# Whats the difference between playing in a major key and its relative minor?

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This has been confusing me for the longest time. How is playing in a relative minor key different from playing in a major key? They both have the same notes, I don't see what the difference is.

Also, within a minor key, how do you assign roman numerals to triads? My instinct tells me its like:

Am (i) Bdim (ii) C (III) Dmin (iv) Emin (v) F (VI) G (VII)

(Key of A Minor)

Im not sure if that is correct though. If it isnt, could someone explain it to me correctly/give me a link that will explain it correctly?

Thanks alot
They have different tonal centers and different intervals that comprise the scales. Also, your ii should be a iidim.
Everything.

Major: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
minor: 1,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7

Even if the key signature is the same the respective scale degrees are very different.

You have the chords right.

Edit: following up with what Sue said,

it's ii° (use a degree sign for diminished not a zero or the letter "o" ). semantics ftw!
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
Last edited by metal4all at Jun 15, 2008,
Also keep in mind that if you're playing in a major key and say you're playing in the relative minor, Archeo Avis will come and destroy you.
Quote by Arch
You don't know what relative minors are, you don't know what you're talking about, and you really need to stop posting. You're not ready for modes, so go learn about the major scale and diatonic harmony.
That's the jist of what he'd say.
Lulz^.

If you have anymore questions or don't understand just say somethin TS
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
*tear of joy*

I have a reputation!

That's the jist of what he'd say.

To be fair, I'd only really say that if the guy was being willfully stupid, and refused to take any advice. I'd be marginally less of an ass if it was just an honest mistake.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Quote by greekorican5
This has been confusing me for the longest time. How is playing in a relative minor key different from playing in a major key? They both have the same notes, I don't see what the difference is.

Also, within a minor key, how do you assign roman numerals to triads? My instinct tells me its like:

Am (i) Bdim (ii) C (III) Dmin (iv) Emin (v) F (VI) G (VII)

(Key of A Minor)

Im not sure if that is correct though. If it isnt, could someone explain it to me correctly/give me a link that will explain it correctly?

Thanks alot
First off, real minor progressions barely ever have a minor dominant chord (v). And the VII chord is almost always always full diminished.
And, although I've never seen a ii chord used in minor progressions, it would be logical to assume that it would be minor and not half diminished, as a minor ii chord moves to and from the V chord better than a half-diminished ii0 chord.
Major progressions can remain relatively diatonic. But minor progressions, in order for them to be truly minor, would usualy use out of key chords.

When writing minor melody's, you probably should use all three minor scales. Here is a repost of mine on how to use the minor scale:
___________________________________________
First off, to resolve whilst writing minor melodies, you probably should use the major seventh as it resolves really well to the root just about a semitone about it.

If your moving from above the root to the a seventh just below the root, and you want to resolve the melody, you probably should play a major seventh (meaning harmonic minor) instead of a minor seventh. This produces a strong resolution to the root.

If you want to hit that major seventh (so you can resolve to the root) without moving from above the root (so you can move upwards in pitch, not downwards), you probably should use a Major sixth instead of a minor sixth. This is because the augmented second (same as a minor third) step the minor sixth creates with the major seventh is dissonant.

If you dont want to resolve your melody, you should use the minor seventh, as it doesnt resolve as easy.

If you want to play perfect fifth, try to use a minor sixth instead of a major sixth as the minor sixth leads better to the perfect fifth.

If you want to sound eastern, try to play that minor sixth note before or after that major seventh note. For the best effect, dont play a root note and keep that dissonance hanging.

This is why many people consider writing in minor keys more difficult than major keys. The only note out of key note in major melodies that I would use regularly is the #4, as it moves really well to the perfect fifth (which can act like a second root; therefore resolving your melodies)

tldr; minor is not the same as major. Stick to writing in the major scale.
Even more simply and, just because it hasn't been said yet besides a mention of resolution:

The root is different...
Tonal Center.

Take C Major for and example. The reason A is the relative minor of C, is because A is the Major 6th of C. The 6th mode of a major is Aeolian (or Minor)

A Aeolian (minor) is mode VI of C Ionian (Major). Same notes being used, different tonal center.

If the key was C major and I felt like playing a scale in G, I'd have to assign it G Mixolydian. Because G is a perfect 5th from C, you use the 5th mode which is Mixolydian.

