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Minor Scale

A specific type of seven note diatonic scale in which notes are separated from one another by whole steps or half steps. Similar to a major scale except different notes have whole and half step spacing between them. Additionally there are three significant variants of the minor scale: the natural minor, the harmonic minor, and the melodic minor.

In the natural minor scale, all notes appear with the same accidentals as in its relative major (An A minor’s relative major scale is C and so forth). Hence the name of natural. A natural scale, in ascending order, is as follows:

• 1 – 2 = Whole step
• 2 – 3 = Half step
• 3 – 4 = Whole step
• 4 – 5 = Whole step
• 5 – 6 = Half step
• 6 – 7 = Whole step
• 7 – 8 = Whole step

Harmonic minor differs in the raising of degree VII (the step from 6 to 7), which is harmonically motivated. Raising that note forms the dominant chord or dominant seventh chord on the fifth degree of the scale:

• 1 – 2 = Whole step
• 2 – 3 = Half step
• 3 – 4 = Whole step
• 4 – 5 = Whole step
• 5 – 6 = Half step
• 6 – 7 = Augmented 2nd step (1 & 1/2 steps)
• 7 – 8 = Whole step

Besides raising degree VII (the step from 6 to 7), degree VI (the step from 5 to 6) may also be altered. The resulting scale is called melodic minor scale. The main purpose of this accidental is to facilitate the melodic movement from degree VI to degree VII, avoiding the augmented second that is formed in the harmonic minor scale. This is referred to as the minor melodic scale. It should be noted that it changes when descending.

• 1 – 2 = Whole step
• 2 – 3 = Half step
• 3 – 4 = Whole step
• 4 – 5 = Whole step
• 5 – 6 = Whole step
• 6 – 7 = Whole step
• 7 – 8 = Half step

• 8 – 7 = Whole step
• 7 – 6 = Whole step
• 6 – 5 = Half step
• 5 – 4 = Whole step
• 4 – 3 = Whole step
• 3 – 2 = Half step
• 2 – 1 = Whole step

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