Minor Scale

One of the most efficient ways to memorize scales and play them on the guitar is using box patterns. These are ways of 'mapping' the scale across the guitar fretboard, creating fixed shapes that can be transposed to play the scale in a different key. They are particularly helpful for improvisation, and once they are memorized, they serve as an excellent aid to understand the visual and auditory relationships between intervals. Select a root note to see a list of box patterns for the minor scale:







The minor scale is one the most used scales in western music. The term minor scale is quite broad, as it may encompass different variations of what we know as the natural minor scale, or Aeolian scale (as it corresponds to the Aeolian mode according to the modern system of modes). This scale features the intervallic pattern: WHWWHWW (with W meaning whole tone and H meaning half-tone), which corresponds to all the white keys of the piano when played from any A to its octave. If a minor scale and a major scale share a key signature, they are relative keys. Basically, a minor scale has the same notes as its relative major, just starting a sixth above (or a third below).

The harmonic and melodic versions of the minor scale arose as variations on the natural scale, the first to create a leading note for harmonic purposes, and the second to compensate the dissonant interval this new leading tone creating in the melodic runs of the scale.

In a broader sense, the name minor is used for any scale that features a minor third, whether it be the Dorian or Phrygian mode.