In this lesson, we will look at two different ways to build the natural minor scale.
Method #1: USING A FORMULA
This method is more suitable for beginners and does not require much knowledge of music theory. It simply involves following a formula of whole steps and half steps. Here is the formula for the natural minor scale:
Method #2: USING A RELATIVE MAJOR SCALE
Example #1: "A NATURAL MINOR" (Method #1)
Let’s begin with one of the easier minor scales – “A Natural Minor”. We will use our first method – the formula – to build it. Starting on A, let’s start applying our formula:
Example #1: "A NATURAL MINOR" (Method #2)
Now, let’s build the same scale using our second method – the relative major scale. There are two steps to this process.
Step #1: Find the relative major of “A Minor”
The quickest way to find the relative major of any minor key is to simply count up 3 half steps.
Example #2: "D NATURAL MINOR" (Method #1)
This time, let’s try to build the “D Natural Minor” scale. First – using our formula.
Example #2: "D NATURAL MINOR" (Method #2)
Let’s use our second method this time. I will not repeat the steps again here, as I hope you have already memorized them. So let’s just see the results:
Example #3: "C SHARP NATURAL MINOR" (Method #1)
As always, we finish with a harder example. Let’s build “C♯ Natural Minor” this time. Applying the formula gives us:
Example #3: "C SHARP NATURAL MINOR" (Method #2)
Let’s figure out the relative major of our desired minor scale.
I personally have found the second method (using the relative major scale) to be much more useful to me when figuring out my natural minor scales, but see what works best for you. With enough practice and experience, you will probably have your minor scales memorized to such an extent that you will no longer need to “build” them methodically like we did here. Nevertheless, knowing how scales work and the interrelationships between them is very useful and is part of being a well-rounded musician.
Tip: practice playing a natural minor scale from random note and see how long it takes you to figure it out. The more you do it, the easier it will get!
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