There are three types of minor scale: the natural minor scale , the harmonic minor scale and the melodic minor scale. Each minor scale has a different use and application in jazz piano and so learning how to construct and apply each one is a vital skill.
The natural minor scale is most likely the first minor scale that you will come across. Also known as the relative minor, it contains the exact same notes as the major scale that starts a minor 3rd above
The harmonic minor scale is the same as the natural minor scale but with a raised 7th degree. Raising the 7th degree by half a step gives the scale a much stronger harmonic foundation and allows you to create more interesting harmonic possibilities in minor keys. To build a minor 251 progression, you must use chords from the harmonic minor scale
Finally, the melodic minor is the same as the natural minor but with the 6th and 7th degrees raised. The raised 6th and 7th degrees removes any awkward intervals in the scale making it flow very smoothly. This makes the melodic minor scale particularly suited to melodic development. In classical music, the melodic minor scale has a raised 6th and 7th ascending and then a flat 6th and 7th descending. In jazz we ignore this approach and play the scale the same ascending and descending.
Be the first to find out about new lessons...
Leave us your email address below to get notified on the latest jazz piano lessons, learning resources and practice tips and tricks.