Music Theory: Rules To Remember When Transforming A Major Scale Into A Minor Scale

Just going a bit further in my music theory today.  I have to say I rather lazy in delving too deep into music theory, but today I push myself a bit in this area.  Anyhow, I’ve come to understand some rules are best to know by heart in order for me to convert a major scale into a minor scale.  The key is to learn about music intervals.

As long I remember that each note in a scale represents a degree.  The distance of a degree from a root note (which represents the scale) represents the degree of a note.  An example would be E note in C major scale is a third degree.  Simple really, C major scale starts with C and the rest goes DEFGABC, and when you count C as root note, D would be 2nd degree, and E would be 3rd degree.  Furthermore, I also need to remember which degree on the major scale and minor scale would have the note to be of the same note.  By this I meant let’s take C major scale, the 2nd degree on C major scale is D natural, and so the 2nd degree on C minor scale would also be D natural.  Both major and minor scales’ degrees that are having the same notes should be 2nd, perfect 4th, perfect 5th, and the root note/octave.

The key to transform a major scale into a minor scale easily is to remember that 3rd, 6th, and 7th degrees are a half step down for major notes to minor notes.  For an example, let’s transform C major scale into minor scale, and we shall see by what I meant.  CDEFGABC is the C major scale.  Minor scale of C should be CD (to stay the same), E major should now be E flat, FG (to stay the same as these are perfect 4th and 5th), A major should now be A flat, B major should now be B flat, and C octave should stay the same as C root note.  Thus, C minor scale is now CDE(b)FGA(b)B(b)C.  I inserted (b) to represent a flat note.

By the way, if you’re reading this and don’t know what a half step down for major to minor, then here is a short explanation of this.  Let’s use a piano scale to easily show this to you.  If you have a piano right in front of you, just take a look at a D natural note for C scale, and a half step down of D natural note would be D flat.  This D flat is the black key on the piano, and this black key is one down or to the very left of the D natural note.  D natural note is naturally a white key.  Half step down rule applies to all keys, and so it does not represent a black key on the piano in case you’re wondering.  Thus whenever someone says that a flat of something or half step down of something, just look to the key which is very left of the former key.

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