There are three forms of minor scales:1. Pure or natural minor 2. Harmonic minor and 3. Melodic minor (ascending)
Click on the links above to see each of the scales beginning on "A". Compare the notation of these scales to the major scale.
Just as in the major scale each minor scale is a series of pitches using, in order, the seven letter names of the musical alphabet. The differences between each scale is the placement of whole steps and half steps between successive tones.
Minor scales can be written beginning on any pitch when the flat, sharp, and double-sharp signs are used. (A flat lowers a pitch by a half step and a sharp raises a pitch by a half step.) Click on the buttons and scale names below to see the proper notation for each of the minor scales. Just as with the major scales you should learn to sing or play each scale.
- The natural minor scale has half steps between scale degrees 2-3 and 5-6. (It is the only one of the three minor scales with a whole step between 7-8.)
- The harmonic minor scale has half steps between scale degrees 2-3, 5-6, and 7-8. (It is the only one of the three minor scales with a step and a half between scale degrees 6-7.)
- The melodic minor scale has half steps between scale degrees 2-3, and 7-8 when ascending. The melodic minor scale reverts to natural minor when descending.
- The major scale has half steps between scale degrees 3-4, and 7-8.
It is important that the proper sequence of whole and half steps be followed and that each pitch be written with a different pitch name.