C Octatonic (Whole-tone, Half-tone) Scale on the Piano - Improvisation and Composition

Notes: C, D, Eb, F, F#, G#, A, and B - Key: C - Category: Nonatonic or Ennatonic Scales

The C Octatonic (Whole-tone, Half-tone) uses nine notes per octave. Because of this same reason it is a member of the so called Nonatonic or Ennatonic -scales that have Nine-note (or Nine-tone). On the piano keyboard, it is made up of three black keys: Eb, F#, and G# and five white keys: C, D, F, A, and B. This combination makes this scale - as well as the C Prometheus, C Prometheus Liszt, and C Prometheus Neapolitan - as great choices for composing or improvising music.

If we take a look a the key signature of the C Octatonic (Whole-tone, Half-tone) Scale we can find it has one flats and two sharps. Therefore, on sheet music you will find three accidentals on the score. The notes of this scale are: C, D, Eb, F, F#, G#, A, and B.

How to play the C Octatonic (Whole-tone, Half-tone) scale?

  1. 1
    To play the C Octatonic (Whole-tone, Half-tone) on your piano, start on the Root note. Play C, the first note of the scale.
  2. 2
    Continue with rest of the notes that shape the scale, play D, Eb, F, F#, G#, A, and B.
  3. 3
    Return to the home of the C Octatonic (Whole-tone, Half-tone) scale. Play again C -the tonic of the scale- to mark its ending.

How to play the scale in descending fashion?

  1. 1
    Begin on the last note. Play the C, the last (and first) note of the scale.
  2. 2
    Go down. Play B, A, G#, F#, F, Eb, and D.
  3. 3
    Reach the home again. Establish tonality by playing the tonic of the C Octatonic (Whole-tone, Half-tone) scale: C.
  4. 4
    Tip. If you want to learn how to improvise or compose your own music using the C Octatonic (Whole-tone, Half-tone) scale or any other scale, check out our piano improvisation and composition lessons and enjoy thousands of interactive multimedia piano animations.
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