Comparing Major and Minor Scales
There are three forms of minor scales. The form that we will be looking at in this chapter is called the natural minor scale. The term “natural” has nothing to do with the natural sign that cancels out a sharp or a flat. “Natural” denotes that the scale is in its “natural” form. The difference between the major scale and the natural scale is the order in which the whole steps and half steps occur.
(Chapter 18 – Audio Sample 1)
A Natural Minor Scale
(Chapter 18 – Audio Sample 2)
Notice that the half steps in the natural minor scale occur at different places than in the major scale. The half steps are located between pitches 3 & 4 and 7 & 8 in the major scale, and between pitches 2 & 3 and 5 & 6 in the natural minor scale.
The natural minor scale above is called an “A natural minor” scale because it begins and ends on “A”. If we had begun the scale on a pitch other than “A”, certain pitches would need to be sharped or flatted to maintain the order of whole steps and half steps. Here is an example of a “D natural minor” scale. As you can see, a ‘B flat’ is needed to maintain the half step between the 5th and 6th pitches.
D Natural Minor Scale
(Chapter 18 – Audio Sample 3)