1 Music Theory – 1C Minor Scales


In this lesson we will learn:

  • To create a harmonic minor scale starting on any key
  • To create a melodic minor scale starting on any key
  • To understand the natural minor scale

The most common minor scales are the harmonic and melodic minor scales. The natural minor scale is actually a variation of the major scale. Minor scales are commonly used in improvisation and compositions because of their strong tension-release relationship to certain notes. Again I have provided several alternatives to learning the scales. At first it is good to learn the semitone pattern by heart and with time try to adapt the numeric pattern for learning scales (and later chords). All examples are in the key of C.


Harmonic minor

C harmonic minor scale

Semitone approach

Start on any key and use the following guideline of semitones:

2-1-2-2-1-3-1

Numeric approach

Start on any key and use the following numeric pattern:

1-2-b3-4-5-b6-7-1


Melodic minor 

Semitone approach

Start on any key and use the following guideline of semitones:

2-1-2-2-2-2-1

Numeric approach

Start on any key and use the following numeric pattern:

1-2-b3-4-5-6-7-1


Natural minor

A natural minor is a major scale starting on on the sixth of the scale. The sixth note will be the “name” (root) of the natural minor scale. For example in a C major scale the sixth note is an A. So if we play a C major scale from A to A we are in fact playing the A natural minor scale. The A minor scale is called the relative minor to C. Likewise the C major scale is the relative major scale to A natural minor. If you are familiar with modes this is the sixth mode of C major aka. the Aeolian mode. 



(c) 2019 Sibil Yanev