If you find this site helpful please click "like" here...
Music Theory Scales and
E Minor Scale
Music Theory Scales and E Minor Scale is part 29
in a 31 part series on musical notation and basic music theory
. E minor is the relative minor
scale to the G major scale.
Again, the relative minor scale in any key is taking the major scale and starting on the 6th scale degree or "la" and going up a full octave.
In this case it is E to E. To review the minor scale pattern of WHWWHWW, see A minor scale
This scale is also called the Natural Minor Scale
. Often when someone says a particular song is in some kind of minor key they are referring to this natural minor scale. In addition, it is called the Aeolian scale
.MUSIC THEORY SCALES AND E MINOR SCALE PART 29
Again, see A minor scale
for a full review on the scale modes.
The piano below
shows the E natural minor (or aeolian) scale. Notice that just like the key of G major, the only different note from the key of C (or A minor) is the F#. The pattern WHWWHWW forces F# into the scale.
The notes below on the treble staff are E F# G A B C D. I have included
guitar tablature as well if you're more comfortable with that.
In Solfege this scale is: Do Re Me Fa Sol Le Te (Do)
G major and E natural minor share the same notes, this is why E minor
guitar solos fit nicely in the key of G. As a matter of fact, many
soloists will solo using the relative minor (or natural minor) scale of
the major key the song is in.
Two other music theory scales need to be mentioned. The first is the harmonic minor scale.
This scale has an Eastern European or Egyptian sound to it. Below is
an E harmonic minor scale. The notes are E F# G A B C D#.
The notes are the same as E natural minor except for the 7th degree
which has been raised by a half step (semitone). The reason this scale
was created was so that there could be a major V (five chord) in minor
so that it could resolve to the I (one chord).
In natural minor
the V chord is minor and when this chord goes to the I chord it doesn't
have the resolution that a major V chord has when it resolves to the I
Remember, major chords have major 3rds and minor chords
have minor 3rds. In this case the 5th note of an E scale is B. Since
the chord built on B is a minor scale, the notes would be B, D, F (1, 3,
5). By raising the 7th degree D to a D#, we turn this into a major
chord. I will explain more about chords in part 30 The Circle of Fifths.
The Melodic Minor Scale
was also created for the same reason as above however, composers didn't like that Egyptian or Eastern European sound that is created between the 6th and 7th degrees of the harmonic minor scale. So, yet a another scale was created.
In the melodic minor scale you play a natural minor scale when you ascend
or go up, but you raise the 6th and 7th degrees. It's like the Do Re Mi scale except you lower the the 3rd degree by one half step.
In solfege it would be: Do Re Me
Fa Sol La Ti (Do)
When you descend
or go down it's the same as the natural minor scale.
In solfege it would be: Do Te Le
Sol Fa Me
Below we are seeing two octaves ascending and two octaves descending in E melodic minor.
For a complete list of all notes in all keys of all music theory scales, visit
Ok, let's look at the Circle of Fifths and build some chords in G Major!
Continue to Part 30, Circle of Fifths and G Major Chords
Go Back to Songwriting Unlimited Home Page
Return to Top of Music Theory Scales and E Minor Scale
Return to Musical Notation and Basic Music Theory