• Major and Minor Scales – “If You Know Your Major, You Know Your Minor” (Part 1)

    in Scales,Theory

    Learning the connection between major and minor scales is really simple when you understand the shortcut we’re going to cover in this blog post.

    There’s absolutely no reason to approach minor scales separately from major scales if you know this trick. I repeat — throw what you’ve learned about forming minor scales out the window unless you want to go at it the hard way.

    Why?

    Because if you know your major scales, you automatically know your minor scales. It takes almost no extra work, whatsoever!

    Major and Minor Scales Demystified

    Consider the C major scale:
    major and minor scales C major

    That’s: C D E F G A B C. (We’re not covering how to form major scales, but for a quick shortcut on this, click here).

    What if I told you there was a minor scale out there that shared the same EXACT notes as C major… in the same exact order? What if I told you that the only thing you need to do is shift the starting and ending notes over a few keys and you’re done?

    Well, it’s that easy!

    Here’s what you do…

    First, number this C major scale so that it looks something like this:

    C is 1, D is 2, E is 3, F is 4, G is 5, A is 6, B is 7.

    Secondly, find the 6th tone. If you’ve numbered the C major scale correctly, this should be “A.”

    (In other lessons, we’ve covered “modes” and why we call the 6th degree the “Aeolian mode.” But we’ll keep this lesson simple).

    Lastly, without changing the order of the notes, simply start and end the scale from “A.”

    That means, you’re literally taking the C major scale:
    major and minor scales C major

    …And playing it from “A” to “A.” The end result is:
    major and minor scales A minor

    Did you change the order of notes? NO.
    Are any new notes included that were not in C major? NO.
    Are any notes taken out that were in C major? NO.

    Like having the scale under a microscope, you literally shifted how you viewed the scale over a couple notes and voila, you created a minor scale! And it really is that simple.

    The relationship between C major and A minor has a name. We call C major the “relative major” of A minor and we call A minor the “relative minor” of C major.

    Yup, they’re relatives. They have many things in common and share the same DNA.

    Here are the relationships between all the other major and minor scales:

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

    “If you know your major, you know your minor!”

    See ya next time!

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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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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 JOSEPH ABDULAI

    Wow! I’m a advanced beginner and I’ve played a few songs in minor keys. I never imagined that minor scales will be so closely related to their relative majors. Thanks to you, I’m using the right vocabulary even in this comment. Keep on the good work!

    Reply

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