For instance, the A natural minor scale can be built by starting on the 6th degree of the C major scale: Because of this construction, the 7th degree of the harmonic minor scale functions as a leading tone to the tonic because it is a semitone lower than the tonic, rather than a whole tone lower than the tonic as it is in natural minor scales. Fantastic presentation-the simplest, easiest to grasp and recall I have ever seen!! The Dorian mode is a minor mode with a major sixth, while the Phrygian mode is a minor mode with a minor second. For example here is D harmonic minor scale: Now onto the third type of minor scale which is the melodic minor. In this post I’ll be covering everything you need to know about minor scales including the different types and how we form them. In this role, it is used while descending far more often than while ascending. Download my free eBook with all my favourite music theory resources. If you have any questions that I haven’t covered just post a comment below and I’ll update the article. In particular, the raised sixth appears in the ascending form of the scale, while the lowered seventh appears in the descending form of the scale. The key difference between major and minor scaes is that notes on a major scale sound bright and cheerful, while notes on a minor scale sound solemn and sad. The three types of minor scale that we’ll look at are: All three of these minor scales start the same but have some slight differences after that. For instance, the A natural minor scale can be built by starting on the 6th degree of the C major scale: Because of this, the key of A minor is called the relative minor of C major. Here’s our guide to musical modes explaining them in a bit more detail. The formula for a melodic minor scale is W-H-W-W-W-W-H. A melodic minor scale occurs when you raise the sixth and seventh notes of a scale by a half step, as you go up the scale, and then return to the natural minor, as you go down the scale.For example: Espie Estrella is a lyricist, songwriter, and member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International. In some contexts, minor scale is used to refer to any heptatonic scale with this property[2] (see Related modes below). The harmonic minor scale (or Aeolian ♯7 scale) has the same notes as the natural minor scale except that the seventh degree is raised by one semitone, creating an augmented second between the sixth and seventh degrees. [8], In popular music, examples of songs in harmonic minor include Katy B's "Easy Please Me", Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative", and Jazmine Sullivan's "Bust Your Windows". Chords on degrees other than V may also include the raised 7th degree, such as the diminished triad on VII itself (viio), which has a dominant function, as well as an augmented triad on III (III+), which is not found in any "natural" harmony (that is, harmony that is derived from harmonizing the seven western modes, which include "major" and "minor"). Western music consists of  major scales and minor scales. In music theory, the term minor scale refers to three scale patterns – the natural minor scale (or Aeolian mode), the harmonic minor scale, and the melodic minor scale (ascending or descending)[1] – rather than just one as with the major scale. Use the formula T – S – T – T – S – T1⁄2 – S 3. The Differences Between Natural, Harmonic and Melodic Minors, tones and semitones (whole steps and half steps), An Overview Of The 20th Century Music Era, raised 6th and 7th notes ascending (like the major scale), flattened 6th and 7th descending (like the natural minor scale). The Major scale formula = 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 C major scale = C D E F G A B The Minor Pentatonic scale formula = 1 b3 4 5 b7 C Minor Pentatonic = C Eb F G Bb So you play the first note of the major scale, then the third note lowered by a half step, the fourth note, the fifth note and the seventh note lowered by a half step. In jazz, only the ascending form of the scale is termed as "melodic minor". That’s what makes them a minor scale rather than a major scale. There are three types of minor scales: natural, harmonic, and melodic. We tend to say that major scales have a ‘happier’ and ‘cheerier’ sound, whereas minor scales have a ‘darker’ and ‘sadder’ sound. Here is a melodic minor scale starting on the note D: Let’s do a quick recap of the three types of minor scales. To build a C natural minor scale, starting on C, we take a whole step to D. Next, we take a half step to Eb. The main difference is that all minor scales have the third note of the scale ‘flattened’. Just follow the above formulas and you’ll have played one. Required fields are marked *. Although various hemitonic[clarification needed] pentatonic scales might be called minor, the term is most commonly applied to the relative minor pentatonic scale, derived as a mode of the major pentatonic scale, using scale tones 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7 of the natural minor scale. To guide you, here are the minor scales in every key:C = C - D - Eb - F - G - Ab - Bb - CD = D - E - F - G - A - Bb - C - DE = E - F# - G - A - B - C - D - EF = F - G - Ab - Bb - C - Db - Eb - FG = G - A - Bb - C - D - Eb - F - GA = A - B - C - D - E - F - G - AB = B - C# - D - E - F# - G - A - BC# = C# - D# - E - F# - G# - A - B - C#Eb = Eb - F - Gb - Ab - Bb - Cb - Db - EbF# = F# - G# - A - B - C# - D - E - F#G# = G# - A# - B - C# - D# - E - F# - G#Bb = Bb - C - Db - Eb - F - Gb - Ab - Bb, To simplify, you can memorize this formula to form a minor scale:whole step - half step - whole step - whole step - half step - whole step - whole step (or)w - h - w - w - h - w - w. To play a harmonic minor scale, you simply raise the seventh note of the scale by a half-step as you go up and down the scale. To eliminate the augmented second, these composers either raised the sixth degree by a semitone or lowered the seventh by a semitone. While some composers have used this interval to advantage in melodic composition, others felt it to be an awkward leap, particularly in vocal music, and preferred a whole step between these scale degrees for smooth melody writing. Welcome to Hello Music Theory! A natural minor scale (or Aeolian mode) is a diatonic scale that is built by starting on the sixth degree of its relative major scale. In this example, the numbers mean: Thus, for instance, the A natural minor scale can be built by lowering the third, sixth, and seventh degrees of the A major scale by one semitone: Because of this, the key of A minor is called the parallel minor of A major. Study bass has written a good post going into more details about the difference between major and minor that you can read here. Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 10 years helping thousands of students unlock the joy of music. I’m Dan and I run this website. In each of these scales, the first, third, and fifth scale degrees form a minor triad (rather than a major triad, as in a major scale). A natural minor scale uses this formula of tones and semitones (whole steps and half steps). In A natural minor it’s a G natural but in the harmonic minor it’s a G#. Bruce Benward and Marilyn Nadine Saker (2003), Jazz scale § Modes of the melodic minor scale, Jazz scale#Modes of the melodic minor scale, "Neo-Classical Metal Music Genre Overview | AllMusic", Listen to and download harmonised minor scale piano MP3s, Natural Minor Scales explained on a virtual piano,, Articles with unsourced statements from February 2018, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2019, Articles with unsourced statements from June 2020, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from June 2019, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Every musician needs to see/read. The formula for forming a natural (or pure) minor scale is W-H-W-W-H-W-W. “W” stands for whole step and “H” stands for half step. Minor scales are written in lower case. Here You might notice that descending melodic minors are exactly the same as the natural minor scale. In the minor scale, we can find the relative major in the third note of the scale.


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