Saturday, May 28, 2011

Minor Scales

In this lesson we will continue learning about scales specifically the minor scales. There are 3 minor scales that we will be going through in this lesson; the natural minor scale, the harmonic minor scale and the melodic minor scale.

The natural minor scale is closely related to the major scale. You can change a major scale into a natural minor scale by lowering the scale degree 3, 6 and 7 by a chromatic half step to form this scale as shown in the image below. As you can see below all natural minor scales has the pattern: W-H-W-W-H-W-W.

Below is an image of all the natural minor scales available.

The other 2 types of minor scales as mentioned previously are the harmonic minor and the melodic minor scales. The image below shows the differences between the natural, harmonic and melodic minor scales. Can you spot what the differences are? Don't worry if you don't, we will go into more detail about each scale below.

First is the harmonic minor scales. This scale has the following pattern of half-steps, whole-steps and one augmented second (A2):

NB. An augmented second is an interval that is produced by widening a major second by a chromatic semitone. For example, the interval from C to D is a major second that is two semitones wide. A chromatic semitone is an interval between two notes at the same staff position, e.g. from C to C sharp, and can also be called augmented unison. An interval is the distance between two notes. We will be going into more detail about intervals in a later lesson.

The harmonic minor scale raises the seventh note of the scale by one half step, whether you are going up or down the scale. This can be shown in the image below.

The image below shows all the harmonic minor scales.

The melodic minor scale is different to the natural and the harmonic minor scales because when we go up the scale we use one pattern and when we go down the scale we use a different pattern.

The ascending pattern is: W-H-W-W-W-W-H

The descending pattern is the Natural Minor Scale: W-H-W-W-H-W-W

In the melodic minor scale, the sixth and seventh notes of the scale are each raised by one half step when going up the scale, but return to the natural minor scale when going down the scale. This can be seen in the image below.

All the melodic minor scales you can practice are shown in the image below.


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