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The Relationship Between Minor and Major Scales

Chad (MIK Mod)
Thursday, February 11, 2010 6:02 PM
This is the second post in a series I am doing on music theory. My previous post dealt with the Camelot Wheel and explained why songs that are a perfect fifth apart mix harmonically. Today I will be explaining how minor and major scales are related. A major scale is simply a pattern of tones and semitones. To form a major scale, the pattern is tone - tone - semitone - tone - tone - tone - semitone. A minor scale is the same pattern, but it starts on a different note. Here is the pattern for a minor scale: tone - semitone - tone - tone - semitone - tone - tone. Here is what this looks like on the piano with the A Minor (8A) scale: A Minor Scale In comparing this to the C Major (8B) scale, the exact same notes are used, but the scale simply starts on a different note: Photobucket Since all of the notes in the two scales are the same, they will almost always mix well together. There is one other trick that can now be explained - mixing tracks with the same root note, but different scales. About half of the notes in A Major (11B) are different from A Minor (8A), but they are based around the same root note, A: A Major Scale This lends some harmonic compatibility to songs from both of these scales, and is most definitely worth exploring when you are looking to change things up on the dance floor. Cheers, Chad P

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