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Section 3.1 Minor Scales

There are three minor scales: the natural minor scale, the harmonic minor scale, and the melodic minor scale. Play or sing through each one and notice the differences.

The major, natural minor, harmonic minor, and melodic minor scales all starting on C, noting that the natural minor has lowered 3rd, 6th and 7th scale degrees, the harmonic minor has lowered 3rd and 6th scale degrees, and the ascending melodic minor scale as a lowered 3rd scale degree

The melodic minor scale has an ascending version, shown above, and a descending version that is the same as the natural minor scale.

The ascending melodic minor scale on C has a lowered 3rd scale degree and the descending version has lowered 3rd, 6th, and 7th scale degrees

So far, we have looked at minor scales in relation to the major scale. However, we will typically encounter minor scales in music using minor key signatures.