I've been studying the different scales for the guitar, and one thing that I've recently noticed, and become quite curious about, is the nature of the minor and major scales.

If we were to take every full note on the guitar fretboard(A, B, C, D....Baisically everything but the sharps and flats), we get a certain shape of notes. What I've noticed is that if take the natural minor scale of the same root note, you get the same shape of notes, only positioned frets up.

Now, I'm sure there are plenty of people here who already realize this, but I figure I might not be alone in thinking that, given the same shape of notes in the scales, how can one set of notes on a major scale be thought different from another set of notes on a minor scale with a different root?

I've also begun studying other scales and note charts(Using Studybass's printer), so anyone who would care to spread their musical enlightenment, I'm all ears.

read about modes, thats exactly what you've discovered. unless i didn't take enough time to read your post, cuz i just skimmed it
You have discovered the Cmaj scale. It is composed of natural tones and is follows a 2-2-1-2-2-2-1 pattern (2 means a whole step and 1 means a half step). If you move it up one note (that is starting on D rather than C), you get the D Dorian mode. This set of notes follows a 2-1-2-2-2-1-2 pattern. If you move it up another note, you have E Phrygian, which follows a 1-2-2-2-1-2-2 pattern. Moving up to the next note, F, you get F Lydian, which follows a 2-2-2-1-2-2-1 pattern. This is all probably Greek to you (pun unintentional).

If you were to research this subject more thoroughly, you might be very interested in this. If not, proceed as if we said nothing and enjoy. Music truly is a fascinating thing, isn't it?
What you noticed is called Relative Minor. And it works with every major scale.

In addition to what Geldin said, it's handy to know that the 6th degree of any major scale is the root note of its relative minor. So in C major, the notes are CDEFGABC. Notice that A is the 6th degree, from that you can extrapolate that A minor ABCDEFGA. Obviously, it's a 2 way street, with a minor's 3rd being the root of the relative major.
I kinda get an idea of all of this from what's been posted, but there wouldn't happen to be an all-in-one guide online that would explain all of this for me, would there?
Quote by Speachami
I kinda get an idea of all of this from what's been posted, but there wouldn't happen to be an all-in-one guide online that would explain all of this for me, would there?

It's a really massive subject. You could probably study it your whole life without learning it all. If you're really serious about it, get the book Harmony in Context by Miguel A. Roig-Francoli. If you're looking for something a little less intense, I'd recommend you take it in a little bit at a time.
Whats the difference? The note/chord they resolve to. A minor is the relative minor of C Major - that means they share all the same notes. As they share all the same notes, they also share all the same chords. But all of those notes, and chords, fulfil different functions in the minor scale to what they do in the Major scale.

Try it for yourself - record a C Maj chord progression (easiest is just to use the I IV V chords - C F and G), then try playing A min over it. All the notes will work individually, but the majority of A min licks you play will sound unfinished, and slightly uncomfortable, as they are revolving around A as the tonic instead of C.

Edit: if you want to understand it don't try and learn everything at once. Focus on understanding the relationship between the Major and its relative minor. Modes work in the same way in relation to their relative Major scale.

Look at parallel scales too (thats scales with the same tonic but different intervallic structure - eg A Maj and A min)) - look at the difference in intervals eg Maj = R 2 3 4 5 6 7, nat min = R 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7.
Last edited by zhilla at Nov 26, 2009,