The Harmonic Minor Scale is one of many existence proofs that scales are not made up of half steps and whole steps. The interval between Ab and B is neither, but don’t worry about what interval it is. It is a waste of precious study time. Just notice how this arrangement of notes gives this scale a very exotic flavor.

C Harmonic Minor Scale: Notation & Keyboard Layout…

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Comparative Scale Study Tip: Notice that minor scales use the same [five-note] penta-scale: DoReMeFaSo.

Why is this minor scale called “harmonic? It is called harmonic because Ti is the necessary and definitive note in the dominant (V) chord. The V chord is essential to making the overwhelming majority of European classical music tick. We will learn more about this when we study chord progressions. That said, this does not mean that the “natural” and “melodic” minors are “un-harmonic”.  Oh well… That’s what the people who made the rules decided to call it.

Play and sing the Natural Minor and Harmonic Minor side-by-side, slowly enough to hear the very distinct difference between Ti and Te.  Pay special attention to the unique pull each note has toward Do. By the way, the powerful leading tone B (Ti) is the exact same leading tone as the Major Scale that wants to resolved to C (Do).


Ear Training

Reading and singing the Solfege syllables out loud is a very effective way to internalize the unique sound-feeling of each note in a musical scale. Reminder: It is absolutely essential that you sing these out loud… and to play and sing slowly enough to allow the unique sound-feeling of each solfege syllable to make an impression on your mind’s ear.

C Harmonic Minor Scale: Linear

Ascending…

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Descending…

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C Harmonic Minor Scale: Do-X-Do

Ascending…

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Descending…


Tip: Many other patterns are possible as well, but at this point your time is better spent going right to the kinds of music that YOU want to play for your study-practice material.

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