• Conversation With Students #2 (Relative Minor Concept)

    in Theory


    (CHAT STARTED AT 12:33 pm)

    ME: Good afternoon, how can I assist you?

    Mya: Hi, this is Mya.

    ME: Hey Mya, my name is Jermaine. What can I help you with?

    Mya: Yes, I was just reading about you.

    ME: Ok, great. I’ve been on the live chat all morning chatting with students. What brings you here?

    Mya: Do you chat all day?

    ME: Well, I don’t usually chat but we always try to keep one of our staff on the live chat system throughout the day. I would say about 75% of the time, you should be able to reach a live operator. If not, it will prompt you to leave a message, and we’d then answer your question within the hour.

    Mya: I see. I play gospel music but am having trouble with minor keys. I haven’t been playing that long and when someone says something like Bb minor, it really throws me off.

    ME: I understand completely what you’re going through and know many musicians with this problem. Can I ask if you have my 300-pg course?

    Mya: No, I don’t have it but I am thinking about getting it.

    ME: I see. The only reason I ask is because in it, there are several chapters dedicated to learning minor scales, chords and progressions. However, since I cannot guide you through some of the chapters (because you don’t have the book with you), I can give you a few techniques through this live chat. But make sure to visit: https://www.hearandplay.com/course so that you can view what this course has to offer you.

    Mya: Thank you so much, I will do that.

    ME: Ok, let’s see … first, you have to realize that a minor key is different from a major key. You will notice that there are two keys which the song seems to be switching back and forth (when you are playing a song in a minor key). This is because every minor key has a relative major key …

    ME: And if you can just grasp that one technique, you’ll not only be able to learn all your minor scales, but every single minor chord whether it be a minor triad, seventh, ninth, eleventh or minor thirteenth chord.

    Mya: Ok, I’m ready. Can you tell me more about this minor/major relative stuff?

    ME: Sure. Every major key has a relative minor key (and it goes the other way around as well). Here is a list of all the relative major / minor relationships:


    C major / A minor
    D major / B minor
    E major / C# minor
    F major / D minor
    G major / E minor
    A major / F# minor
    B major / G# minor
    Db major / Bb minor
    Eb major / C minor
    Gb major / Eb minor
    Ab major / F minor
    Bb major / G minor

    Mya: Wow, that’s a lot of info to remember.

    ME: Well, its much easier than you think. Basically, the relative minor key is the sixth note of the relative major scale. For example, in C major, the sixth note of the scale is A. So, as you see above, A is the relative minor of C major.

    ME: I can’t really go into detail like I do in the book because it could take me hours of typing (you know that chapter by itself is about 20 pages long if I remember correctly).

    Mya: I understand. Thank you for your help.

    ME: Wait Mya. I’m not done. Do you have to leave the computer?

    Mya: Oh, I thought you were finished?

    ME: No, I was simply saying that I can’t go into further detail about the major / minor relationships. I can tell you how to form minor scales and chords though.

    Mya: Ok, sorry for the misunderstanding. By the way, I really appreciate this.

    ME: Oh, don’t worry about it. Anyway, after you have figured out the relative minor key, simply play the relative major scale starting and ending on the sixth note of that major scale. Sounds confusing huh?

    Mya: Kind of, can you explain?

    ME: Sure … after you find the sixth scale tone, it IS the relative minor key. Now, there’s another way of playing the minor scale by using half steps and whole step patterns, but I believe the way I’m going to show you is MUCH easier if you already know your major scales.

    ME: Just simply take the major scale that you are currently using and play it starting and ending on the sixth note. For example, in a C Major scale, “A” is the sixth tone. So I would simply play the SAME “C” major scale starting and ending on “A” instead of my normal “C”. In actuality, now that I am starting and ending on “A”, I am really playing an “A” minor scale. Still with me?

    Mya: Wow, that makes sense. So what you are saying is that minor scales lie in major scales?

    ME: Yes, you can think of it that way. You see, that’s why we say relative major and minor, because they both contain the same notes. The starting and ending notes are the only differences. Instead of starting at C and then playing D … E .. F .. G … A … B … C, >>>>>>>> we are starting at A, and then playing B … C … D … E .. F … G …and back to A (it’s very simple).

    ME: And from this point, we take the 1st, 3rd, and 5th tone and form a minor chord just as we would form a major chord. In this case, an A minor chord is: A – C – E. An “A minor Seventh Chord” (Amin7) is: A – C – E – G. There are several things you can do when you know the minor scales.

    Mya: This is awesome. And you say that all of this is covered in your course?

    ME: It sure is! We even go as far as to discuss the different modes of the scale:

    I = Ionian
    II = Dorian
    III = Phrygian
    IV = Lydian
    V = Mixolydian
    VI = Aeolian (which is a minor scale! right…?)
    VII = Locrian

    Each of these modal scales creates a unique scale of its own. The sixth mode happens to be the minor scale because it starts and ends on the sixth degree (just as our example above does). Don’t worry if you don’t understand this stuff. This is just some fancy language that you’ll pick up later as you study my course.

    Mya: Wow, there is just so much more information out there that I don’t know. I am amazed

    ME: And you should be Mya. Musicians should always seek to learn more. Even if they can play backwards and forwards, there’s still MORE to be learned.

    Mya: I agree

    ME: I wish I could show you some more practical things but I must leave by 1:00. You are welcome to chat with one of my other reps.

    Mya: Actually, I must go as well. But I was truly blessed by the information that I received from you. I will definitely print this out and visit the link that you gave me about your course.

    ME: Thank you Mya and have a blessed day!

    (CHAT ENDED AT 12:56 pm)

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    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

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