Suomeksi | In English

Minor scales

The following examples show minor scales, in other words heptatonic scales with a semitone between the second and the third degree.

Natural minor is part of the diatonic scale and structurally identical with the Aeolian mode. The term "natural minor" used in the example actually refers to the key rather than the scale, but it is commonly used with both.

Natural minor

Harmonic minor includes a leading note (7th degree), which makes the V a major chord, thus making it possible for the chord to act as a dominant. The scale is not diatonic because it includes a 1 ½ step (aug2).

Harmonic minor

Melodic minor is traditionally presented in an upward and downward figure. The upward melody progression, including a leading note and a raised VI, helps us to avoid the augmented second, originally not part of the Western music tradition (cf. diatonic scales).

In downward progressions, it is common to present the VI and VII in accordance with the natural minor, which helps us to create a more distinct minor feeling. In music theory textbooks, a melodic scale is the only scale always presented both as an upward and a downward progression.

Downward progression

An ascending melodic minor is called a jazz minor scale. It has four consecutive tones (structure: T S T T T T S). In a minor scale, the only difference to a corresponding major scale is a flat third.

Upward melodic minor

In Finnish music theory tradition, the oriental minor is included in minor scales. It is sometimes called the "Hungarian minor" or "Hungarian gypsy scale". It includes two augmented seconds (T S aug2 S S aug2 S).

The augmented second perhaps accentuates the melancholic nature of a minor scale; thus, another scale to be counted as a minor scale is the "Arabic minor" (S aug2 S T S aug2 S), which, however, lacked the flat third mentioned above. The A oriental minor includes the same notes as the E Arabic minor.

Arabic minor