# Major vs Minor?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by d8g3jdh, Sep 11, 2005.

1. ### d8g3jdhGuest

Aug 9, 2005
I have a query...i have recently learned the circle of fifths and have a pretty good grasp of it, and i understand the differences between something like C major and C minor, but what i dont understand is the difference between something like C major and it's relative minor, A minor.

Bassically, my question is this. Is there a difference between something in the key of C major vs. that same thing in the key of A minor? Is there a difference between something in a major key vs. that same thing being in the relative minor key?

2. ### Correlli

Apr 2, 2004
New Zealand
The difference is the tonic note.

Key of A Minor, the tonic is A.

Key of C Major, the tonic is C.

The tonic note can also be the key note. But, you can modulate to a new tonic (key note) within a progression, and modulate back to the the original tonic at the end of the progression.

The problem with a natural minor key, is the it has no leading note interval, and that's where Harmonic minor comes in. Harmonic minor has a leading note interval.

A-B-C-D-E-F-G#

3. ### d8g3jdhGuest

Aug 9, 2005
Well, you answered my question, but now i have a bunch of others. How do you work progressions? Whats a harmonic minor? what the hell was everythig else you talked about in that post?

Bah, i am but a flea on the dog that is theory, and am but a termite in the log cabin that is bass playing

4. ### Chili

Mar 8, 2005
Newcastle/England
ah, so the only differance bettwen major and minor is the tonic?, thats probably completely wrong but i'm new to theory and all that aswell, i just started on theory, i could learn scales n stuff pretty easly but i dont like learning them and not knowing why i'm learning them, so thats why i really wonna know all this stuff

5. ### cowsgomoogone to Longstanton Spice Museum

Feb 8, 2003
UK
a harmonic minor scale is like a natural minor scale but the 7th note of the scale is sharpened... this provides a dominant 7th chord on the 5th degree of the harmonic minor scale, as opposed to the minor 7th chord you get on the 5th of the natural minor scale...

it basically evolved in baroque & classical music to erm.. emphasize cadential movement by having that leading #7 in there... (the tritone set up between the major 3rd and the the flat 7 in the dominant 7 chord gives extra tension to resolve)

use it in modern music and it can sound sometimes unusual because it has a strong 'classical' aroma to it... Yngwie Malmsteen used to use it a lot in his 'neo classical' widdly guitar stuff

6. ### dlloydzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Apr 21, 2004
Scotland
With the natural minor you don't have the strong resolution from the V chord to the I that you do in a major key.

A major for example has a strong V to I cadence:

E major triad: E, G#, B
A major triad: A, C#, E

A minor, on the other hand, has a weak v to i cadence:

E minor triad: E, G, B
A minor triad: A, C, E

The loss of strength is largely because you've lost that semitone movement from the G# to the A.

If you sharpen the G so you have a major V chord, you have a strong resolution again...

E major triad: E, G#, B
A minor triad: A, C, E

The harmonic minor scale incorporates this change.

7. ### AGCurry

Jun 29, 2005
Kansas City
I play in a Jewish-music band, where more than half of the material is in minor keys, both natural and harmonic.

It does take a while to adjust, as so much of modern popular music is in major.

You do have circles of fifths, but they start at different places. For example, in a natural minor key (Am):

Am - Dm - G - C (and the F is also pretty common). Learn the transitions here and they will serve you well.

The minor sixth is a very useful leading tone into the V chord from both i and iv, in both modes.

8. ### Correlli

Apr 2, 2004
New Zealand
Be careful pal, and read his post.

"What's the difference between the Key of A Minor and the Key of C Major"?

He already knows the the difference between Major and Minor triads etc.

don't get to cocky. I'll also suggest a pair of glasses might be in order.

9. ### Correlli

Apr 2, 2004
New Zealand
That's sound's pretty cool.

Nice one!

I'm gonna print that off and put it my scape book of music theory.

10. ### Chili

Mar 8, 2005
Newcastle/England
oh yeah, my bad lol, i'll just back away into a dark corner now

11. ### Howard K

Feb 14, 2002
UK
I think a good excercise to get int the major and minor keys would be to harmonise both a major and minor scale, look at the chords derived from those scales and think about the differences in the "same" progressions in both major and minor keys

For exmaple

By 'harmonise the major scale' I mean, build 7th chords using alternative notes from the scale, so you get

C Major
I: CMaj7= C D E F G A B
II: D-7 = D F A C
III: E-7 = and so on...!
IV: FMaj7
V: G7 (dominant)
VI: A-7
VII: B-7b5 (half diminished)

The do the same with C natural minor
A B C D E F G A

..and A harmonic minor
A B C D E F G# A

It might help to look at the parallel minor key too
C Major, against C minor C D Eb F G Ab Bb

Then look at the type of chords that are used in a Major II-V-I (C) and a minor ii-V-i (A, or even C minor) (lower case roman numerals are used for minor keys)

II-V-I in C Major
D-7 / G7 / CMaj7

ii-V-i in A minor (using harmonic minor scale)
Bb-7b5 / E7 / A-7

Write them all out, using note names if dots arent you thing, play the arpeggios and scales. Write a tune using the same progressions in major and minor keys so you can hear the difference

sorry if this is teaching granny to suck eggs