An Introduction to the F Sharp Major Scale

If you’re familiar with Beethoven’s famous piece, Piano Sonata Number 24, you’ve heard the key of F sharp major in action [1].

Whether you’re a novice when it comes to music, or you simply need to brush up on your basics, we’ve got you covered with this simple guide to everything you should know about the F sharp major scale.

This breakdown covers everything including what notes make up the F sharp major scale, to what the scale looks like, famous works derived from it, and even tips on how to play it.

Basics of the F Sharp Major Scale

In the key of F sharp, there are six sharps.

This key includes the following notes in order to create the F sharp major scale:

F# -Tonic Note

G# -Major Second Note

A# -Major Third Note

B -Perfect Fourth Note

C# -Perfect Fifth Note

D# -Major Sixth Note

E# -Major Seventh Note

F# -(One octave above the first F#), Perfect Eighth Note

The key of G flat major, containing six flats, is the direct enharmonic equivalent of the F sharp major key.

The relative minor key and scale to F sharp major, is D sharp minor, and the parallel minor scale and key to F sharp major, is F sharp minor.

If you are writing music for transposing instruments in either the key of E flat or B flat, it is best practice to use the G flat key signature, instead of F sharp.

This is recommended to prevent double sharps in key signatures.

F Sharp Major Interval Positions

The F sharp major scale uses the following pattern of whole and half steps between each note: Whole, Whole, Half, Whole, Whole, Whole, Half.

While the physical spacing between whole and half notes may vary depending on the instrument you play, (violins for example might be explained differently), the best way to think of these whole and half steps for a piano might be:

-To count up one whole tone on the piano, you count up TWO physical keys on the piano. Those two keys can be either white or black. Simply move up two whole keys from the last note.

-To count up one half tone on the piano, you count up ONE physical key on the piano. That one key can be either white or black as well. Simply move up one whole key from the last note.

F Sharp Major Chord

Within the key of F sharp, and derived from the F sharp major scale, the F sharp major chord is like any other major triad [2]. It is made of three notes: the root (tonic note), the major third note, and perfect fifth note.

For F sharp major, the chord is played: F#, A#, C#

When you play these three notes simultaneously, you create an F sharp major chord.

How to Determine the Major Chord?

Another helpful way to remember how to determine the notes in a major chord, is to use the formula: R + 4HS + 3HS. This means you take the root note, then go up 4 half steps (to get the major third note), then you go up another 3 half steps, (to get the perfect fifth note).

Remembering this little formula can help with instruments like the piano or violin to know how many half steps are between each of the three notes in the major chord.

When the notes for the F sharp major chord are played in this order: F#, A#, C#, this is called, the root position.

This is because we begin playing the F sharp major chord with the root note, the tonic, or in other words, with F#.

F Sharp Major Chord 1st and 2nd Inversions

The F sharp major chord can be played in a variety of ways. The root position is not the only way to play an F sharp major chord, it can also be played in what is called the 1st or 2nd inversion.

The 1st inversion of the F sharp major chord is when you play the three notes of the F sharp major chord in the following order: A#, C#, F#.

The 2nd inversion of the F sharp major chord is when you play the three notes of the F sharp major chord in the following order: C#, F#, A#.

Fingerings for F Sharp Major Chord

For those looking to play this chord on an instrument such as the piano, here is a simple guide to the fingerings. Keep in mind, that your fingers are numbered 1 through 5 in the following manner:

  • Thumb- Finger 1
  • Index- Finger 2
  • Middle- Finger 3
  • Ring- Finger 4
  • Pinky- Finger 5

In root position, the chord is played with fingers, 1, 3, and 5. This creates the F#, A#, C# basic chord.

1st inversion is played: A# with 1st finger, C# with 2nd finger, F# with 5th finger.

2nd inversion is played: C# with 1st finger, F# with 3rd finger, A# with 5th finger.

Famous Pieces Written in F Sharp Major

If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of musical history, below are several famous, classical works written in the key of F sharp major:

  • “Farewell” Symphony, by Joseph Hayden
  • Barcarolle, by Frederic Chopin
  • Op. 78, by Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Piano Sonata No. 24, by Ludwig van Beethoven

While there are many additional famous, classical pieces written in this notoriously lively key, F sharp major is also a popular key for modern musicians to compose in.

Below we’ve listed several modern pop songs written in the key of F sharp major that just might ring a bell… They include:

  • Sweet Child O’Mine, by Guns and Roses
  • Born This Way, by Lady Gaga
  • I Can’t Help It, by Michael Jackson
  • You Belong With Me, by Taylor Swift

The Building Blocks of Music

Learning basic information about each scale, (such as the F sharp major scale), is essential for individuals endeavoring to become proficient at any musical instrument.

Scales, like the F sharp major, are the building blocks of all music.

Knowing which notes are in every scale, how many flats or sharps exist, and whether the scale is considered major or minor, will enable musicians to more easily play music correctly without having to pause and think about how it should sound.

Now that you know the basics of the F sharp major scale, time to get practicing! Next is to learn the C sharp major scale.

Stephanie Su

Started learning music when she was four years old, Stephanie is a music teacher and a music therapist who is highly proficient in Piano, Violin, Guitar, and Ukulele. She likes to learn, teach, and share her music playing experiences.

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