Music Theory

Lesson 12


Minor Scales: Natural, Harmonic, and Melodic


To begin this lesson, I would like to return briefly to Bach’s Invention in D Minor presented at the conclusion of the last lesson.  The key signature of this piece is one flat, and so it seems odd that the work is described as something other than F major.  In fact, the major scale is not the only scale used in music.  We have learned that when the perfect intervals (fourth, fifth, and octave) and the major intervals (major second, third, sixth, and seventh) are placed above a tonic pitch, a major scale is produced.  When some of these major intervals—the third, sixth, and seventh to be precise—are replaced by minor intervals, a minor scale is produced.  Unlike the major scale, with one form only, there are three forms of the minor scale: natural, harmonic, and melodic.





© Copyright 2005

Mark McFarland