#1
The Minor Mode

This article is all about the Minor mode, its scales, its relativity to the Major mode, chord theory, and some of its uses. Through reading this, you will hopefully gain a comprehensive understanding of the Minor mode. It is slightly harder than the Major, as it has three different scales, which are the Natural minor (as known as the Aeolian mode), the Harmonic minor and the Melodic minor.

Firstly, the Natural minor scale. The notes in this correspond to its key signature and it relates to its relative Major scale exactly. To find the relative scales: for a minor scale count 3 semitones(half steps) up from the tonic (root), and for a major it is the vi (6) degree of the scale.

The interval pattern for this scale is thus: 1-W-2-H-3-W-4-W-5-H-6-W-7-W-8
(W=whole step/tone, H=half step/ semitone)

This is the tab for the Natural minor scale in the key of A.



This is the tab for the Natural minor scale in the key of A. 

|---5----------------------------------------|
|---5---6---8-------------------------------|
|---4---5---7-------------------------------|
|---5---7------------------------------------|
|---5---7---8-------------------------------|
|---5---7---8-------------------------------|

The notes are: A B C  D E F G A

And this is the caged system showing the pattern of notes in a Natural minor scale on the fretboard.

|---|-R-|---|---|---|---|
|---|-o-|-o-|---|-o-|---|
|-o-|-o-|---|-o-|---|---|
|---|-o-|---|-R-|---|---|
|---|-o-|---|-o-|-o-|---|
|---|-R-|---|-o-|-o-|---|



The notes are the same ascending as descending.

Secondly, the Harmonic Minor scale.This scale sounds quite exotic, and the reason being is that is has an unusual interval of 3 half steps between a pair of notes. Here is the scale tabbed out in the key of G:



|---2---3--------------------|
|---3---4--------------------|
|---2---3---5---------------|
|---4---5--------------------|
|---3---5---6----------------|
|---3---5---6----------------|

The notes are: G A A#  C D  D#  F#  G

|-o-|-R-|---|---|---|---|
|---|-o-|-o-|---|---|---|
|-o-|-o-|---|-o-|---|---|
|---|---|-o-|-R-|---|---|
|---|-o-|---|-o-|-o-|---|
|---|-R-|---|-o-|-o-|---|



The interval pattern is thus: 1-W-2-H-3-W-4-W-5-H-6-3H-7-H-8
(3H=3 half steps/a tone and a half)

This is also the same ascending as descending.

Thirdly, the Melodic Minor Scale. This is the ?oddball? of the three if you like, because this is one of very few scales that is DIFFERENT descending to ascending. Don?t ask me why, just get it right. Ill tab this out differently to show you the change, here it is in the key of C:




|---------------------------------------------------------------------------8----|
|-----------------------------------------------------------8---10---12--------|
|--------------------------------------------7---8---10------------------------|
|----------------------------------9---10---------------------------------------|
|--------------------8---10--12------------------------------------------------|
|---8---10---11----------------------------------------------------------------|

The notes are: C D D#  F  G  A  B  C


The intervals of which are:1-W-2-H-3-W-4-W-5-W-6-W-7-H-8

Right, here it is, descending, same key:



|---8-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------11---9---8----------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------10---8---7-------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------10---8---------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------------------11---10---8-----------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------------11---10---8-|



The notes are(in descending order): C A# A G F D# D C

The intervals of which are(also descending):

8-W-7-W-6-H-5-W-4-W-3-H-2-W-1

Some of you may have noticed that the Melodic Minor Descending is exactly the same as the Natural Minor.

Right, a bit of information on the two scales and their uses for you. The Harmonic Minor scale was used to create the Harmony, ie the chords and scales that go over a song to make it a lot fuller(well, it wouldn?t be much else without them). Now this works fine, but when you use it for the Melody as well, it doesn?t work so well. This is because of its distinct interval of 3 Half steps, which singers find hard to sing, therefore another scale was created for the Melody: the Melodic Minor. In music, due to its different form descending, you will find that if notes are descending, they will conform to the intervals found in that scale. It must be said though that this is not always the case, as musicians always want to be different and unique so they might do that for a change.


Heres a list of all the relative scales who share the same key signature:



Major----------Minor

C		a
G		e
D		b
A		f#
E		c#
B		g#
F#		d#
C#		a#
F		d
Bb		g
Eb		c
Ab		f
Db		bb
Gb		eb
Cb		ab



Chords

Ok, that?s enough for scales, for now. I?m now going to move on to chord theory within the minor mode, which is a thing glanced over in the lessons on UG, people normally go for the easier Major chord theory.Please note that this is something new to me as well, as I read it in a book, so I will try to include as much as I can that is correct.

