Music Children

Scales and Octaves

Middle C and Ledger Lines

The Middle C pitch lies on the line directly below the staff with a treble clef and on the line directly above the staff with a bass clef. Since these lines are not in the staves, we need to add ledger lines so that we can write the Middle C notes.

Treble Clef with Middle C

Treble Clef with Middle C

Bass Clef with Middle C

Bass Clef with Middle C

Octaves

If we start counting at a Middle C note and go up to the eighth step above it, then we reach another C note. These pitches have the same name because they sound almost that same. In between these notes, we have three spaces and three lines. The distance between these two C notes is called an octave.

Octave with Treble Clef

On a piano keyboard, we can find the two C keys that are an octave apart. The white keys on a piano play the notes in this staff shown above. There is a repeating pattern for every octave because notes that are an octave apart always sound similarly.

Octave on Piano Keys

C Major Scale

The notes that span the octave from one C pitch to another form what is called the C Major scale. Scales are the basis for making music.

C Major Scale

A Minor Scale

Most music is written using one of the two types of scales: Major and Minor. The A Minor scale is made up of the notes in the octave from one A to the next one an octave up from it.

A Minor Scale
 

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