Diatonic Scale: Visualize Patterns of Whole Steps & Half Steps

    🎹 A diatonic scale is a 7-note scale (heptatonic scale) that has 5 whole steps (tones) & 2 half steps (semitones) per octave. The half steps are distributed in a way where they are surrounded by either 2 whole steps or 3 whole steps.

    The diatonic scale forms the basis of Western tonal music and as such is one of the pillars of Western music theory.

    Here's an interactive tool to visualize the 7 types of diatonic scales (the 7 modes of the major scale) on the piano keyboard as well as their pattern of whole steps and half steps.

    Major (Ionian)

    • C
    • C♯ D♭
    • D
    • D♯ E♭
    • E
    • F
    • F♯ G♭
    • G
    • G♯ A♭
    • A
    • A♯ B♭
    • B
    • C
    • C♯ D♭
    • D
    • D♯ E♭
    • E
    • F
    • F♯ G♭
    • G
    • G♯ A♭
    • A
    • A♯ B♭
    • B
    • C

    notes:

    Major scale pattern

    • W
    • W
    • H
    • W
    • W
    • W
    • H

    Dorian

    • C
    • C♯ D♭
    • D
    • D♯ E♭
    • E
    • F
    • F♯ G♭
    • G
    • G♯ A♭
    • A
    • A♯ B♭
    • B
    • C
    • C♯ D♭
    • D
    • D♯ E♭
    • E
    • F
    • F♯ G♭
    • G
    • G♯ A♭
    • A
    • A♯ B♭
    • B
    • C

    notes:

    Dorian pattern

    • W
    • H
    • W
    • W
    • W
    • H
    • W

    Phrygian

    • C
    • C♯ D♭
    • D
    • D♯ E♭
    • E
    • F
    • F♯ G♭
    • G
    • G♯ A♭
    • A
    • A♯ B♭
    • B
    • C
    • C♯ D♭
    • D
    • D♯ E♭
    • E
    • F
    • F♯ G♭
    • G
    • G♯ A♭
    • A
    • A♯ B♭
    • B
    • C

    notes:

    Phrygian pattern

    • H
    • W
    • W
    • W
    • H
    • W
    • W

    Lydian

    • C
    • C♯ D♭
    • D
    • D♯ E♭
    • E
    • F
    • F♯ G♭
    • G
    • G♯ A♭
    • A
    • A♯ B♭
    • B
    • C
    • C♯ D♭
    • D
    • D♯ E♭
    • E
    • F
    • F♯ G♭
    • G
    • G♯ A♭
    • A
    • A♯ B♭
    • B
    • C

    notes:

    Lydian pattern

    • W
    • W
    • W
    • H
    • W
    • W
    • H

    Mixolydian

    • C
    • C♯ D♭
    • D
    • D♯ E♭
    • E
    • F
    • F♯ G♭
    • G
    • G♯ A♭
    • A
    • A♯ B♭
    • B
    • C
    • C♯ D♭
    • D
    • D♯ E♭
    • E
    • F
    • F♯ G♭
    • G
    • G♯ A♭
    • A
    • A♯ B♭
    • B
    • C

    notes:

    Mixolydian pattern

    • W
    • W
    • H
    • W
    • W
    • H
    • W

    Natural Minor (Aeolian)

    • C
    • C♯ D♭
    • D
    • D♯ E♭
    • E
    • F
    • F♯ G♭
    • G
    • G♯ A♭
    • A
    • A♯ B♭
    • B
    • C
    • C♯ D♭
    • D
    • D♯ E♭
    • E
    • F
    • F♯ G♭
    • G
    • G♯ A♭
    • A
    • A♯ B♭
    • B
    • C

    notes:

    Minor scale pattern

    • W
    • H
    • W
    • W
    • H
    • W
    • W

    Locrian

    • C
    • C♯ D♭
    • D
    • D♯ E♭
    • E
    • F
    • F♯ G♭
    • G
    • G♯ A♭
    • A
    • A♯ B♭
    • B
    • C
    • C♯ D♭
    • D
    • D♯ E♭
    • E
    • F
    • F♯ G♭
    • G
    • G♯ A♭
    • A
    • A♯ B♭
    • B
    • C

    notes:

    Locrian pattern

    • H
    • W
    • W
    • H
    • W
    • W
    • W


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