Mike Moxcey ©2005
The Minor Scale
There actually several different minor scales. I won’t get into any of them. The relative minor is the one you can use with a major scale: A-minor goes with C-major, E-minor goes with G-major. They use the same notes. Here is how to determine the intervals:
A-minor: A B C D E F G A
E-minor: E F# G A B C D E
frets: 2 1 2 2 1 2 2
Build your own scale:
There’s more power of music theory for you.
- build your own scales by hand,
memorize the relative minor scale’s intervals, or
just memorize the relative minor relationships and use the major scales.
There are many other scales available for playing. You can also make up your own scales, but you could start by checking out the ones other folks have developed over the centuries.
There are seven scales called modes. Each one of them starts on one of the white keys of the piano (C D E F G A B) and just goes up the white keys. The first “mode” is the major scale. The 6th “mode” is the relative minor scale.
You can see how they are just sequences of different intervals:
2 2 1 2 2 2 1 2 2 1 2 2 2 frets
C D E F G A B C (Ionian Mode Major Scale)
D E F G A B C D (Dorian Mode Blues Scale)
E F G A B C D E (Phrygian Mode)
F G A B C D E F (Lydian Mode)
G A B C D E F G (Mixolydian Mode)
A B C D E F G B (Aeolian Mode Natural Minor)
B C D E F G A B (Locrian Mode)
The Mixolydian and Dorian modes are used often in old-time music for a haunting, mournful sound, and modes are used all over in jazz.
NOTE: You can play any mode beginning on any note. The mode is the pattern of spaces between the notes. Just as you can play the Major Scale (Ionian Mode) beginning on any note, you can also play any of the other modes beginning on any note.
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