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Topic: Scale identification
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AuthorTopic:   Scale identification
Anonymous Poster

From Internet Network:

posted: 10/1/2007 at 8:02:57 PM ET
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Can you tell me the how to detect Major, Natural Minor, Harmonic Minor, and Melodic Minor?

Registered User

South Carolina

posted: 10/10/2007 at 4:52:09 PM ET
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If I remember correctly (haven't been practicing music for a while)...
Major (obviously) has a "happier" tone to it. Minor is more depressing sounding.
For every key there is a "corresponding" natural minor key...aka C major = A minor
(they start w/ the sixth note)& you can also remember by saying to yourself it is WHWWHWW...if that makes any sense.
when using "harmonic" minor...the seventh is raised.

I am probably just really confusing you, so maybe you should just check out this:

Registered User

posted: 10/12/2007 at 1:07:58 PM ET
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You probably can tell what a major scale is by hearing it. The pattern for a MAJOR scale is Whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step, or WWHWWWH.

The natural minor scale does have a "sad" sound to it, which comes from the lowered third scale degree. This changes the pattern to WhWWhWW, or C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb-C.

To go from the natural minor to the harmonic minor, raise the 7th scale degree a half step. The pattern becomes WhWWh_h, or C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-B-C. The blank spot in the pattern is for the augmented interval created between the 6th and 7th scale degrees, or the Ab and the B. This interval gives the scale a middle eastern or "snake charmer" kind of sound that helps with auditory recognition.

The melodic minor is different ascending then it is descending. Ascending, both the 6th and 7th scale degrees are raised from the original natural minor, creating C-D-Eb-F-G-A-B-C. As you can see, this is merely a C major scale with the third scale degree, or Eb, lowered a half step. On the way back down the scale, the 6th and 7th scale degrees are lowered again.

the full melodic minor scale is: C-D-Eb-F-G-A-B-C-Bb-Ab-G-F-Eb-D-C.
So, if you hear a minor sounding scale where the pattern of pitches change on the way back down the scale, then it is the melodic minor scale.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

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