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major/minor relationship

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by count_funkula, Oct 8, 2001.


  1. I keep hearing people talking about the importance of understanding the relationship between major and minor scales. What is meant by that and why is it important?

    I understand that the minor scale is the same as the aeolian(sp?) mode and it is found starting at the sixth degree of the major scale.

    What I don't understand is how that knowledge can be used and why it is so important.

    Thanks
     
  2. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    It's really an interesting relationship. Major scale was captain of the football team in high school, and minor scale, of course, was head cheerleader. Everybody said they were perfect for each other, but minor scale had this secret thing for diminished scale, who was from the other side of the railroad tracks. When minor and diminished got together, it just didn't seem to work, the uppity Lydian came in and started crap, saying that Major, (Lydian and Major were best friends), really had a thing for Dominant, which pissed everyone off because they knew that Major was straight. Finally, after diminished moved to a school in Hollywood, Major and minor hooked up at the Spring formal. Minor wanted to go "all the way" with Major for the first time, cause she was feeling a lot of pressure from her friends, The Arpeggios. Eventually, they wound up falling madly in love with each and went to Berklee together after high school. Minor was jealous because of all the knew scales that Major would meet there, and sure, Major made his share of childhood mistakes, but in the end, Major realized that he was so similar to minor. In fact, the only thing different about them was that minor had a lowered 3rd, 6th, and 7th. They were otherwise the same. Some people would talk about how Major always had a relative minor, you know, the Aeolian, or 6th position, or minor 3rd, from Major. So, people always talked about that relationship too, saying how every Major scale had a relative minor, which was just a mode of the Major Scale. (Sometimes minor scale could be "modey" too, usually for 3-5 days every month). Anyhoo, Major and minor have always resolved their differences, sometimes with the help of their friends, again, Dominant or Half-Diminished. That's the great thing about their relationship.

    Does that help?
     
  3. Thanks for the story jazzbo but it didn't help.
     
  4. APouncer

    APouncer

    Nov 3, 2000
    Lancashire, UK
    Ha ha, I laughed out loud at this point and half the office wondered why I found Company Accounts so hilarious. Ooops!
     
  5. I think a knowledge of scales is essential. Scales are the source for all aspects of harmony, in my opinion. The "relationship" between major and minor can refer to a lot of things depending on where your chops are at. It could mean learn your major modes. It could mean work on your ii/V's. It could mean studying the melodic minor modes which is slightly advanced. Bottom line? Knowing aeolian is the 6th mode of a major scale is the tip of the iceburg. Understanding ALL of the relationships between ALL major and ALL minor scales is a huge undertaking and requires years of woodshedding!
     
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Are we talking about the fact that say C major is all the white notes on the piano and so is A minor -so in learning your scales and say playing a solo over major and minor chords you can save yourself time by learning all the major scales and modes first on your instrument and then you can think - well I don't have to learn the minor scales - I can just think about them as scales I already know in another guise?

    In Jazz a lot of people will play the Dorian mode over a minor chord - so you can say it cuts down on the number of scales you need to memorise when starting out.
     
  7. That was great, Jassin' Ho!
     
  8. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Thank you, thank you. :D :D :D

    And you know, there really is a serious answer in all that muck.
     
  9. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999

    ...wonderful; now, everytime I hear "Minor scale/chord", I'm thinkin' the 'one with the dirty knees'.
     
  10. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    You must've gone to my high school. Gotta love them cheerleaders.
     
  11. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Hehe Jazzbo, that was a cute story...all the while being informative. :)..though..a football player and cheerleader? Heh. :p

    Being the New Age freak I am, I would've compared the Major/Minor relationship to that of the Lovers. Major is male and minor is female. The female is the darker of the two, as of course you can tell with the minor scale.

    Yin yang..twin soul (relative minor)..that whole thing...

    Ok..I'm leaving before you all think I'm weird....
     
  12. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Would you like me to rewrite it as Romeo & Juliet? Dominant scale can be Tybalt.
     
  13. KeithPas

    KeithPas

    May 16, 2000
    Poulsbo,Wa
    If you understand the tonality in your major and minor scales you will know what notes to play and what notes not to play. It will be second nature once you have the scales down.
     
  14. Which also explains the large number of shoes in the closets of minor scales as well as those flattened thirds around "that time of month." :)

    Major/minor relationship? Flat 3rd, 6th, 7th? Relative minor is the 6th mode of the scale? Is that what you're after?
     
  15. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
  16. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida

    thats what made it so funny to me....that and the 3-5 days a month bit with minor...that was great