Understand modes and you'll have nothing to complain about.
^Well, if you're playing over a static C major chord for example, you're playing C major even if you begin a run on G. I don't think that's what you're implying, but I'm clearing this up to hopefully prevent future confusion.
Quote by Phobos&Deimos
If the key was C major and I felt like playing a scale in G...
Why would you do that?
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
Quote by greekorican5
This has been confusing me for the longest time. How is playing in a relative minor key different from playing in a major key? They both have the same notes, I don't see what the difference is.

Also, within a minor key, how do you assign roman numerals to triads? My instinct tells me its like:

Am (i) Bdim (ii) C (III) Dmin (iv) Emin (v) F (VI) G (VII)

(Key of A Minor)

Im not sure if that is correct though. If it isnt, could someone explain it to me correctly/give me a link that will explain it correctly?

Thanks alot

They have different roots, play the "C Major scale" and resolve to C all the time. Then play that scale and resolve to A all the time, hear the difference? An easier way would be to play those notes over a static C Major chord and then after play over a static A minor chord.. you'll hear the difference.
Quote by :-D
^Well, if you're playing over a static C major chord for example, you're playing C major even if you begin a run on G. I don't think that's what you're implying, but I'm clearing this up to hopefully prevent future confusion.

I know. Things sound brilliant in my head, but when it comes to typing it down, it's a mess. I was just stating how different modes relate to the Ionian, which, as far as I know, answered the threadstarter's question.
Quote by demonofthenight
First off, real minor progressions barely ever have a minor dominant chord (v). And the VII chord is almost always always full diminished.
And, although I've never seen a ii chord used in minor progressions, it would be logical to assume that it would be minor and not half diminished, as a minor ii chord moves to and from the V chord better than a half-diminished ii0 chord.

I usually see the ii as a half-diminished chord in minor. Also, the diminished fifth in the ii half-diminished will resolve by half step to the root of the V, instead of by whole step, so I wouldn't say that it doesn't move as well towards the V.
(Slightly outdated) Electronic and classical compositions by m'self: Check 'em out
Quote by psychodelia
I usually see the ii as a half-diminished chord in minor. Also, the diminished fifth in the ii half-diminished will resolve by half step to the root of the V, instead of by whole step, so I wouldn't say that it doesn't move as well towards the V.

+1, that makes for nice voice leading. I really like the sound of iiø-V7b9-im7 ....

``````
----6--5--
-8--8--6--
-7--6--5--
-8--7------
-7-----5--
----------
``````
Last edited by Stash Jam at Jun 16, 2008,
It's good thing I have a chart
It use to confuse the hell out of me too.

If you start from C maj
The G is the V
The A is the relative

C maj
C natural minor
C haromic minor
C melodic minor
The G (V) chord remains as the domiant for all of these scales.

The relative scale of Ebmaj is Cmin.

When you play A natral minor...the Domiant chord is E7.
E7 is the domiant for these scales

A maj
A natural minor
A harmonic minor
A melodic minor

To make it less confusing for myself..i put the melodic minor in a hybrid class.lol
The first half of the scale is like a natural minor..the second half is like a regular maj.

I didn't have a hard time resolving the 7th when playing a maj scale.lol
So when I play the harmonic minor..it's sort of the samething.

When I play the b6. The heck with it..I'm pulling towards the 4th.
Like what demon wrote. When I go from m6 to M7 is sounds exotic.lol
Last edited by Ordinary at Jun 16, 2008,
I'd like to point out that UG is the only place where someone can ask a single question, and get the same answer 15 times, with varying degrees of complexity, and logical organization.

You may continue.

Quote by Guitar_Theory
I'd like to point out that UG is the only place where someone can ask a single question, and get the same answer 15 times, with varying degrees of complexity, and logical organization.

You may continue.

This is true
shred is gaudy music
oki doki....

If I play around the 7th and accent the heck out of it...to the piont
of where I'm using it as a hook piont . Resolve it to the root (octive)
and go above it to the 2nd...

it's almost as if I'm doing the front end of a phrygian.lol
So when I hit the 2nd of the melodic minor from the 7th
It's as if I'm hitting the root and b3 of a minor scale.lol
So when i hit the dim7..it's as if I'm playing m7 of a phrygian.lol

so when I pull all the way back to the P4 from the m6...it's the samething.
something about HW or WH resolves nicely.lol

Anyway..if for some reason I play the P5 and stress it ...I can choose to resolve
it with a m6...it'll be the samething as playing the M7 and resolving it
to the root.
Ordinary, what are you talking about? I'm completely lost.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
okay...If straight pick the notes..I'll sound blackmore
If, I bend and tapp..I sound like eddi
If I do forward and backward slide I sound like the satch
if I do backward slide, I sound like Vai
If I just add option notes I'll sound Jimmy.lmao

In serch of a note to resovle a riff/phrase
you're an idiot
man...the first time i heard of melodic or exotic scales was this dude.

