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Learn About the Unique Gb Major Scale

Gb major scale piano

G flat is a very common key and scale with 6 flats. It is definitely on the more advanced side of music theory, so I’ll be breaking down everything you need to know about it today! Gb may not be the easiest scale out there, but it is definitely worthwhile to learn.

What is the Gb scale in piano?

The Gb scale, simply put, is a major scale that both starts and ends on the note “G flat.” It follows the typical pattern of half steps and whole steps that builds a major scale. Gb is the slightly less common spelling of the scale, since it spells the note B as a “C flat.” Most pianists prefer the F# spelling of the scale.

What are the notes in the Gb major scale?

The notes in a Gb scale are as follows: Gb, Ab, Bb, Cb, Db, Eb, and finally F. I’ll show you diagrams and sheet music with these notes soon.

BEFORE You Begin

Like I mentioned before, I much prefer learning this scale using the F# spelling.

But both F# AND Gb major are advanced scales, so I highly recommend learning all your other major scales first anyway. Here’s a list you can refer to:

White Key Scales:

Black Key Scales Group #1:

Black Key Scales Group #2:

After you learn the easy versions of the scales, you can learn about their enharmonic equivalents (scales with the same notes but different spellings).

That’s what we’re about to do here with the Gb scale (and what we’ve done before with the C# scale too!)

G Flat Scale Piano Notes & Fingerings

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get right into the details about the G flat 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.

Gb major scale diagram with fingerings

How to Play the Gb Scale on the Piano

To play the G flat scale on the piano, press down each note shown in the diagram above, starting with the Gb on the far left and working your way to the Gb 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).

Like I mentioned earlier, Gb is the enharmonic equivalent to F# major. So if you’ve already learned the F# scale, you will be playing the same exact notes and using the same exact fingerings! (If you haven’t, refer to this post for more tips on playing this scale).

About those 6 Flats

The Gb scale may have 6 flats, but it still only has 5 black keys. That is because one of the white keys has to be spelled as a black key.

The reason for this is because you can’t have 2 notes with the same letter name in a scale. If, for example, we called Cb by its more common name—B—then we would have both a regular B and a Bb in this scale. That is a big no-no. The notes must go in sequential order with different letter names.

And thus, that is why we have the annoying Cb, making it harder to learn songs in this key.

Gb Major Scale On The Staff

Here is what the Gb scale looks like on both treble and bass clef. Can you find the Cb? That is the note that makes reading Gb sheet music more tricky!

Gb major scale treble clef and bass clef

Scale Intervals

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 Gb major:

  • Tonic: Gb
  • Major 2nd: Ab
  • Major 3rd: Bb
  • Perfect 4th: Cb
  • Perfect 5th: Db
  • Major 6th: Eb
  • Major 7th: F
  • Perfect 8th: Gb

Scale Degrees:

Another way to look at a scale is by “degrees.” Here are the scale degrees for the key of Gb:

  • Tonic: Gb
  • Supertonic: Ab
  • Mediant: Bb
  • Subdominant: Cb
  • Dominant: Db
  • Submediant: Eb
  • Leading tone: F
  • Octave: Gb

Triad Chords In The Key Of Gb

Did you know a chord can also be built off of EVERY note in the Gb scale? That’s right! It is a great exercise to practice finding these chords in each key. There is only one note in Gb that’s not a flat, so it will be a bit trickier than other keys.

Chord I: Gb major (notes are Gb – Bb – Db)

Chord ii: Ab minor (notes are Ab – Cb – Eb)

Chord iii: Bb minor (notes are Bb – Db – F)

Chord IV: Cb major (notes are Cb – Eb – Gb – also known as the B chord)

Chord V: Db major (notes are Db – F – Ab)

Chord vi: Eb minor (notes are Eb – Gb – Bb)

Chord vii: F diminished (notes are F – Ab – Cb)

Gb Major Scale FAQ

Because this scale can tend to be a little confusing with the extra sharps, let’s talk about some common questions people have about Gb major.

Is Gb a major scale?

Yes, Gb is definitely a major scale! But Gb has other scales as well, like natural minor and harmonic minor, for example.

What is the key signature of Gb major?

The key signature of Gb major is 6 flats.

Is Gb the same as Eb Minor?

Gb major and Eb minor are relative major and minor keys, meaning they have the same key signature. But they are not exactly the same, no.

Is Gb Major commonly used?

Yes, Gb major is a very common key, especially in classical music. If you want to be an advanced pianist, you will definitely have to play in this key at times.

How many sharps are in the key of Gb major?

There are zero sharps in the key of Gb major. There are only flats—and six of them, at that!

More Music Theory:

Now that you’ve learned about the Gb major chord, don’t stop! There’s plenty of other music theory principles to learn. Here are some topics you might want to tackle next:

Conclusion

The Gb major scale is a common scale that is more on the advanced side of music theory. You will definitely want to practice reading music in this key. One good way to prepare is to play the scale on the piano while reciting the names of the notes (remembering the Cb while you go!) You can do it!