Today we will continue to learn about minor scales. The idea is to show you how deep major and minor scales are connected, and how the knowledge about major scales is the key to understanding any other type of scale. So, even if you don’t want to apply these concepts in your tracks, it will help you to understand any other kind of music composition.
As seen before, music scales need to be played to be mastered. So, play them as many times as you can. Musicians normally have all major and minor scales (many other scales too!) in their heads. You name a major scale and they will automatically know the key signature and how to play it in the instrument. Without having access to the sheet music, for example, they hear a melody, then start playing it on the instrument. They will be able to tell you the key, the number of beats for each measure and the possible chords for the given melody. It’s not magic, it’s just practice.
Let’s start by picking some major scales and finding their relative minor scales.
First of all: can you tell, without looking at the image:
- If this scale has a sharp or a flat key signature?
- The number of sharps or flats in its key signature?
- Which notes are sharped or flatted?
- The fingering for left and right hands?
If you don’t, there’s no reason to panic. It requires time, that’s all.
Here’s the D Major scale in the keyboard diagram:
Notice that, unless you have memorized the key signature, the keyboard diagram doesn’t allow us to know for sure a key signature of a given scale. It just tells us which notes to play.
However, if we use the music notation, we will have a lot of information available:
Now we can answer the questions above:
- This scale has a key signature of sharps;
- There are 2 sharps in the key signature;
- The sharped notes are F and C (the order of sharps and flats in a key signature is extremely important, and we will learn about it in a future lesson).
The fingering can be found in music teaching books and articles, so case you don’t remember, never stop consulting your reference material.
Can you tell, without looking at the image, the relative minor scale for D Major?
The fastest way to do it, as we have seen before, is to go down the tonic three half-steps. So, three half-steps down from D will be B. Yes, B is the relative natural minor scale from D Major:
B Natural Minor Scale
Let’s check B Natural Minor scale in music notation:
Can you notice that the key signature is exactly the same as D Major? So, this rule is important: relative major and minor scales will always share the same key signature. If you know the key signature for a major scale, you can find its relative minor scale and vice versa.
Now in the keyboard diagram:
That’s it! Don’t expect to learn everything in just one day. Go little by little.