I think there's a lot more than just playing a scale accending or decending.
A lot of phrasing and structure. I don't belive he was randomly pulling those notes
out of his ass.

A decade before ynwgie was even thought of .lol
Last edited by Ordinary at Jun 16, 2008,
Holy Jesus, you've outdone yourself this time Ordinary.

TS, tonal center. The root note basically. The root note in C major is C(duh), so if you're playing a droning A minor chord and saying it's in the key of C major, you're wrong. That kinda thing.
Quote by Phobos&Deimos
Tonal Center.

Take C Major for and example. The reason A is the relative minor of C, is because A is the Major 6th of C. The 6th mode of a major is Aeolian (or Minor)

A Aeolian (minor) is mode VI of C Ionian (Major). Same notes being used, different tonal center.

If the key was C major and I felt like playing a scale in G, I'd have to assign it G Mixolydian. Because G is a perfect 5th from C, you use the 5th mode which is Mixolydian.

Understand modes and you'll have nothing to complain about.
Hmmm, maybe. But its sort of difficult to resolve to a chord other than C major (in C). Thats why modal chord progressions are difficult, cause everything wants to move to C major, which wont be modal.

Quote by Guitar_Theory
I'd like to point out that UG is the only place where someone can ask a single question, and get the same answer 15 times, with varying degrees of complexity, and logical organization.

You may continue.
Thus why I love MT. We might have been talking about time signatures, and then, suddenly, modes. Actually, every discussion on MT will touch on modes.
Quote by demonofthenight
Actually, every discussion on MT will touch on modes.
Do you mean explode into a furious debate about modes?
Quote by grampastumpy
Do you mean explode into a furious debate about modes?

No. You aren't ready for modes. You have no idea what you're talking about and you need to shut up.

Sound familiar?
Quote by :-D
No. You aren't ready for modes. You have no idea what you're talking about and you need to shut up.

Sound familiar?
Certainly not the kind Archeo Avis!
My turn my turn!

aerlian dominate
Quote by grampastumpy
Certainly not the kind Archeo Avis!
My turn my turn!

aerlian dominate

rofl
if i use the m3...i end up sounding liek crazi
but go b2. get pryaign which is more sad. lmao

tapping locrian when in ionian or lydian...some say you cant
i say do it...sound like aerlian or mixolian
Quote by :-D
rofl
if i use the m3...i end up sounding liek crazi
but go b2. get pryaign which is more sad. lmao

tapping locrian when in ionian or lydian...some say you cant
i say do it...sound like aerlian or mixolian
I wish I could say I hate you for picking on ordinary, but truth be told, I laughed so hard.
Quote by demonofthenight
I wish I could say I hate you for picking on ordinary, but truth be told, I laughed so hard.

*Takes bow*

I work hard on my e-impersonation skills.
Quote by :-D
rofl
if i use the m3...i end up sounding liek crazi
but go b2. get pryaign which is more sad. lmao

tapping locrian when in ionian or lydian...some say you cant
i say do it...sound like aerlian or mixolian
Too coherent.

Jokes aside, seriously, all this mode talk is crazy. We're actually doing exactly what we make fun of, starting a mode conversation amidst something unrelated(well I guess with relative keys and the tonal centers and stuff)...

Also, I'd like to say I just got back from El Salvador yesterday and my chord-melody solo jazz guitar playing(I have no jazz friends to jam with ) has improved amazingly. Weird, since I brought my ukulele and had been practicing the entire time, but I don't mind.

EDIT: Of course, I forgot to say that was absolutely hilarious.
Last edited by grampastumpy at Jun 16, 2008,
No, fcuken Smilie

It's the first and last letter, just like the stupid notes.

Lkie tihs....

Ddue, E moinr olny has one sarhp in it.

It's like this...smiley.

Your freaken brain make up crap.
There's blinde spots on the conner of both of your eyes.
If your brain didn't generate fualt images to cover those blinde spots,
you'll see a black sotps or holes.

Your brain dose the same with notes...that's why some people make up crap
or terms such as silent tones.
Last edited by Ordinary at Jun 17, 2008,
So um....

Any of you guys like apples?

I really like apples, I think they taste good, especially the green ones.

Quote by Ordinary
okay...If straight pick the notes..I'll sound blackmore

...How dare you...

Have you ever actually listened to any of the artists you listed? Listen to one Blackmore solo. Just one.