Minor Scales –
Musical Scales with Many Variations!
Minor Scales are musical scales that are slightly more difficult than their close relatives – Major Scales – because they require more concentration and we also need to know which type of minor scales (there are 3 main types!) we are singing in order to know which notes to sing!
I will be touching on the various types of these scales and their structures as we go along.
For those who have not read the section on Major Scales, do visit this link to find out more about these basic musical scales before proceeding with this section.
Do also refer to my webpage on Pitching Tips and find out about how we can easily keep ourselves in pitch when singing if we just bear in mind certain simple pointers!
Now, Minor Scales are also made up of 8 notes, just like Major Scales, but when we notate the solfege for these scales, we usually begin with a 6 (La) note instead of a 1 (Doh) note for major scales. Here is the solfege for a Natural Minor Progression:
Just like what you have practised with the major scales, you should sing along as you play these minor scales, and these musical scales would become useful pitching exercises to keep ourselves singing in pitch every time!
For those of you who do not have any musical instrument at home, you can click here to find out how to access my full set of audio clips for minor scales and other related musical scales for singing!
You can try out some of the minor scales here with the following sample audio clips:
G Minor Scale Ascending
G Minor Scale Descending
C Minor Scale Ascending
C Minor Scale Descending
Be sure to sing the 1st note of each scale accurately before you actually proceed with the rest of the scale, so as to ensure that the rest of your pitches are correct too! For each scale that i have uploaded, the 1st note of the scale is sounded for a few seconds first, before the entire scale is played, so that you would be able to catch the 1st note of the scale accurately before singing the rest of the pitches!
Those who are keen to practise more minor scales, click here to find out how to access my full set of audio clips for minor scales and other related musical scales for singing!
Do make sure that you do your vocal warmups before you practise these pitching exercises, so as to be sure that you keep your voices strong and healthy for a long time to come! You can also practise your vocal warmups by using the practice music available, doing the warmups in the various keys available.
For those who are interested in Minor Scales and how the 3 main types of these musical scales differ from each other, here are some diagrams that we can refer to in order to understand more about this topic:
Referring to the diagram above for the Natural Minor, we can see that the basic structure for this scale is as follows:
C (tone), D (semitone), Eb (tone), F (tone), G (semitone), Ab (tone), Bb (tone), C
For those who do not know, or who have not read up the section on Major Scales, a Tone (Whole Step) is actually 2 Semitones (Half-Step), and a Semitone means a step to the immediate note to the left or right of the current note, for example, from E to F, or from C to C#.
The Harmonic Minor Scale is different from the Natural Minor in the sense that the 7th note of the scale is raised by 1 semitone. For example, an ‘A’ Natural Minor has a ‘G’ note for its 7th note, whereas an ‘A’ Harmonic Minor has a ‘G#’ note for its 7th note. If we were to refer to the diagram above, we will be able to see that the distance between the 6th note and the 7th note of the scale is a tone and a half.
Referring to the diagram above, the Melodic Minor Scale varies from the Natural and Harmonic Minors by raising its 6th and 7th note by one semitone each whenever we were to sing or play it in an ascending manner, from the lowest note of the scale to its highest note.
This would mean that for an ‘A’ Melodic Minor, the 6th note would be F# and the 7th note would be G#, as opposed to an ‘A’ Natural Minor, where the 6th and 7th notes are F and G respectively.
However, when we were to sing or play the Melodic Minor in a descending manner, from the highest note of the scale to its lowest note, the notes to play would be the same as a Natural Minor on a descent. This is a special feature of the Melodic Minor, in the sense that the notes played when ascending or descending the scale are different!
Do take note of the various pitching tips available on this website, so that we can be sure we are singing in pitch whenever we sing these various musical scales! Also, always practise good breath support when singing, and be aware of how our vocal cords react whenever we sing, so that we can avoid unnecessary damage to our voice!
All musical scales have a fixed structure, and if we just remember their structure formula, it is easy to construct the scales that you want to play for your pitching exercises!
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