Minor Scale Lesson



Many people don’t realize that there’s more than one type of minor scale – there’s at least 3, and I would argue that there’s 4 if you include the dorian mode which resembles another type of minor sound. In this lesson I breakdown each of theĀ 4 minor scales, and demonstrate each builtĀ from C. I show you the characteristic chords for each, which are an important to creating each scales’ sound, and perform music examples to demonstrate each.
C Natural minor = C D Eb F G Ab Bb
Characteristic chords = C minor, F minor, G minor (i iv v)
Sounds standard / normal – used often in modern music, pop music, etc.C Harmonic minor = C D Eb F G Ab B
Characteristic chords = C minor, G major, (i and V) with use of F minor and Ab major (iv and VI).
Used in early classical music (Beethoven etc), Cuban jazz music, and modern day pop songs that are trying to emulate a classical sound (like ‘Survivor’ by Destiny’s Child).
Sounds serious, classical, and slightly fancy.

C melodic minor = C D Eb F G A B
Characteristic chords = C minor 6 (C Eb G A), or C minor major 7 (C Eb G B).
Sounds old fashioned (40’s – 50’s), featured in film noir soundtracks like Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’ – composed by Bernard Herrmann.
Sounds classy, relaxing, perfect for a sunny afternoon.

C dorian scale = C D Eb F G A Bb
Characteristic chords = C minor, F major, (i and IV) and sometimes D minor too (ii).
Sounds dark but hopeful – C minor is the dark sound, F major is the hopeful sound.
Musical references: ‘Earth Song’ by Michael Jackson, ‘Mad World’ by Gary Jules, ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ by Pink Floyd.