I was talking today with a friend who seems to know a bit about theory. I think he was on the wrong track but before I correct him I want to be certain that I am correct.

1) When constructing a minor scale, is it always going to be in this scheme "W H W W H W W" ?

2) What are "accidental" notes. Especially when talking about relative minor keys?

3) What A scale is this " A - B - C - D - E - F - G# " ?

1) You shouldnt really think of scales as Whole steps and Half steps, more as intervals based from the major scale (although I only use W and H to construct major scales).

For example, to build a mixolydian scale, you'd use the intervals 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 from a major scale.

2) As far as i understand, an accidental note is a note which isnt part of the scale, which is raised or lowered in pitch from the scale note by usually a semitone. I could be wrong.

3) A Harmonic Minor, Ill show you how:

A  B  C# D  E  F# G# A  <-- A Major scale
A  B  C  D  E  F  G# A  <-- Your scale
1  2  b3 4  5  b6 7  1  <-- Your scales Intervals

1  2  b3 4  5  b6 7  1  <-- Harmonic Minors intervals

Therefore A Harmonic Minor
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There are different types of minor scales, the most common being natural, harmonic and melodic minor. You can also do minor modes that have minor scales

Accidentals are when you have to add a b, # or natural sign to a note because it is not in the key or denoted by the key signature.

That is a harmonic minor scale. They're used to add a leading tone back into the scale (half step down from the tonic) and to make the V of the scale major, since in the aeolian scale it is actually minor. It's usually changed because V to i is a stronger cadence than v to i.
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Last edited by Zilcho at Oct 12, 2009,
1) Yup.
2) Notes that are sharp or flat relative to the key you're in.
3) A Harmonic Minor.

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Last edited by ChrisN at Oct 12, 2009,
Quote by vodkanoodle

1) When constructing a minor scale, is it always going to be in this scheme "W H W W H W W" ?

No, there's also melodic and harmonic minor and their modes respectively based on the following intervals: W H W W W W H and W H W W H WH H

Quote by vodkanoodle

2) What are "accidental" notes. Especially when talking about relative minor keys?

Notes that arent part of the scale but that fit anyways because they way they're used

Quote by vodkanoodle

3) What A scale is this " A - B - C - D - E - F - G# " ?

A harmonic minor.
1) That is the formula for natural minor scales. The formula works regardless of what note you start on.

2) Accidentals are sharps (♯, naturals(♮, and flats(♭. They are used to notate key signatures, and to notate notes that are not in the key (commonly ♮6 and ♮7 in minor keys).

3) That is A harmonic minor.
Last edited by isaac_bandits at Oct 12, 2009,
Thank you

This has been a lesson for me. Don't trust someones word just because they are a technically skilled guitarist. I was so confused because I knew his idea of a minor scale was wrong but I wanted to believe him because of his skill.

I am just getting into the wonderful world of theory. Its damn interesting as well as fulfilling to learn the reason why things work and to be able to explain it.

Two more questions if you don't mind:

1) Am I wise to learn the pattern of the major scale for the whole fretboard? It seems useful to know without thinking where on the fretboard you can find the notes in any key?

2) For example, if I know a chord progression is A minor is it correct to say that any of the notes in the C major scale will harmonize - i.e. sound good?
1) It is useful to be able to play the major scale all over the fretboard, rather than in just one position.

2) The notes in C major are the same as the notes in A minor. Be careful though, as technically you're playing A minor, and thus you shouldn't call it C major, you can play any patterns you would play for C major though, you would just call them A minor.