How to learn the minor scales faster

The study of scales is a fundamental part of all piano training. It is the daily practice that helps us to improve our technique and makes us better performers. That’s why all piano tutors destine a part of the lesson to supervise them, not only to see if the notes are correct, or the fingering is right, but to be sure that we advance in our technical work.

The other part of learning the scales is their memorization; this can be challenging. But if we understand their formula, their study will mature in time.

Let’s start with the number of minor scales.

They are three in total: the natural minor, the harmonic minor and the melodic minor.

The natural minor is the basic one, and from that one, the rest are modifications of it. The natural minor is the relative of the Major scale. They relate to each other as they both share the same notes, just the tonic note (the first note) changes. 

How to find the relative minor?

Just move from the mayor tonic key a minor third (three semitones) down, and you will have the tonic of your minor scale; This is a note-permutation of the mayor. Their formula in tones and semitones is T-ST-T-T-ST-T-T

From that scale, we have the Harmonic. This scale raises the seventh note by one semitone. You will notice a particular “eastern” sound in it. 

Finally, we have the melodic scale explicitly created to “sort out” the melodic issue that the harmonic has, taking out the “eastern” flavour. 

The minor melodic raises two notes: the sixth and the seventh notes, but just when you play it in an ascending motion. When descending, you play the natural minor scale.

Knowing this will allow you to find your way into the minor scale world rapidly and effectively!