Piano Hack #1 – Numbers

back to Piano Blog

This piano hack teaches you the numbers or scale degrees of the major scale. These numbers are important to know – if you want to create chords, chord progressions, basslines, and much more. Although it looks trivial in the key of C major, knowing the scale degrees of all 12 major scales is not quite so easy.

Simply learn one scale at a time and eventually you will know your numbers! Another important aspect of scale degrees is transposition. If you can break down chords, chord progressions or melodies to their respective numbers in a given key, it only takes one more step to play them in a different key. Simply apply those same numbers to the scale of the new key.

The numbers or scale degrees of the C major scale

Chord tensions such as the sixth or major seventh are also derived from those numbers. If you count further upward, you will also find the ninth, but that is the same note as the 2, in the key of C major it is D.

Check out the Playing Piano with Chords book for more information or take a look at Piano Chord Charts for scales and chords in all 12 keys!