The Major Scale: W W H W W W H
What does this mean?
This is the pattern of whole and half steps that makes up a major scale. In other words, if you want to make a major scale starting on C, you'd have to calculate whole and half steps up from C on a piano keyboard, like this:
Start on C. The next note needs to be a WHOLE STEP up. A whole step on a piano keyboard always has another note (either black or white) in between. So, a whole step up from C is D (the next white key) because there is a black key (C#/Db) in between. Whole steps ALWAYS have a note in between.
From D, go up one more WHOLE STEP (remember to skip a note in between!). The third note of the C Major scale is E (because D#/Eb is in between).
From E, go up a HALF STEP. A half step on a piano keyboard is any two adjacent notes (in other words, any two keys which touch each other are adjacent). Therefore, F is a half step up from E.
Going up from F you need another WHOLE STEP. Skipping F#/Gb in between you get G, then A (another WHOLE STEP), then B (another WHOLE STEP). Finally, the major scale is topped off with one more HALF STEP. That's from B to C (there's no other note in between). So, the pattern of whole and half steps for ANY major scale is: W W H W W W H.
Need more practice? Go to Ricci Adam's musictheory.net for lessons on Steps and Accidentals and the Major Scale, and a cool Scale Ear Trainer (click off everything except natural minor and major to start easily).
By the way, some people think of the pattern of whole and half steps in the major scale in a different way, numbering each note in the scale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Then they just think "Where are the half steps?" The answer is "Between 3 & 4 and 7 & 8". It's less to remember!!!