Piano Scales and Minor Scales
In piano scales, two main scales are the major and minor scales.
The MINOR SCALE uses the wh wwh ww pattern of intervals.
You flat the 3rd note, the 6th note, and 7th note of the
major scale and the wh wwh ww minor scale pattern is made.
The minor scale here is called the natural minor scale that is
determined by the key signature.
In piano scales, you have the major scale pattern as follows.
C D E F G A B C The C major scale
w w h w w w h
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
When you flat the 3rd, 6th, and 7th notes of the C major scale
you get C D Eb F G Ab Bb C The C minor scale
In piano scales, you have the minor scale pattern as follows.
See how the intervals form a minor scale
w h w w h w w
The minor scale is found as a relative minor scale to every
major scale. The relative minor scale uses the same notes
of the major scale in a different position.
The tonic note or root note of a relative minor scale is
always one and a half steps down from the major scale.
The C major scale uses the notes C D E F G A B C
One and a half steps down from C is A.
The relative minor scale of C is A minor.
A B C D E F G A
See how it uses the same notes of the C major scale in a
The A minor scale has
w h w w h w w
If you have a A major and you flat the 3rd, 6th, and
7th notes you get A minor.
To get the major scale that uses the same notes as A minor
you go up one and a half steps to find the relative major scale.
From A to C is one a a half steps. C is the relative major scale
of A minor.
If you have C minor to find the major scale that uses the
same notes as C minor you go up one and a half steps to
find the relative major scale. From C to Eb is one a half steps.
Eb major is the relative major scale of C minor.
HOW TO FIND THE NATURAL MINOR SCALE IN THE KEY SIGNATURE
For example, take the C major scale. In the key signature,
there are no sharps or flats. If the first note of the song
starts with a C note, you can call this a song in the key
of C major.
The natural minor scale is only defined in the key signature
by its relative major scale. You have to look at the first
note of the song to see if the song is in the major or
relative minor scale.
If the first note of the song starts with A, you can usually
call this a song in the key of A minor. The song usually
ends in the same note of A.
Another way to find out is by looking at the guitar chords
above the treble clef. If you see that the first chord
is C, the song is in C major.
If you see that the first chord is Am, the song is in A minor.
HARMONIC AND MELODIC MINOR
There are two other minor scales.
THE HARMONIC MINOR has a raised 7th note.
Take the natural minor scale of 1 2 3b 4 5 6b 7b
and you raise the 7th it becomes 1 2 3b 4 5 6b 7
THE MELODIC MINOR has a raised 6th and 7th note ascending
and it returns to the natural minor scale descending.
ascending it is 1 2 3b 4 5 6 7
descending it is 1 2 3b 4 5 6b 7b
Only the natural minor is defined in the key signature.
The other minor scales are made with by adding sharps or flats
in given measures.
Remember the major scale is wwh wwwh
and the minor scale is wh wwh ww
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