This tutorial will explain what a Minor Scale is and how it differs from a Major Scale.
Every Major Scale has a sister scale which we call the Relative Minor.
The Relative Minor is a scale which uses the same notes, but uses a different note as it’s starting pitch.
For example, in the key of C, the notes are
C D E F G A B C
If we start on A, but use the same notes, we get
A B C D E F G A
This gives us an A Minor scale which is the Relative Minor of C Major.
The rule is that the Relative Major is the scale that is formed by starting on the sixth degree of a Major Scale.
In the above example, the note A is the 6th degree of C major. Therefore A minor is the Relative Minor of C Major.
The Relative Minor can also be found by starting on C and going down a minor 3rd to A.
Because we are using a different starting note, we get a different pattern of whole steps and half steps.
Specifically, the pattern is:
W H W W H W W
As compared to a Major Scale starting on A, the intervals are:
1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 1
The 3rd, 6th, and 7th degrees are flat relative to the starting pitch.
There is another way to create a Minor Scale, called the Parallel Minor.
If we start with a C Major scale, but deliberately flatten the 3rd, 6th, and 7th degrees, we get the Parallel Minor.
C D Eb F G Ab Bb C
C minor is the Parallel Minor of C Major.
The first, called the Relative Minor, starts with a Major Scale but uses the 6th degree as a starting point.
The second, called the Parallel Minor, starts with a Major Scale and flattens the 3rd, 6th, and 7th degrees.