I'm learning guitar and have been practicing transitions between chords using notes in common for the key/scale.

One lesson starts with A minor for one measure and then transitions to D minor by playing the individual notes A A B C, and then the D minor for one measure. Going back to A minor uses D D C B and then the A minor chord for one measure, then to E minor with A A G F. Something like this:

Amin | A A B C | D Dmin | D D C B | A Amin | A A G F | E Emin | E E F G | A Amin |

While practicing, I really don't like the sound of the F in the transition between Amin and Emin, and started playing F# instead of F. I really like this sound, but I cannot find what it is. To my ears, it sounds much more appealing and I would think this has a name, but I cannot seem to find anything. Of course, it could just be an F# in my A minor progression.

2 Answers 2


Playing with F is the a- aeolian scale.

Playing with F♯ is a dorian

It seems you feel more “at home” in the dorian scale.

  • Yes, Dorian sounds much better to my ear for some reason. I also realized that this is a flat 5 of the relative major, Cmaj. Music theory is so fascinating!
    – KirkD-CO
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 4:38
  • @KirkD-CO - some would say it's not the b5 of C. It's the #4. The b5 would have to be called Gb. Same note, same sound, different name. Theory!
    – Tim
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 6:39
  • @Tim - I have so much to learn! Thanks for the comment and answer.
    – KirkD-CO
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 12:37

The 'key* of A minor contains more than the usual 7 notes found in usual scales. When people write in Am, they use notes A, B, C, D, E, F, F♯, G, G♯.

Those extra notes show themselves in different minor scales and modes. The two Fs and two Gs are options which lend themselves to different situations, and are indeed options. Choose which you prefer. You might even like using G♯ instead of G to get back to Am. It is used very often.

Things to check out:

Natural minor

Harmonic minor

Melodic minor

Dorian mode

Phrygian mode.

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