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Harmonic and Melodic Minor Scales

22 July, 2019 - 10:18
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All of the scales above are natural minor scales. They contain only the notes in the minor key signature. There are two other kinds of minor scales that are commonly used, both of which include notes that are not in the key signature. The harmonic minor scale raises the seventh note of the scale by one half step, whether you are going up or down the scale. Harmonies in minor keys often use this raised seventh tone in order to make the music feel more strongly centered on the tonic (Please see Beginning Harmonic Analysis  for more about this.) In the melodicminor scale, the sixth and seventh notes of the scale are each raised by one half step when going up the scale, but return to the natural minor when going down the scale. Melodies in minor keys often use this particular pattern of accidentals, so instrumentalists find it useful to practice melodic minor scales.

Figure 4.21 Comparing Types of Minor Scales

Listen to the differences between the natural minor, harmonic minor, and melodic minor scales.

Exercise 4.8:

Rewrite each scale from this Figure 4.18 as an ascending harmonic minor scale.

Exercise 4.9:

Rewrite each scale from this Figure 4.18 as an ascending and descending melodic minor scale.