E flat major – A Guide to the Scales and Chords

By Jade Bultitude
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E flat major, key signature, three flats, treble clef

Learning your scales is so important and the E flat major scale is no exception. In this major scale the first note is E flat. This scale includes three flats and does not include a sharp. The Eb major scale includes the notes Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D, Eb. In this post we will expand your knowledge of the E flat major scale and it’s chords in detail so that you have a strong overview of what this scale is, the scale degree names, intervals within the scale, how to recognize music written in this scale, what it sounds like and what it looks like in the bass clef, treble clef, alto clef and tenor clef staves and much more!

Want to learn about different scales and keys? Have a look at our Complete Guide to Scales and Key Signatures.

Where do I start when learning the E flat major scale?

The best place to start when thinking about scales is the circle of fifths.

To know more about the circle of fifths, make sure to check out all the information and exercises on this website about the circle of fifths if you are not completely sure on what the circle is and how it works.

The starting point on the circle of fifths in C major because there are no sharps or flats within this scale.

E flat major is the third scale to the left of C major, on the circle of fifths, meaning that it will have three flats. These flats are B flat, E flat and A flat.

E flat major, circle of fifths, E flat major, eb major

As mentioned in our C major post, all major scale have a specific pattern of tones and semitones (whole steps and half steps)

This is as follows:

Tone, Tone, Semi-tone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semi-tone

Whole Step, Whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step

Whichever note you start on, you will always achieve the major scale starting on this note.

The Eb major scale is simply this pattern but starting on the note E flat.

E flat major, tone, semitone, scale

Want to practice the Ab Major scale? Why not download our free major scale worksheets.

What does the E flat major scale look like on the piano keyboard?

Below you can see what the E flat major scale looks like on the piano keyboard!

E flat major, keyboard, piano, white keys, black keys

As you can see, if we were to play this scale on the piano keyboard we make use of three black keys with the rest of the notes being played in white keys.  

What does the E flat major scale look like on the stave?

What does this scale look like on the stave?

The pitches/note names of the scale are as follows:  Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb  

Below you can see the Eb major scale written on the treble clef, bass clef, alto clef and tenor clef.

treble clef, bass clef, alto clef, tenor clef, E flat major scale

Rather than writing the flat signs on the individual notes, we can now make use of the key signature. Because every single B, E and A are flat, so we can simply write these at the start of the piece! 

Above we have written one octave of Eb major. It is important to note that this can also be written an octave higher or even an octave lower!

E flat major, one octave higher, octave change, scale

Scale degree names in E flat major

As with all scales, each note name is not only given a letter but it is also labelled with a number. We call this number a scale degree.

The scale degrees are as follows:

E flat major, scale degrees, e flat major scale

Alongside the scale degrees we can also give each letter a name!

Eb – tonic

F – Supertonic

G -Mediant

Ab – Subdominant

Bb – dominant

C – submediant

D – leading note/leading tone

Eb – tonic

What do we mean when we say a piece is ‘in the key of E flat major’?

If we say that a piece of music is in the key of E flat, this means a few things:

  • The key signature will have three flat symbols, these being B flat, E flat and A flat.
  • The tonic (or home note) of the piece will be Eb! This note will sound the most stable in the whole piece.
  • The piece will use notes only from this scale, these could be in any octave. 
  • The chords used will be those chords that are in Eb major

What are the chords of E flat major?

When writing out chords we always use Roman Numerals so it is important to make sure you are familiar with the Roman Numerals up to seven!

Here are the chords of Eb major:

I – Eb major, Tonic Chord

II – F minor, Supertonic Chord

III – G minor, Mediant Chord

IV – Ab major, Subdominant chord

V – Bb major, Dominant chord

Vi – C minor, Sub median chord

Vii – D diminished chord, leading note chord

What are the notes in these chords?

I – E flat major chord – Eb, G, Bb

E flat major chord, Chord I, tonic chord

ii – F minor chord – F, Ab, C

Chord II, F minor chord, Supertonic chord

iii – G minor chord – G, Bb, D

G minor chord, Chord III, Mediant chord

IV – Ab major chord – Ab, C, Eb

A flat major chord, Chord IV, Subdominant chord

V – B flat major chord – Bb, D, F

B flat major chord, dominant chord, Chord V

vi – C minor chord – C, Eb, G

C minor chord, Chord VI, Submediant chord

Viio – D Diminished chord – D, F, Ab

D diminished chord, Chord VII, leading note

Why are some of these chords labelled in lower case?

Chords are usually written in two different ways

Capital for MAJOR Chords

Lowercase for MINOR Chords

To know more about chords then make sure to click here!

What is the relative minor of the E flat major scale?

Remember, all major scales have relative minor scales. The relative minor scale to the E flat major scale is the C minor scale. The C minor scale uses the same notes as the E flat major scale but it starts on C! This means the pattern of tones and semitones (whole steps and half steps) will be slightly different.

The notes in C natural minor are: C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C

To learn more about the C minor scale make sure to read our post on it here!

Songs in E Flat Major

Adele- Rolling in the deep

Elton John- Your Song

Survivor- Eye of the Tiger

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Jade is an experienced musician and teacher as well as being the founder of Music Theory Foundations. She has been helping people learn music theory for more than 10 years from pre school children all the way to degree level studies.