Natural Minor Scale Harmonization - Guitar Theory Lesson
- By jazz-guitar-licks
- On 2022-04-13
- 2 comments
This guitar theory lesson covers a very important topic that any musician must know : How To Harmonize The Natural Minor Scale? In other words, you will learn how to build triads and seventh chords starting on each note of the natural minor scale.
The minor scale is also referred to as the (Natural Minor Scale), which is actually the sixth mode of the diatonic major scale called Aeolian mode.
Let's learn how is built the natural minor scale. It is made of a tonic (1), major second (2), minor third (b3), perfect fourth (4), perfect fifth (5), minor sixth (b6) and minor seventh (b7).
The interval pattern is W (whole step) - H (half step) - W - W - H - W - W. Notice that a whole step is represented by two frets on the guitar, whereas a half step is one fret.
|C Minor Scale||C||D||Eb||F||G||Ab||Bb|
Natural Minor Scales In Twelve Keys
|Minor Scale||Notes||Minor Scale||Notes|
|C||C - D - Eb - F - G - Ab - Bb||F||F - G - Ab - Bb - C - Db - Eb|
|G||G - A - Bb - C - D - Eb - F||F#||F# - G# - A - B - C# - D - E - F#|
|D||D - E - F - G - A - Bb - C||Db||Db - Eb - Fb - Gb - Ab - Bbb - Cb - Db|
|A||A - B - C - D - E - F - G||Ab||Ab - Bb - Cb - Db - Eb - Fb - Gb|
|E||E - F# - G - A - B - C - D||Eb||Eb - F - Gb - Ab - Bb - Cb - Db|
|B||B - C# - D - E - F# - G - A||Bb||Bb - C - Db - Eb - F - Gb - Ab - Bb|
The natural minor scale is also considered as "relative minor" of the major scale, the chords of the natural minor scale are the same as those of the harmonized major scale.
The example below show the Eb major scale (Eb - F - G - Ab - Bb - C - D) and the relative C minor scale (C - D - Eb - F - G - Ab - Bb) starting on the degree 6 of Eb.
This chart show the relative minor scale of each major scale.
|Major Scale||Relative Minor||Number Of Sharps||Number Of Flats|
|D||Bm||2 (F# - C#)||---|
|A||F#m||3 (F# - C# - G#)||---|
|E||C#m||4 (F# - C# - G# - D#)||---|
|B||G#m||5 (F# - C# - G# - D# - A#)||7 (Bb - Eb - Ab - Db - Gb - Cb - Fb)|
|F#/Gb||Ebm/D#m||6 (F# - C# - G# - D# - A# - E#)||6 (Bb - Eb - Ab - Db - Gb - Cb)|
|Db/C#||Bbm||7 (F# - C# - G# - D# - A# - E#)||5 (Bb - Eb - Ab - Db - Gb)|
|Ab||Fm||---||4 (Bb - Eb - Ab - Db)|
|Eb||Cm||---||3 (Bb - Eb - Ab)|
|Bb||Gm||---||2 (Bb - Eb)|
Let's tackle the main subject of this lesson which is to harmonize the natural minor scale in thirds. The principle is simple, it is to stack thirds (major or minor) on each note of the minor scale. When stacking three thirds you get three types of triads : minor (1 - b3 - 5), major (1 - 3 - 5) and diminished (1 - b3 - b5).
As shown in the example belwo in C minor, you can see and hear that:
- The chord corresponding to the first degree is a minor triad (C - Eb - G)
- The second is a diminished triad (D - F - Ab).
- The third is major (Eb - G - Bb), the fourth is minor (F - Ab - C).
- The fifth is minor (G - Bb - D).
- The sixth is major (Ab - C - Eb).
- The seventh is major (Bb - D - F).
This works for all the natural minor scales, whatever the key.
Here below you see four example of the harmonized natural minor scale on guitar:
- The first exercise show how to play close position triads of the A minor scale on strings 1, 2 and 3.
- The second is the E minor scale in triads on strings 2, 3 and 4.
- The third is in the key of C minor with triads on strings 3, 4 and 5.
- The last one is in G minor with triad chords on strings 4, 5 and 6.
Try to reproduce them in all twelve keys anywhere on the guitar neck using close and open triads.
When adding a supplementary note on the top of the previosu triads, a third away from the highest note, you get four types of seventh chords that are :
- Major 7 (1 - 3 - 5 - 7) on degrees 3 and 6.
- Minor 7 (1 - b3 - 5 - b7) on degrees 1, 4 and 5.
- Diminished 7 (1 - b3 - b5 - b7) on degree 2.
- Dominant 7 (1 - 3 - 5 - b7) on degree 7.
The guitar tabs below show how to play the natural minor scale with seventh chords. The first exercise (in E minor) have root notes on D string, the second in C minor have roots on the A string and the last one (G minor) have roots on E string.
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