The G major piano scale has one sharp and is the second scale you should be learning (with C major being the first!) If you are just getting started with scales, don’t worry—I’m going to break this down step by step with notes, fingerings, and diagrams to help you along the way.
What is a G scale in piano?
The G scale is an important scale on the piano that starts on the note G and has one sharp. It is a very easy scale to learn since it only has one black note in it. I recommend learning the C scale first and then coming here to learn G.
What are the 7 notes in the G major scale?
The seven notes in the G major scale are as follows: G, A, B, C, D, E, and F#. These pitches follow the major scale formula (keep reading farther down for more info on that). The first six notes are all white notes. It’s not until that 7th note that we have to play a black key.
Let’s Review Finger Numbers!
Since this should only be the second scale you are learning, let’s review our finger numbers really quick. Knowing your finger numbers are essential to playing scales. Remember, your thumb is your #1 finger, and the number progress across your hand until your pinky, which is #5.
When you learn the G scale in the next step, refer back to this chart if you forget which finger is which (although, you should definitely memorize these asap!)
G Scale Piano Notes & Fingerings
With that information in mind, we are ready to being learning how to play the G scale. Let’s take a look at the notes that are included in this scale. Below the diagram shows which notes to play, with the right hand and left hand fingerings underneath.
How to Play the G Scale on the Piano
To play the G scale, press down each note shown in the diagram above, starting with the G on the far left and working your way to the G on the far right. Each note should be played as its own distict note, yet still connected (just don’t blur them together).
As you play, follow the finger numbers on the diagram. For the right hand, you’ll start with your thumb on G, then play your 2 on A, and 3 on B. 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 G scale is exactly the same as the C scale!
In fact, 5 of the white key scales have the same fingering. So the main thing to pay attention to is the added black keys. In this scale, the black key is an F#, played right before the final G in the scale.
G Major Scale On The Staff
If you prefer reading music, here is what the G 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!
G Scale Tips
If you are trying out the notes above and having some trouble, here are a few tips that might help.
- 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.
- Learn the C scale well before trying others. Learning C first really helps you get the form and fingering down. If you have learned C well, G should be pretty easy. You can just focus on remembering that black note at the end of the scale.
- Do hands separate before trying them together. Even if you can already play C hands together, it is a good idea to do hands separate when starting G. It never hurts to start out slower than you think you need to go.
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 G major:
- Tonic: G
- Major 2nd: A
- Major 3rd: B
- Perfect 4th: C
- Perfect 5th: D
- Major 6th: E
- Major 7th: F#
- Perfect 8th: G
Another way to look at a scale is by “degrees.” Here are the scale degrees for the key of G:
- Tonic: G
- Supertonic: A
- Mediant: B
- Subdominant: C
- Dominant: D
- Submediant: E
- Leading tone: F#
- Octave: G
Triad Chords In The Key Of G
Did you know a chord can also be built off of EVERY note in the G scale? That’s right! It is a great exercise to practice finding these chords in each key. For G it is pretty easy since there is only 1 sharp to remember.
- Chord I: G major (notes are G – B – D)
- Chord ii: A minor (notes are A – C – D)
- Chord iii: B minor (notes are B – D – F#)
- Chord IV: C major (notes are C – E – G)
- Chord V: D major (notes are D – F# – A)
- Chord vi: E minor (notes are E – G – B)
- Chord vii: F# diminished (notes are F# – A – C)
Which key is higher—C or G?
When it comes to the keys of C and G, no key is technically “higher” than the other. It is all relative to where you are starting, or where a song or scale is being played.
Generally speaking, the C scale is practiced with the right hand on middle C and the left hand below that, whereas the G scale is practiced above that. So in those terms, G would be considered higher.
But this is not a one-size-fits all answer. A key can be considered higher OR lower—it depends on where you start on the piano.
How To Get Better At Playing The G Scale
As you sit down to try the G scale, take your time. Don’t expect to be an expert overnight.
You will get better at playing the G scale faster if you go slow and practice a lot. Scales are great for warming up, so it is a good idea to practice them before you practice any other songs you may be learning on the piano.
Scales To Learn Next:
Once you’re done learning the G scale, you can move on to more difficult scales with even more flats and sharps! Here’s a master list you can work through one by one. These are not in chronological order, but rather in order of progressively more sharps and then flats.
More Music Theory:
- How Many Beats Are in a Whole Note
- Learn the Order of Flats & Sharps
- Db Major Chord
- Eb Major Chord
- Gb Major Chord
The G scale is a great scale for beginners to learn. It has only one sharp and it has a beautiful bright tone! Take your time and make sure you practice not only the notes, but also the fingerings and technique, like keeping your wrist and arm loose. You’ve got this!