It is much harder to do this due to the fact there are 3 different minor scales. This means that there are many more different chords you can use in a song, with different intervals.

Firstly, I shall include those that can be found within the Natural Minor scale. What I will do is show the chords as intervals of their major scale, to illustrate their quality (dim, min maj etc)



I= Minor-1 3b 5
II=Diminished-1 3b 5b
III=Major-1 3 5
IV=Minor-1 3b 5
V=Minor-1 3b 5
VI=Major-1 3 5
VII=Major-1 3 5

Here it is for 7th chords.
 
I=Min7-1 3b 5 7b
II=Dim7-1 3b 5b 7b
III=Maj7-1 3 5 7
IV=Min7-1 3b 5 7b
V=Min7-1 3b 5 7b
VI=Half Dim7-1 3 5b 7 
VII=Dom7-1 3 5 7b



(What with all the diminished chords I ran out names, but make sure you read the numbers correctly as they are different chords.)

Ok, with that done we can move on to the other two scales.

The Harmonic Minor chords



I= Minor-1 3b 5
II=Diminished-1 3b 5b
III=Augmented-1 3 5#
IV=Minor-1 3b 5
V=Major-1 3 5
VI=Half diminished-1 3 5b
VII=Diminished-1 3b 5b

Here it is for 7th chords.
 
I=Min/maj7-1 3b 5 7
II=Dim7-1 3b 5b 7b
III=Aug7-1 3 5# 7
IV=Min7-1 3b 5 7b
V=Dom7-1 3 5 7b
VI=Half Dim7-1 3 5b 7 
VII=Full Diminished chord-1 3b 5b 7bb



(Once again, don?t worry about specific names, it?s just the numbers that matter)

Finally the Melodic Minor Chords, I shall only include the ascending notes for the chords, as the descending ones are the same as the Natural Minor which I have already done.



I= Minor-1 3b 5
II=Minor-1 3b 5
III=Augmented-1 3 5#
IV=Major-1 3 5
V=Major-1 3 5
VI=Diminished-1 3b 5b
VII=Diminished-1 3b 5b

Here it is for 7th chords.
 
I=Min/maj7-1 3b 5 7
II=Min7-1 3b 5 7b
III=Aug7-1 3 5# 7
IV=Dom7-1 3 5 7b
V=Dom7-1 3 5 7b
VI= Full Diminished chord-1 3b 5b 7bb 
VII=Dim7-1 3b 5b 7b



Well there you have it, every single bleedin chord you can get it in a minor song.

So I think my work here is done, but I am sure I have made many mistakes, especially in the chord part, so please do post some corrections and hopefully this will go on the main page!

Quote by Robbie n strat
In the changing rooms we'd all jump around so our dicks and balls bounced all over the place, which we found hilarious.



Little children should be felt, not heard.
Last edited by notoriousnumber at Aug 29, 2006,
#2
I would add that the sole purpose of the Harmonic minor was to provide the minor key with the necessary V7-! cadence. Then, the Melodic Minor was invented in order to deal with the awkward augmented second created by the harmonic minor.

This is a good start though. Perhaps add some typical minor key progressions?
#3
^I mentioned the augmented second, and Ill look up that bit about Cadences, although I do have another article on here thats about that so I shall include it in that. And again, Ill look up the progressions in a book, although Corwinoid did two excellent posts on this recently, Ill use that as well. Cheers.

Quote by Robbie n strat
In the changing rooms we'd all jump around so our dicks and balls bounced all over the place, which we found hilarious.



Little children should be felt, not heard.
#4
Woah, a pretty sweet article mate, really quite helpful!
#6
Apparently the harmonic and melodic minor scales sounded satanistic, leaving all the monks to sing major scales - this was where the modal system comes in.
#7
Good article, but there was one mistake. The sixth chord in the natural minor is a major chord, not Half diminished. Other than that, it's a good read.
Quote by highway2hell999
What The Hell Is Bong-water????????????????????????????????
YEAH, A BABY!
#8
^Thanks, Ive changed it.
Quote by Robbie n strat
In the changing rooms we'd all jump around so our dicks and balls bounced all over the place, which we found hilarious.



Little children should be felt, not heard.