A scale is a series of pitches that ascend or descend according to a fixed pattern. For example, the C-major scale, also know as the diatonic scale, ascends with the interval pattern of whole-step, whole-step, half-step, whole-step, whole-step, whole-step, half-step. Thus, the C-major scale is C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C.
In western tonal music there are several different types of scales. The most common are major, natural-minor, harmonic-minor, and melodic-minor. However, there are many other scales found in different cultures, or in different time-periods in the west.