Major Blues Scale: Theory & Ear Training

music notation for c major blues scale

The Major Blues Scale, lesser-known cousin of the Minor Blues Scale, has a majorish, jazzier quality than the Minor Blues Scale…

C Major Blues Scale Theory…

  1. The scale structure of the Major Blues Scale is always 1-2-b3-3–5-6-1, no matter what key you are in.
  2. The Solfege syllables of the Major Blues Scale are always Do-Re-Me-Mi-So-La-Do, no matter what key you are in.
  3. The only thing that changes when you change keys are the letter names.

Comparative Scale Study

The Major Blues Scale uses all five notes from the Major Pentatonic Scale, but adds the blue note Me.

The side-by-side use of Mi and Me gives this scale a delicious simultaneous major/minor feel that is so characteristic of blues, jazz, and gospel.

Note regarding notation: In the key of C, You will often see Eb spelled as D# depending on the context. Do not fret over the names. It’s the sound and physical keys that count. This is a great illustration of the limits of “theory” and naming things. To my intellect and ears, I think that Eb(D#) may be most musically described as “Mi flat” because it is really its relationship to Mi that defines it. Again, don’t get hung up on the names. Names are just very temporary training wheels until we see that music is really about the sound, visio-spatial mapping, and the physical expression on our instrument.

Major Blues Scale Solfege Ear Training

Reading, playing, and singing the Solfege Syllables out loud is an extremely effective way to tune up your ears and to internalize the unique sound-feeling of each note in the scale with respect to the key center Do. Make sure to do this slowly enough for the unique sound-feeling of each Solfege Syllable to make a meaningful impression on your mind’s ear.

C Major Blues Scale: Linear, Ascending…


C Major Blues Scale: Linear, Descending…


C Major Blues Scale: Do-X-Do, Ascending…


C Major Blues Scale: Do-X-Do, Descending…


Note: While it’s possible to continue by singing a bunch of other musical patterns, the 80-20 Principle teaches us that a more efficient approach is to get your ear training material directly from the music that YOU want to play!

learn more… Middle Eastern Scale: Theory & Ear Training

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