# harmonic minor scale

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by God_of_bass, Dec 26, 2001.

1. ### God_of_bass

Oct 16, 2001
Belfast, Ireland
im learning a lot of theory over christmass and i came to the harmonic minor scale, i can play it, i did so in my grade 5 exam but i am not clear as to what exactly it is or how its made. from books i have read it seems to be a minor scale which varies when you play in a descending or ascending way, it only varies either on the 6th or 7th degree, could someone explain the harmonic minor scale!

2. ### stephanie

Nov 14, 2000
Scranton, PA
Hello,

The way I learned the Harmonic Minor Scale was that was to play the pure minor scale and raise the 7th note a fret.

So for example:

A minor: A B C D E F G A

Your A Harmonic Minor would be: A B C D E F G# A

Or, you can play a major scale and lower the 3rd and 6th notes.

For example:

F major: F G A Bb C D E F

F Harmonic: F G Ab Bb C Db E F

I hope this has answered your question at least a little bit. I'm still studying scales myself.

Be well,
Stephanie

3. ### JimK

Dec 12, 1999
If it varies ascending vs. descending-
That's the melodic minor scale.

Ascending = the 6th & 7th degress are natural.
1-2-b3-4-5-6-7-1
C-D-Eb-F-G-A-B-C

Descending = the pure minor scale.
1-b7-b6-5-4-b3-2-1
C-Bb-Ab-G-F-Eb-D-C

4. ### Chris FitzgeraldStudent of LifeStaff MemberAdministrator

Oct 19, 2000
Louisville, KY
I think you've got those backwards. Unless you're getting into some serious Modal playing, the easiest way to think of minor scales is by scale degrees (major will be used as a reference):

MAJOR:...........1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8

Melodic Minor:..1..2.b3.4..5..6..7..8

Dorian Minor:....1..2.b3.4..5..6.b7..8

Harmonic Minor:1..2.b3.4..5.b6..7..8

Aeolian Minor:..1..2..b3.4..5.b6.b7..8 (a.k.a. - "Pure minor"...Stephanie was right)

In traditional or "classical" theory, the melodic minor scale has raised 6 and 7 on the way up and flatted 6 and 7 on the way down (the descending form is actually Pure minor), whereas in jazz theory only the ascending form is recognized.

I think the easiest way to think of all the above minor scales is just to think of them as different variants of the 6th and 7th degrees, since the degrees 1, 2, b3, 4, and 5 are identical in all cases. So a shortcut way of thinking would be:

Melodic:.... 6, 7
Dorian:......6, b7
Harmonic:..b6, 7
Aeolian:....b6, b7

Hope this helps.

5. ### stephanie

Nov 14, 2000
Scranton, PA
Ohhhhh....now I'm confused heh.

6. ### AngusSupporting Member

Apr 16, 2000
Palo Alto, CA
So am I! I learned it the other way around. Thanks for the help, Chris! This brings up some interesting questions for my teacher...

7. ### Chris FitzgeraldStudent of LifeStaff MemberAdministrator

Oct 19, 2000
Louisville, KY
Now I'm confused as to why you're confused! Your first post was entirely correct: Harmonic minor is just Pure (a.k.a. - Natural/Aeolian) minor with a raised 7th. Melodic minor has a raised 6th and 7th (or, if you prefer, the same 6th and 7th as the parallel major scale).

8. ### stephanie

Nov 14, 2000
Scranton, PA
Oops. Nevermind. I think I got it now.

Thanks,
Stephanie

9. ### AngusSupporting Member

Apr 16, 2000
Palo Alto, CA
At least somebody did.

Baaaack to my books...

10. ### God_of_bass

Oct 16, 2001
Belfast, Ireland
its my post surely i should get it?