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Lesson 19: Minor Scale Harmonization




In this lesson you will not learn any new chords or new scale fingerings, but rather how to take what you have learned of major tonality and apply it to the minor keys.

This is done through an association known as Relative Keys.

Relative Keys


The term relative minor refers to the minor key that shares the same key signature of a particular major key. For example, the key of A minor is the relative minor of the key of C major, both keys have the same key signature: no or . This is a two way street, for the key of C major is the relative major key of A minor.



How to locate the Relative Keys:


To find the relative minor of a major key is easy. Simply go down a minor 3rd. To find the relative major of a minor key, do just the opposite: go up a minor 3rd.


Examples:

Original Key
Thinking Process
Relative
C major
go down a minor 3rd
A minor
G major
go down a minor 3rd
E minor
B major
go down a minor 3rd
G minor
C minor
go up a minor 3rd
E major
D minor
go up a minor 3rd
F major
F minor
go up a minor 3rd
A major








Exercise #1:

Find the relative minor key of the given major key. I've done the first three as an example.



C major - A minor

F major - D minor

B major - G minor

E major

A major

D major

C major

G major

F major

B major

E major

A major

D major

G major



Exercise #2:

Find the relative major key of the given minor key. Again, I've done the first three as an example.


C minor - E major

F minor - A major

Bb minor - D major

E minor

A minor

D minor

C minor

G minor

F minor

B minor

E minor

A minor

D minor

G minor









Chord Progression of the Minor Keys



OK, now you know about relative keys. But wait, here is the good news! Not only do these relative keys share the same key signature, they also share the same scales and chords. The only difference is the beginning and ending points of the keys.


Example: Below are the chords of C major and A minor. Note that both keys use the same chords in the same order, but they just start in a different place. The key of C major starts on C and A minor starts on A (this makes sense).


C major = Cmaj7 Dm7 Em7 Fmaj7 G7 Am7 BŻ

A minor = Am7 BŻ Cmaj7 Dm7 Em7 Fmaj7 G7


Below are the actual type of chords found in the minor keys as well as the quality of that chord and the chord that it relates to in the relative major key.


Minor Chord Symbol
Quality of the Chord
Chord in the Relative Major Key
i7
minor 7th
vi7
iiŻ
half-diminished
viiŻ
III7
major 7th
I7
iv7
minor 7th
ii7
v7
minor 7th
iii7
VI7
major 7th
iv7
VII7
dominant 7th
V7



Exercise #3:

Write out the chord progressions for the following minor keys. I've done the first one as an example.


D minor = Dm7 - EŻ - Fmaj7 - Gm7 - Am7 - Bbmaj7 - C7

G minor

C minor

F minor

B minor

E minor

A minor

C minor

F minor

B minor

E minor













Copyright 2001 T.A. Vieira, Jr.
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