Lesson 35: Introduction to Minor Scales, Minor Intervals

Category: Lessons, Music Theory

Now that we are all experts at major scales, it’s time to throw a new scale into the mix. The minor scale is similar to the major scale, but different. (Yes, a very helpful description, I know.) The main difference between major and minor scales is that the interval from the tonic (first note) to the mediant (third note) is one semitone smaller in a minor scale. That is, the distance from the first note of the scale to the third note of the minor scale is one semitone smaller than that of the major scale.

This is where I will introduce major and minor intervals. If you need a refresher on intervals, see Lesson 28: Introduction to Intervals – type, size, and quality. The interval between the first degree and the third degree in a major scale is a MAJOR THIRD interval. The interval between the first degree and the third degree in a minor scale is a MINOR THIRD interval. The difference between a major third and a minor third is that the minor third is shifted down by a semitone. This means a natural note becomes a flat, a sharp becomes a natural, and a flat becomes a double flat.

Check out the first tetrachord in a major scale (top), and minor scale (bottom).

Putting the first and the third notes together into a harmonic interval you get:

Some of the other intervals in the major scale can be modified to be minor as well. These are: 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th.

As a final note, there are 3 types of minor scales that we will learn in future lessons: NATURAL MINOR, HARMONIC MINOR, and MELODIC MINOR. In all 3 types of minor scales, the lower tetrachord is the same, only the upper tetrachord differs. (For more information about what a tetrachord is, click here.)

Posted on October 25th, 2012 by sharlene


  1. Free Halloween Sheet Music for Kids | Epianostudio Says:

    […] The second song is called Black Cat Parade and is suitable for pianists who are able to play chords, and are familiar with playing sharps and flats. This song is in the key of C minor. We will be learning about minor scales and minor keys in future lessons. For an introduction to minor scales, check out this awesome lesson. […]

  2. Williams Says:

    It’s hard to find your articles in google. I found it on 15 spot, you should build
    quality backlinks , it will help you to get more visitors.
    I know how to help you, just search in google – k2 seo tips
    and tricks

  3. Cathern Says:

    I read a lot of interesting content here.

    Probably you spend a lot of time writing, i know
    how to save you a lot of work, there is an online tool that creates unique, SEO friendly articles
    in minutes, just search in google – laranitas free content source

Leave a Reply

To get lessons and updates via email, enter your email address:

Are you on facebook and like to like things? Then like this website!