Natural Minor, Minor - What's the difference?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by PanteraFan, Jun 22, 2001.

1. PanteraFan

Hi. I recently got a bass book that lists the finger pattern for A Natural Minor as:

G|---------------------|
D|----------------5-7--|
A|--------5-7-8--------|
E|-5-7-8---------------|

But, in the major thread that jazzbo used a while back, he referred to this pattern as just A Minor. Both have the formula
R 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7, so they have the same notes, but is this a Natural Minor, or a normal Minor? I know(from a cornet playing friend of mine) that a Natural Minor scale has no sharps or flats(and is therefore the aeolian mode of the C Major scale), but I don't know if Natural Minor and Minor are the same thing, or whether they each have different construction rules and fingerboard patterns...

2. melvin

Apr 28, 2001
im not the best at this but ill be corrected if im wrong.

there are 3 minor scales, natural, harmonic and melodic(is that last one right?). i think if someone told you just A minor that they would mean the natural minor. so i think most people say A minor instead of A natural minor.

if they got into the melodic and harmonic ones youd hope they tell you there gonna be doing those ones.

that sounded a bit confusing. i hope i got that stuff right

btw, are you sure that natural minors have no sharps or flats? because the G minor for example has some flats in it (Bb i think). the natural minor just has to follow the pattern
W H W W H W W.

W=whole step H=half step

3. jazzbo

Aug 25, 2000
San Francisco, CA
Sorry I left out the "natural" part!

The natural minor scale:

Root - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7

...is the one described in your book. This is the scale that is the Aeolian mode of the Major Diatonic Scale (or Ionian mode).

There is also the Melodic Minor scale. There's a great discussion on this scale somewhere in the archives, but I can't remember where. I'll try and look for it later. Here's the intervals of the Melodic Minor scale:

Root - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

The differences here being the 6 and 7 are not flat.

Then the Harmonic Minor scale is:

Root - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - 7

This scale differs from the Natural minor (or just plain minor) in that the 7 is not flatted. But it does have the flatted 6th, which the Melodic Minor scale does not have.

Personally, I'm a much bigger fan of memorizing the intervalic relationship of the notes from the root, then of memorizing patterns on the fingerboard, but your "tab" is showing you A Aeolian. A scale also known as natural minor, or minor.

4. alexssandro

Jun 7, 2000
Houston, Texas
To generalize, it is the 3rd which determines whether the scale or chord is minor. Therefore dorian, phrygian, and locrian are all minor. They are not "the" minor or natural minor scale, but they are minor as opposed to major.

So when you see a II min7 chord that leads into a V7 chord (such as Cmin7 to F7), the C dorian mode can be used.

5. hstiles

A minor is the 6th (aeolian) mode of the C major scale, hence it has no sharps or flats (if C major has no flats, then neither will A minor).

A minor and A natural minor are the same thing.

6. john turnerYou don't want to do that. Trust me.Staff Member

Mar 14, 2000
atlanta ga
the three minor modes of the major scale are

dorian - minor 3rd and 7th

1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7

phrygian - minor 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th

1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

aeolian - minor 3rd, 6th, 7th

1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

i refer to them using their modal names, so i don't know for sure which is "harmonic" and which is "natural".

remember, for a scale to be modal (mode of the major scale) it must have the same note-to-note intervals as the major scale, just starting on different notes (aeolian mode starts on the 6th note of the major scale, phrygian starts on the 3rd note, and dorian starts on the 2nd note)

7. Lovebown

Jan 6, 2001
Sweden
Well, yes that is true but when you play the Melodic Minor scale it's played like this:

Root-2-b3-4-5-6-7-octave

BUT, on the way back it's
b7 - b6- 5- 4- b3- 2, Root

/lovebown

8. hstiles

Lovebown,

there are actually 2 ways of playing the melodic minor. The way you mentioned is the traditional way, but there is also, apparently, a different version of the melodic minor where you ascend and descend using the same intervals, unlike the traditional melodic minor where you ascend as melodic minor and descend as natural minor.

9. PacmanLayin' Down TimeStaff MemberGold Supporting Member

Apr 1, 2000
Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
The method where you play the same way up and down is commonly referred to as Jazz Melodic Minor.

10. john turnerYou don't want to do that. Trust me.Staff Member

Mar 14, 2000
atlanta ga
shouldn't that read "the method where you play a scale differently up and down" ? or am i totally confused.

probably the latter .

Apr 1, 2000