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Watch the Ionian online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Modes That Matter

At its core the major scale is made up of series notes separated by an order of whole (W) steps and half (H) steps. They are as follows:

W-W-H-W-W-W-H

Those same notes can be assigned numbers called scale degrees with the first note--the root--being 1 and the rest sequentially assigned their corresponding number. For instance, the second note is 2, the third is 3 and so on. Throughout this course all 13 scales or modes including major will be organized with this numeric system albeit every one of them will have a formula where one or more notes will be altered as compared to the major scale. This process of scale construction is called Parallel Major Comparison and is very effective. That all said, the scale degree formula is: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 making it the only heptatonic (7-note) formula that has no alterations. Every scale and/or mode will have at least one raised (sharp) or lowered (flat) degree from here on in.