When i am practicing a major scale i then recognize it immediately on the piano. do you also know by heart how to immediately recognize a harmonic minor scale (which has more a dinstinct pattern) , and other important modes etc ... when playing freely on the piano? Because then it is a lot of scales to remember the patterns of them...

  • When i am practicing a scale i then recognize it immediately ... Sounds good. I just don't really get what your problem/question is about. Could you please edit the question and clarify? Thank you!
    – Arsak
    May 28 '18 at 6:20
  • do it completely by hearing, it'd be alot faster. look for apps that play a scale and you have to recognize them by listening.
    – user34288
    May 28 '18 at 16:01

Except it's not a lot of scales /modes to remember. There are 12 scales, and each has 7 modes associated. That could amount to 84 - except - the notes in each of the 7 modes are the same as those in the parent keys. So we're back to 12. Not so bad.

It doesn't make a lot of difference if we think major modes or modes of harmonic minor, as the modes are still made from the parent scale notes in each. The big difference is where the tune in centred, which in the early stages of recognition may cause some confusion. I often feel with modal pieces that there could be two centres. One being the parent key - which then gives a clue as to which mode, as the tune's centre will be different - unless, of course, it's in the Ionian mode. So, the same works for major modes, too.

  • Hi but harmonic minor is not one of the 7 modes and also melodic minor so i guess i am referring to them especially
    – LoveIsHere
    May 28 '18 at 6:33
  • From the wording, I thought you meant the modes of harmonic minor. However, learn the 12 harmonic minor scales, and it'll help. And bear in mind that the melodic rising is only one changed note from the harmonic, and descending is the same as the natural minor - which happens to be the Aeolian mode of the parent major...
    – Tim
    May 28 '18 at 6:59

I think the only way to visualize them best is by practice. You don't have to make effort to memorize every scale. The more you play different songs, or practice scales, it becomes more natural. And even if you don't know them all, it's not a big deal.

For example, if you asked me to play the harmonic minor of A#, I would have to think for a few seconds, because it's barely used. But in the case of G#, I see it immediately, because I have played a bunch of songs that use it.

The more you practice and play, the easier it becomes.


Sometimes a major scale (for example) will start mid-scale and then go up an octave. I have seen this in Classical music quite often. I don't identify it as a specific mode. It also informs my fingering. The same is true for harmonic (and melodic) minors.

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