened 3rd is En, the sharpened 5th is G#, and so on. For the purposes of chord construction, the scale degrees are commonly extended beyond the octave (8th note) up to the 13th by simply repeating the notes of the scale.

The numbers also help with intervals. For instance, from C up a seventh, brings us to B. From C up a ninth, brings us to D (the one above the next C).

Scale Degrees Interval

Understanding Scales | Understanding Chord Structure | Understanding Diatonic Chords | Understanding Minor Scales | Diatonic Chords in Minor Keys | Scale Degree Names | Chord Substitution - Extended Chords | Chord Substitution - Overlapping Chords | Improvisation - Arpeggios | Improvisation - Major Scales | Improvisation - Pentatonic Scales | Improvisation - Blues Scales