Building Or Rebuilding A Good Foundation In Music Theory. Part 2
Beginners can start to learn about theory, and people who think they know theory but have some problems with the basics can fix that. This will also have a lot of guitar technique in it, chord voicings and whatnot.
In this I'll go over mostly minor stuff. Make sue you remember the last lesson because I won't spend time reviweing.
Part 1--Natural Minor scale:
Let's try making the Aminor scale. We start on A, go up a whole step to B, go up a half step to C, go up a whole step to D, go up a whole step to E, go up a half step to F, go up a whole step to G, and one more whole step back to A. So the Aminor scale is A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and has no sharps or flats.
You may notice those are the same notes as the Cmajor scale (C, D, E, F, G, A, B). When two scales, chords, or any other sort of groups of notes in music share the exact same notes, they are called "relative." So Aminor is Cmajor's relative minor, and Cmajor is Aminor's relative minor.
In order to find these relative scales in all keys, take the major scale (1-2-3-4-5-6) and start on 6 instead. So 6 is renamed 1, 7 is renamed 2...And we'll name the rest in a moment.
Not only are there relative scales...There are "parallel" scales. Cmajor and Cminor are parallel scales. Dmajor and Dminor are parallel scales. Got it? To turn a major scale into its parallel minor, we take the major scales numbers (1-2-3-4-5-6-7) and mess with them a bit, kind of like how we messed around with the 1-3-5 triads last time.
major scale: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7
minor scale: 1-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7
So we flatten the 3, 6, and 7 degrees of the major scale. Let's try forming Eminor this way.
First, create the Emajor scale (W-W-h-W-W-W-h):
Now take the 3 (G#), 6 (C#), and 7 (D#), and flatten each of them. G# back a half step is G, C# back a half step is C, and D# back a half step is D, therefore the Eminor scale is:
Now that we have Eminor, let's find its "relative major" scale. To do this, we rearrange the notes to stat on the b3. the b3 is renamed 1, the 4 is named 2, the 5 is named 3, the b6 is named 4, the b7 is named 5, the 1 is named 6, and the 2 is named 7. I can see that sounding very confusing, so here's a simple way to look at it:
Relative Major: G(1)-A(2)-B(3)-C(4)-D(5)-E(6)-F#(7)
So we see here that Eminor's relative major is Gmajor. Feel free to re-read this repeatedly if you don't get it, eventually it clicks.
Now let's look at the chords of the natural minor scale...
Apply this to the Aminor scale (A-B-C-D-E-F-G):
i is Aminor
ii0 is Bdiminished
bIII is Cmajor
iv is Dminor
v is Eminor
bVI is Fmajor
bVII is Gmajor
Part 2--Minor Pentatonic scale:
Take the natural minor scale...
Now eliminate the 2 and b6...
That is the minor pentatonic. Try on Aminor:
Eliminate 2 (B) and b6 (F)
The Aminor pentatonic scale is:
Just like the Aminor and Cmajor scales are relative, so are they're pentatonic scales:
Now would be a good time to take a break from the lesson and try to figure out the minor and minor pentatonic scales in several different keys in the "first position" I taught you before. Go ahead, I'll wait.
Done? Cool. You can ue the minor pentatonic scale over a chord progression that works in the natural minor scale, or over individual minor triads (just like the major pent is used over major chords). So if we had a chord progression like:
we can use the natural minor scale of "i" to create our melody, or the minorpent of "i," or switch between the minorpent's of "i," "iv," and "v."
Part 3--Harmonic Minor scale:
Composers at the dawn of tonal theory noticed a problem with the minor scale: the "v" doesn't pull towards the "i" as well as a "V" would. Right now it sounds like a bunch of information you may not need to know, but trust me, when I get to lessons on chord progressions, you'll be singing a different tune...Quite literally. Anyway, the solution to these composers' dilemma was a natural 7 in a minor scale instead of the b7.
So let's look at Aminor to explain this...A, B, C, D, E, F, G. The G is the b7. The E is the 5. In the natural Aminor scale, the Eminor triad (E, G, and B) fits, but if we turn the G into a G#, then the Emajor triad (E, G#, B) is what fits. So the harmonic minor scale is:
And in the key of Aminor, this scale's notes are:
Try to figure this out on the first position of your guitar in several keys.
The chords in this scale are:
The "+" means that chord is augmented. You may want to go back to my first lesson and review augmented chords.
The harmonic minor scale is obviously used for melody over the harmonic minor chord progressions.
But for compoers, there was still a problem: when playing a melody, they needed a smoother jump between the 6 and 7. So, they created the "melodic minor scale."
Part 4--Melodic Minor scale:
The melodic minor scale fixes the previously explained problem by raising the b6 to a 6. So in the key of Aminor...
The only difference between this and the major scale is the b3. Many say in classical music that when the scale ascends (when the notes are going higher) you use the notes already explained, but that when descending, the natural minor scale is used instead. There are actually many examples of classical pieces in which the melodic minor structure was used when ascending or descending, so you can do whatever you want. In jazz, the ascending portion is called the "jazz minor scale," and the descending portion is usually completely disregarded.
These are the chords in this scale:
That's all for today folks :)