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Piano Nanny - Free Piano Lessons
Minor Scales

Intermediate Studies

Lesson 4 - Section 1

Minor Scales

All of the Major scales have a cousin. Major scales are related to minor scales. Unlike the cheerful Major scale, the minor scale is darker. Minor scales are more introspective and mysterious.

The relationship between 1 major scale and it’s cousin the minor scale is the number of sharps or flats. They both have the same number. The C scale is void of any sharps or flats. It’s cousin, the A minor scale, is also void of any sharps or flats. Here is a list of the major scales and their cousins, the minor scales.

C Major and A minor
G Major and E minor
F Major and D minor
D Major and B minor
A Major and F sharp minor
E flat Major and C minor
E Major and C sharp minor
A flat Major and F minor
B Major and G sharp minor

To find the minor cousin of a Major scale is easy. Play the root note of any Major scale, then count to the left down the keyboard 3 half steps. The formula for constructing a minor scale is:

whole-half-whole-whole-half-whole-whole

On the final quiz for Intermediate Studies you will be asked for the formula for constructing a Major scale and a minor scale. Both of these formulas should be recorded in your music note book.

Major and minor scales


C Major



A minor


Lesson 4 - Section 2

Comparing Major and minor scales

Did you know that at one time composers were forbidden to write music in a minor key? There was severe punishment for those who did. Minor keys were thought of as being able to cause great destruction or evil. Yet, some of the greatest works of the musical arts are written in minor keys. Russian composers were most noted for their excellent works in minor keys.

Let’s listen to cousins C Major and A minor as each mp3 audio file plays up the scale and then down the scale. Select and play each from under the image for this section.

When you are finsished, play each of these scales on your keyboard. Try constructing more minor scales using the formula. Spend at least 10 minutes doing this exercise.

Major and minor keys

Lesson 4 - Section 3

Well that is it for now

Some of the songs you have been playing out of your simple piano song book may be in minor keys. By looking at the Key Signature, you will now be able to say which Major key or minor key the song is based on.

You are becoming almost too much of a music wizard to handle now. “Watch out now . . . . . , cool dude or dudette coming down the street.” Soon you will be able to teach this class better than I can!

Knowing what you know now qualifies you for ACE of the day in music. Glad you are here. And hope to see you back for the next lesson.


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