Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Understanding Scales On Guitar- The Minor Scale

There are three type of minor scales- the natural or relative minor scale, the harmonic minor scale and the melodic minor scale. If you don't know what the scale is then you can find another lesson on this blog on scales (the major scale). Each type of minor scale has its own individual step patter, but they all share one common feature that differentiates them from the major scale. The intervals between the first and 3rd notes in the scale is always a tone and a half. This interval is called a minor third. The minor scales differ from each other in terms of whether the 6h and 7th steps of the scales are raised or whether not. The principle and formation of minor scales is easier to understand if we start by looking at how the natural minor scale is related to the major scale, and then go on to see how it is altered to produce the harmonic and melodic minor scales.

As the Ionian Mode was the predecessor of the major scale, the natural minor scale is derived from what was called the Aeolian Mode. Both these modes were diatonic scales, played only on the white notes of the keyboard. But whereas the Ionian starts on C note, the Aeolian starts on A note. This means that the notes of the two scales are the same. But because the natural minor scale has a different starting point. Lets see both scales side by side:-

C Major Scale:-                            C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C
A Natural Minor Scale:-                 A  B  C  D  E  F  G  A

If you compare the notes of both scales then you will find that the 3rd note of the minor scale is the starting point of major scale and the 6th note of the major scale is the 1st note of the minor scale. This relationship is the key to understand the connection between major and minor scales. Each major scale has a relative natural minor scale and each minor scale has a relative major scale.

Now let's get back to the topic and take a look at the above given minor scale notes. The step used in the minor scale are Two frets, One fret, Two frets, Two frets, One fret, Two fret, Two fret and you can also remember it as Whole step, Half step, Whole step, Whole Step, Half Step, Whole step, Whole step. Remember this formula to make minor scale on any given key.

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