1

I've heard throughout several forums online that playing a major scale on a minor song doesn't work, yet playing a minor scale on a major song DOES work. Perhaps I misunderstood but that's as much as I could get from what I read.

If this is the case, that a major scale doesn't work on a minor song, why is that if it works the other way around?

1

Often it doesn't work if you play a minor scale over a major song. What they probably mean is the blues. In a standard blues you have dominant seventh chords, and they contain a major third (and a minor seventh). The appropriate chord scale over these chords is the mixolydian scale, which is simply a major scale with a lowered seventh scale degree. However, since it's a blues you can also use the blues scale, which is just a minor pentatonic scale with an added #4/b5. So in the blues you can usually mix major and minor sounds, and this is what makes the bluesy sound.

As an example, take a C7 chord:

C - E - G - Bb

The corresponding mixolydian scale is

C - D - E - F - G - A - Bb

and the blues scale is

C - Eb - F - F# - G - Bb

As you can see, the blues scale adds the note Eb, which is a minor third up from the root C, even though the chord actually contains the major third. In this sense, you mix minor and major. However, this only works if a bluesy sound is desired and appropriate, it won't work so well over "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" ...

  • thanks for your response, though I'm still somewhat confused. You go deep as to why IT WORKS, but not so much as why it doesn't. – reddish Nov 4 '16 at 17:14
  • @reddish: Well, by default, it doesn't work to play wrong notes, such as play in a major scale if the song is in minor or the other way round. There are just special situations (such as the blues), where this can work to give a certain sound. So since it's understood that playing the wrong notes normally doesn't work, I took more effort to explain why it can work in certain special situations. I hope this clarifies my answer a bit. – Matt L. Nov 4 '16 at 17:22
0

I'm no specialist, so I can't add a proper argumentation, but I know a Youtube channel where the author switches popular songs from major to minor, and from minor to major. In some cases, the results are surprisingly good !

The Youtube channel link : majorVSMinor.

For a minor song converted to a major one, see for example The happy Godfather.

-1

A minor 3rd over a major chord is pleasantly 'blues'. Like the 'Hendrix chord' which is a dominant 7th shape with a minor 10th on top (though you'll get told off if you don't call it a +9 :-) A major 3rd (10th) on top of a minor chord just sounds wrong.

  • This answer is probably being downvoted because it's written in a way such that someone who is able to understand it probably already has an answer to OP's question, and vice versa. I actually think the "substance" of this answer is better than any of the others given so far, but it's presented in such a way that it's inaccessible to someone who might actually find it useful. If I was you I would re-phrase it a little with your target audience in mind. – Some_Guy Nov 7 '16 at 14:15
  • Want to do it for me? I'm not that worried about downvotes really :-) – Laurence Payne Nov 8 '16 at 0:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.