Minor Scales

The basis and foundation of musical theory is the major scale, all discussion, labels and numbers included in any discussion of music theory are directly related to the major scale. In a musical sense and artistic capacity, the pure or natural minor scale is of equal importance. The instructional video below will give a student of guitar scales new insight and core knowledge concerning minor scales.

Playing And Understanding The A Minor Scale

Across all styles, A minor is a very common key and has always been a favorite key for playing and writing. As you study the diagram below take special notice of the formula and spelling. Interestingly, in the case of A minor the C, F and G notes are considered to be the flat 3, 6 and 7 respectively. This is because the naturally occuring notes in the key of A major, the notes are C#, F# and G#.

Continue by using the interactive trainer below as you play the exercises on your guitar and keyboard. Take your time with the trainers, studying them by

  • Learning The Sounds Of The Scales.
  • Naming The Notes With Letter Names.
  • Saying Or Singing The Solfege Syllables As You Practice.

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The Root 5 A Minor Scale

To repeat, the key of A minor has long been a guitar players, songwriters and jam band favorite. Below is a YouTube listening assignment: pick a few of these songs to listen to, try to be aware of and identify scale passages in both the vocal melody and guitar lines. Listen for the scale quality, its darkness.

Next, use the diaram below, along with its mouse over, to play through the A minor scale pattern on your guitar. Speed is not important here, try to spend the same approximate amount of time on each note however.

Root 5 A Minor Scale Exercise

Below is a scale exercise using the open position, root 5 A minor scale we are studying. This exercise is designed to emphasize the sound of the root note in your ear and give technical ability in the key. Practice with the recording, as if it were a new favorite song, and play along in unison. Once mastered practice without the recording, experimenting with different tempos (metronome settings).

Transposing Up One Octave

The open position, highly useful root 5 A minor scale pattern transposes quite nicely to position XII, giving you the same scale sound except one octave higher (exactly twice as high).

As you use the sound file below to practice the A minor root 5 scale pattern in position XII, strive for a crisp and accurate sound.

Minor Scale Melodic Exercise

In the musical exercise to follow, the well known melody God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen has been given a modern treatment and fits nicely within the root 5 A minor scale pattern. To avoid too many ledger lines I wrote the piece 8va, which means play the music one octave higher than written. If this sight reading is too hard, I have the TAB version, and the correct fingerings, in the printed notes at the end of this lesson.

Transposition Exercises

The following transposition exercise is similar to the others we have studied in this course. I am using the A minor scale exercise from the open position and transposing it up the neck, playing through common keys.

To get the most out of the trainer, run through the 2 A minor scales, open position and position XII, you have learned in this lesson. I am transposing the same scale exercise we have been using, playing each example two times. Use the 'ALL STOP' button to play slowly or take time to visualize the patterns as they inch their way up the neck.

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Print And Save

This lesson focuses on the key of A minor and its widely known used and played root 5 fingering patterns. Open the print and save study notes.