Composing with Minor Scales (Music Theory Lesson)

Composing with Minor Scales (Music Theory Lesson)

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Unlike the major scale, three different minor scales exist.

Composers will often merge two of these scales, natural minor and harmonic minor, for a more pleasing sound.

Recall the diatonic triads of both scales.

Notice that many of the triads are the same.

Three pairs of triads (III--III+, v--V, and VII--viio) are different due to harmonic minor's raised seventh degree.

III is prefered to III+. This is because III+, being an augmented chord, has a peculiar sound.

V is preferred to v since V contains a leading tone (and therefore is stronger). This does not mean that v cannot be used.

VII and viio are both used equally. As you will later learn, each has a different function.

The merged minor scale contains nine different diatonic triads.

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