I'm a musician who can try to learn everything byself. Thats why internet is my only way for searching . I checked F# Minor and F# harmonic Minor and their scales are same . Is it true?

I just wanted to ask because may be there is a mistake on webpage

  • 3
    Can you give a link to the webpage? – Bob Broadley Jul 31 '14 at 13:10
  • Just to clarify, the F# Minor can refer to any of the three minor scales of the accepted answer, so people need to say which one they are referring to – Shevliaskovic Feb 3 '15 at 7:45

F# minor isn't different from any other scale.

Natural minor: F# G# A B C# D E F#

That's your standard minor scale, with the same key signature as an A Major (which is of course F#'s relative major). f# natural minor

Harmonic minor: F# G# A B C# D E# F#

The natural minor with the 7th note raised by a half-step (the E becomes an E#, or a natural F).

f# harmonic minor

Melodic minor (going up): F# G# A B C# D# E# F#

The natural minor with the 6th and 7th notes raised by a half-step (D to D#, E to E#). Remember that the scale going down becomes a simple natural minor (D and E go back to their natural state).

f# melodic minor

I wrote the notes on the score without key signature so that you could see the accidentals on each note, but the key signature would be 3 sharps (F#, C# and G#).

In short, the natural minor and harmonic minor differ by that 7th note. This happens in all 12 minor scales.

  • Also note that "minor scale" can refer to any of these three scales, or (somewhat less commonly, at least in the classical world) to other minor scales (such as the Dorian scale). – Kyle Strand Jul 31 '14 at 20:32
  • @Alter Glad it could help! To accept the answer, click on the tick mark to the left of the answer. – LS97 Aug 2 '14 at 8:21

All of the minor scales - natural, harmonic and melodic - contain the same first 5 notes.Not talking about minor modes at all here. Those first 5 notes, in F#m are F# G# A B C#. Then it changes. In the natural minor, which contains all the notes from its relative major, A, it goes D E F#. In the harmonic minor, having a raised leading note, it goes D E# F#. Yes, you can play F instead of E#. And in the melodic minor, classical style, it ascends using D#E# F#. coming down, it's F# E D (just like F# natural min.) Jazzers tend to favour the one set of their melodic.


Short answer?
"Minor" and "Harmonic Minor" are NOT the same!

But again... this question is vague.

It's like asking if a Ford automobile is the same as a Ford car? Every car is an automobile... but not every automobile is a car. Trucks and buses are also automobiles. Just different kinds. And it makes no difference at all who makes them. (Well... at least not as far as their definitions are concerned.)

Similarly, scales (and chords, which are simultaneously-played subsets of scales) are just collections of intervals. In other words, they're just collections of -spaces- in between notes, relative to a given reference (aka 'tonic' for scales, 'root' for chords). If the collection of notes are spaced the same (relative to the reference note), then the scale and/or chord is the same kind... no matter what key they're in (The notes in chords may be in different orders. These are called inversions, and they can sound slightly different. But their names and definitions are the same (as long as all the notes, have basically the same relationship with the tonic/root/reference).

Now when someone refers to a scale just as a "minor" scale, it's assumed they mean the "Natural Minor" scale. (Because it's the 6th mode of the diatonic major scale, but no need to get into that now.) In addition to the mandatory flatted (or "minor") 3rd, it also has its 6th and 7th degrees flatted by a half-step as well.

But whether it is minor or major is only based on whether there's a note a step-and-a half up from the root, or if there is one, two whole steps up from the root, respectively. If the scale (or chord) has neither (or both) it is ambiguously-hard to say whether it's major of minor, although the nature can be suggested (and/or indirectly stated) by the kinds of 6ths and 7ths which may be present. (The 2nd, 4th and 5th generally serve other functions.)

As for the 'Harmonic' part:

Standard 'diatonic' scales are collections of notes with either "tones" (aka "whole-steps") or "semitones" (aka half steps") in-between them. All 7 modes of major scale are this way. (And the fact of these two types of standard-sized building-block intervals, is why such music is called "diatonic".) But some scales break this... guideline-like rule. For some scales have larger intervals between some of their member notes (aka degrees). With too many big ones, then fewer notes (than the standard 7) can fit in the scale. And when there are lots of small ones (like the chromatic scale) they can contain more.

But when one simply refers to just "the harmonic minor scale" (as this question did), of the many possibilities, it's generally understood to mean the slight modification to the pattern of intervals of the natural minor scale (aka Aeolian mode of the Major scale), where the normally-flatted 7th is left major. In other words, 1,2,♭3,4,5,♭6,7 instead of the 1,2,♭3,4,5,♭6,♭7 of the natural minor. (Or instead of the A,B,C,D,E,F,G of A minor, the A Harmonic Minor scale is A,B,C,D,E,F,G♯)

The normal flatted 6th, next to the unusual (for minor) major 7th, creates an unusually large 1 1/2 semitone interval (in the second half of the scale, aka 2nd tetrachord). And that's why it's called harmonic. Not necessarily "harmonic minor" mind-you! Just harmonic. For once again, if the 3rd is major... then it'll be a called (some sort of) harmonic major scale. And there are scales that also have a larger-than-normal interval in the 1st half of the scale (ie: in both tetrachords), which are therefore called "Double-Harmonic" scales... again, either major or minor, depending exclusively on the type of third they have.


No. Not necessarily.

In diatonic music, the third always determines whether something is major or minor. Always! For example, if you see a stick on the ground, and it has a major 3rd, it's a major stick. If the grasshopper sitting on it, has a third leg that's short... it's a minor grasshopper.

Here's a bit more musical example:
The Locrian mode (which has the kitchen sink, and everything else flattened on it that you can flatten, except for the 4th) is a minor scale/mode. Why? Because it has a flat 3rd. That's all.

Now... go and flatten that 4th (into what some would call 'Super-Locrian')... and now it acts like a major scale!
Yep. That diminished 4th now acts like a major 3rd, and that flat 7th still is a dominant (rather than a diminished 7th, in support of the diminished 5th) and you have a major (although "altered dominant") situation. (1, ♭2, ♭3, 3, ♭5, ♭6, ♭7). In response to which, a Jazz type is likely to smish-it into a "Dominant-Flat-5, minor 6, minor 9" chord!!! Because (I think for a drink!?!)... they're just crazy enough to do it!

  • "That diminished 4th now acts like a major 3rd" -- that depends on how you use the notes of the scale. – ex nihilo Apr 17 '20 at 20:04
  • Yes! Very true. It all depends on context. Dom7 vs M7, M3 vs Dim4, Altered Dom vs Super Locrian, 4+ vs TT, Majorly-bright vs Darkly-Diminished-ly-wrong! :D Ah! The wonderful/amazing/miraculous psycho-acoustics of music!!! – user68739 Apr 18 '20 at 1:58
  • Perhaps I should've said "it now can act as..." or "it can composition-ally function as...". Sorry for my lack of clarity. Thank you for pointing this out. – user68739 Apr 18 '20 at 2:09

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