Lesson 41: Minor Scale Review – Differences Between Minor Scales

Category: Lessons

Now that we’ve gone through the basic types of minor scales, you may be yearning for an explanation as to why there are 3 different types of minor scales and only one major scale. Before I answer your questions about WHY, let me write a quick post just to review and summarize what we have learned to this point.  In Lesson 37, 38, and 39 we learned about writing the different types of minor scales. (Bonus points if you can name them all without peeking!)

If you can’t remember them, I would recommend taking a look at the lessons to learn about them. But if you don’t have time to do that, I will summarize them again, right here right now.

1) NATURAL MINOR: This minor scale contains all the notes of it’s relative major scale, but it starts on the 6th note of the relative major. For example, let’s say you have a major scale starting on C. Simplest major scale – no sharps, no flats (C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C). The relative minor starts on the 6th note of the major scale which is of course “A”, and contains all of the same notes as the C scale. (A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A). Easy, right? Well – your life is about to get a bit harder.

2) HARMONIC MINOR: Same as the natural minor, but raise the 7th note by ONE semitone…. OK – maybe that wasn’t so hard… But the next one, that one will make your life difficult!

3) MELODIC MINOR: Same as the natural minor but the 6th and 7th notes are raised by ONE semitone on the way up, and they return to their original form on the way down the scale.

Here is an example of the E minor natural scale, which is the relative minor of G major. This graphic give you an at-a-glance view of the differences between the minor scales.


Next lesson will explain WHY we need all of these different types of minor scales… other than to make your life difficult.


Posted on November 27th, 2013 by sharlene


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