The Major Scale: Part 5: The 3rd Degree Position

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Remember how I stated in the previous article that each position has a chord associated with it? Well, this will be true for each of the positions. Each scale degree will be the starting note for the left hand scale position and the starting note for the chord that is associated with it.

I’m not going to go into why a particular chord is associated with a particular degree/finger position at this moment. You will have to trust me. The reason I’m introducing the chords for each degree now is that I wanted you to get a little taste of what they are and how they look and sound. So, later, when we get into to the nitty gritty of chords, you won’t be totally foreign to the subject.

So, lets continue and go over the next position in the major scale by watching the video below.

Music Theory: F Major Scale: 3rd Degree Position

For Fun

Try playing the chord and then play the position just like I do in the video. Furthermore...

  • record yourself strumming the chord and play the fingering positions with the recording.
  • Do this for each position/chord that you are introduced to. 
  • Try even mixing and matching the position and chords given thus far. As you do this ask yourself “how does it sound?”, “do I like the sound of this position with this chord?”, “can I play the notes in another way other than ascending and descending?”.

The Experiment: Reading Sessions

If you think there is too much review, thats okay. You can skip this part and go right to the next video.  I like to do small reviews of previous articles to help reinforce the information provided. Let me further suggest that you try this little experiment in learning.

  • Take the time to read out loud and slowly each article before watching the video. Some may be long, others short. But, just read it out loud and slow. Believe it or not, when your read things out loud, it will help in developing your ability to focus. 
  • Secondly, after doing this try writting what you can remember about what you have read/watched with each article posting. I find that when I write things down, especially more than once, I seem to grasp the information better and feel more organized.
  • For the third part of this experiment, take the time to talk about what you know with someone. I would pick someone who is also interested with music theory and guitar. Otherwise, you risk the probablilty of putting that person to sleep. 

So reading it out loud, writting it down in your own words, and talking about it. That’s the experiment. Let’s do a reading session right now:

Reading Session: The Major Scale Review

In the history of westernized-european music we have 12 tones/notes (12 sounds) that we can drawn upon to make music. These 12 notes are organized in such a way that they are a half-step (one fret) away from each other. This organized series of notes is referred to as the CHROMATIC SCALE.

Each note from this scale can be used as a starting note or TONIC for a new scale. There are many different scale types. Each of these different scales (or series of notes) will sound unique from each other because of their construction. 

All scales are built with a special combination of intervals (whole steps - two frets and half steps - one fret).

Intervals are the distances between notes. 

When you put a series of notes in a sequence of steps/intervals you get what is called a SCALE. The special sequence is also called a scale formula. The most popular scale formula is the MAJOR SCALE FORMULA. 

The scale formula for the chromatic scale consists of a series of half-steps (one fret distances). The major scale consists of a unique combination of whole-steps and half-steps.

Because we have 12 different starting notes from the chromatic scale, known as tonics, we can have 12 different sounding major scales. We get this by applying the major scale formula to each of the notes of the chromatic scale.

They will all sound like a major scale and yet they all are separate from one another. Think of the major scale type as a house with 12 different rooms. All of these rooms contain the same things such as a bed, chair, table, or window. But, these rooms occupy a separate space in the house. 

So, each room can be consider a new KEY. Just like each room of an apartment building has a room number, each key has a KEY SIGNATURE. So, if you get a room number that says 301, chances are you will understand that you need to go to the third floor to find that particular room. 

The key signature does the same thing. By looking at them you can determine which key that you are in.  Moving from room to room in the same house is like moving from one key to another. This movement is called MODULATION.


So, to sum it up, when you decide to read things out loud, know that it will improve your focus over time. When you decide to write your thoughts down on paper from memory into your own words, you will find that you become more organized and aware of the information. Finally, I think by talking to other people about what you have learned helps you put your memory to practice in real time. Its a great way to review.

Practice Sessions Introduction

Let’s put to practice what we have learned.

Practice Sessions: F Major Scale: Tonic/1st Degree Position

Are you excited? I am. Let’s do a practice session together right now....

Questions and Answers From Last Week

Fill in the blanks.

1. The major scale has a formula/pattern of h_____ steps and w_____ steps.

half, whole

2. Each note has a number name called a d_____.


3. We can arrange these notes to play the major scale across all six strings. These arrangements of notes are called f_______ positions.


4. The t_____ will always tell you the name of the major scale/key that you are using.


5. F______ p______ make playing ove longer distances easier. 

Finger positions

6. The first degree of a scale is also referred to as the t____.


7. The second degree of the F major scale is the ___ note.


8. In the key of F, the c_____ associated with the second degree is calle the ___ m7.

chord, G

9. Chords have a f_______ too. The formula for the m7 (minor seventh chord) is R b3 5 b7.


10. How many degrees are in the major scale?

There are 7 degrees.

© John Culjak 2016-2017