A beautiful, bright scale to learn: the E major piano scale! The E scale has 4 sharps, making it the next logical scale to learn after the A scale with 3 sharps. Are you ready? I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about the E piano scale today. This post includes note diagrams, fingerings, and lots more!
What is the E scale on the piano?
The E scale, simply put, is a major scale that both starts and ends on the note “E.” It is a scale that is starting to get up there in terms of sharps, since it has 4 sharps and 3 white notes. This doesn’t mean you should be scared of it, though! This scale still uses the normal fingerings of the white key majors.
What Notes Are In The E Scale?
The notes in an E scale are as follows: E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, and finally D#. I’ll show you diagrams and sheet music with these notes soon.
BEFORE You Begin
Stop! Before you learn the E scale, it is important that you already know 4 other scales. These other scales are easier to learn, so think of them as the “prerequisite.”
If E is the first scale you are learning, you will be better off if you stop reading this post and instead learn the C scale, the G scale, the D scale, and the A scale. Each one of these scales progressively gets more sharps until we get to E.
If you already know those ones, then you’re all good to keep reading!
E Scale Piano Notes & Fingerings
Now that we’ve covered that information, we can get right into the details about the E scale! Below you can start looking at the notes in the scale on a piano diagram. You will also find the fingerings for both right and left hand underneath.
How to Play the E Scale on the Piano
To play the E scale on the piano, press down each note shown in the diagram above, starting with the E on the far left and working your way to the E on the far right. Each note should be played as its own distinct note, yet still connected (don’t blur them together, but also don’t play them too short).
As you play, follow the finger numbers on the diagram. For the right hand, you’ll start with your thumb on E, then play your 2 on F#, and 3 on G#—our first black note. The “new” part of this scale comes right off the bat with that F#! Pay special attention to it, because we’ve never had a sharp on the second note before.
Next, you’ll see a little X. The x’s stand for finger crosses.
Anytime you see a finger cross X, there are two options of what it could mean. If the X has a 3 before it and a 1 after it, this means you will be tucking your thumb underneath your 3rd finger and then repositioning your hand from there.
On the other hand, if the X has a 1 before it and a 3 after it, this means you will be crossing your 3rd finger over your thumb and repositioning your hand from there.
Here’s the good news: the fingering for the E scale is exactly the same as the C, G, D, and E scale!
In fact, these are the 5 white key scales that have the same fingering. Once you learn E, you can congratulate yourself because you’ve learned a whole “group” of similar scales! 🥳
Once you finish following the diagram going up, don’t forget to come down too! You can follow the fingerings and notes on the diagram from right to left to know how to go down the E scale.
E Major Scale On The Staff
If you prefer reading music, here is what the E scale looks like in both treble and bass clef. You’ll want to practice each hand separately until you have each one down super well. Then, you can try playing them at the same time!
Some Scale Tips
If you are trying out the notes above and having some trouble, here are a few tips I’ve learned from helping students over the years:
Keep your hand and wrist free, not tight. I find making a small bouncing motion with my wrist when I play each note really helps.
Just focus on the black keys. If you really learned your other scales well, you should be able to mostly focus on the places where the black keys fall in E (since you have already mastered the fingering). Remember to pay special attention to the F# in this scale since it is played on the second note, a place we haven’t had a sharp before.
Notice the pattern. For the E scale, it’s kind of nice since the black keys are in groups of two, right next to each other. One group of 2 is before the finger crossing, and one after. Thinking about the way the sharps are distributed into groups can be helpful for memorization.
All major scales follow a formula as far as intervals go. Here is this formula: W-W-H-W-W-W-H. The W’s stand for “whole step” and the H’s stand for “half step.
So written out the long way, the formula is: whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step.
You can use this formula any time to figure out a major scale!
When you use this formula, it also creates a relationship between the tonic (the very first note) and all the other notes. An interval can be formed between the tonic and each note of the scale. Here’s what that looks like for E major:
- Tonic: E
- Major 2nd: F#
- Major 3rd: G#
- Perfect 4th: A
- Perfect 5th: B
- Major 6th: C#
- Major 7th: D#
- Perfect 8th: E
Another way to look at a scale is by “degrees.” Here are the scale degrees for the key of E:
- Tonic: E
- Supertonic: F#
- Mediant: G#
- Subdominant: A
- Dominant: B
- Submediant: C#
- Leading tone: D#
- Octave: E
Triad Chords In The Key Of E
Did you know a chord can also be built off of EVERY note in the E scale? That’s right! It is a great exercise to practice finding these chords in each key. For E, you will have to pay attention to quite a few sharps, so watch carefully.
Chord I: E major (notes are E – G# – B)
Chord ii: F# minor (notes are F# – A – C#)
Chord iii: G# minor (notes are G# – B – D#)
Chord IV: A major (notes are A – C# – E)
Chord V: B major (notes are B – D# – F#)
Chord vi: C# minor (notes are C# – E – G#)
Chord vii: D# diminished (notes are D# – F# – A)
Is E major a sad key?
No, E major is not a sad key? In fact, it is just the opposite! E major is known to be one of the most bright sounding keys that exist. It is bright, happy, and brilliant.
What is the 5th note of E major scale?
The fifth note of E Major is B. If you are ever unsure what any note of a scale is, you can always use the whole step/half step formula we discussed above to figure it out.
Scales To Learn Next:
Once you’re done learning the E scale, you can move on to more difficult scales with flats and sharps! Here’s a master list you can work through one by one. These are not in chronological order, but rather in sections of white key scales and then black key scales, from easy to more difficult.
More Music Theory:
You don’t even have to stop there! Here are some other music theory topics you might be interested in:
When you learn to play the E major scale on the piano, your home is sure to be a brighter and happier place! 😉 This scale is the last of the white key scales that use the same fingering. The next scales we’ll learn together will be new and different since they have more tricky fingerings. But don’t worry about that now—instead, start practicing the E major scale until you completely master it!