Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#1993247 - 12/01/12 03:00 PM is there a use of learning natural minor scales?
Mohannad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/12
Posts: 79
Is there a use of learning to play natural minor scales or should I only learn the melodic and harmonic ones?

Top
(ads P/S)

Sauter Pianos

#1993429 - 12/01/12 10:53 PM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: Mohannad]
Brian Lucas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 951
I think so. Once you know all your major and natural minor scales, knowing your melodic and harmonic minors (and eventually modes) is simply a matter of knowing which scale notes you need to alter.
_________________________
-Brian
BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 21+ year teacher and touring musician
My Downloadable Video Piano Lessons
My Sight Reading eBook
My Music

Top
#1993489 - 12/02/12 01:59 AM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: Mohannad]
JamesPlaysPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 118
Originally Posted By: Mohannad
Is there a use of learning to play natural minor scales or should I only learn the melodic and harmonic ones?



Sorry if this is not something you're interested in, but since there's no context given, I'll throw this out for whatever it's worth: if we happen to be talking specifically about using the scale as a tool for improvisation/composition, I'd mention that, when you're on a minor chord which is functioning as a vi chord in a major key, the natural minor is often your best bet, since it is "most diatonic." Granted, you may not always want to BE "most diatonic," but when/if you do, you'll want to know what to use.

Over a minor chord that is functioning as a i chord in a minor key, natural minor is also a solid choice. But in that context and even over the vi in a major key, melodic and harmonic are certainly useful, too.

James
_________________________
Facebook groups: Jazz Piano ChatBlues Piano ChatPop Piano Chat
Learn to play on YouTube: The Pretty Pop Piano Thingy

Top
#1993569 - 12/02/12 09:32 AM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: Mohannad]
Mohannad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/12
Posts: 79
I am self teaching my self to play, still a beginner, and I want to do both classical and pop and improv,
I want to meet the requirements of the ABSRM exams even though I am NOT doing them, I just want them to measure my progress in classical, and the requirements for minor scales are that you know both the melodic and harmonic scales.
I'm thinking waay ahead of my self, right now I can play all my major scales, two hands one octave, and I still have a lot to work on evenness of tone.

The reason I'm asking is because the exam requirements say melodic and harmonic and only for the lower grades where you have a choice, you can play the natural.

Top
#1993600 - 12/02/12 10:30 AM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: Mohannad]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2310
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Any major scale is the natural minor for the sub-mediant. All you need do is start it on the sixth step. You MIGHT want to change fingering but then again, you might not.

The melodic minor is the natural minor on the way down.

Other than a possible change of fingering from the major scale I see no added benefit of practising the natural minor if you're already doing the melodic and the relative major.
_________________________
Richard

Top
#1993621 - 12/02/12 11:41 AM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: zrtf90]
Brian Lucas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 951
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Any major scale is the natural minor for the sub-mediant. All you need do is start it on the sixth step. You MIGHT want to change fingering but then again, you might not.
I normally agree with you 100% Richard, and for a technical exercise, I still do. But when it comes to playing or improvising in a minor key, it's more beneficial to think of the minor 1 as your tonic instead of the 6 of the relative major. Even in an easy key like A minor, sure you could just play in C, but altering to the harmonic and melodic minor scales seems a little harder to me that way. If you know the scale as A minor, for both the altered scales, you're simply borrowing some notes from the parallel A major scale. Easier to see IMHO. Works for modes too. You could say that C lydian is like playing a G scale starting on the 4, but I think it's easier to see it as a C scale with a raised fourth. Relative is a good way to learn scales academically, but I think for practicality, parallel works better.

Guess we're bound to disagree on a few things here and there. smile
_________________________
-Brian
BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 21+ year teacher and touring musician
My Downloadable Video Piano Lessons
My Sight Reading eBook
My Music

Top
#1993622 - 12/02/12 11:47 AM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: Mohannad]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2310
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
No disagreement, Brian. smile

I missed the mention of improv and consequently it's implications.

We can always find something else to disagree on! wink
_________________________
Richard

Top
#1993628 - 12/02/12 12:06 PM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: Brian Lucas]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11586
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Brian Lucas
. But when it comes to playing or improvising in a minor key, it's more beneficial to think of the minor 1 as your tonic instead of the 6 of the relative major. Even in an easy key like A minor, sure you could just play in C, but altering to the harmonic and melodic minor scales seems a little harder to me that way. If you know the scale as A minor, for both the altered scales, you're simply borrowing some notes from the parallel A major scale. Easier to see IMHO. Works for modes too. You could say that C lydian is like playing a G scale starting on the 4, but I think it's easier to see it as a C scale with a raised fourth.

Brian, I ran into exactly that. I spent decades with only one thing which I had learned in some primary school grade: singing solfege. The natural minor scale went La to La. When I finally did music theory, the section on modes was a piece of cake: as per your C Lydian example. We learned two methods: "C Lydian - C is 4 of what scale - G major": giving what you outline, and "Lydian is like a major scale with a raised 4th". I found the first easier, and used it to help me figure out the second. As you say, academically it's easy. I aced the exam. Practically it's basically useless.

The problem with orienting along degrees (tonic, supertonic, mediant, submediant etc.) is that a lot of music isn't that black and white along degrees. It became a handicap. At this point I have the degree-functional thing on a back burner to take out as a handy device when needed, but I want what I know to be much more fluid and flexible.

Top
#1993958 - 12/03/12 02:10 AM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: Brian Lucas]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 500
Originally Posted By: Brian Lucas
I normally agree with you 100% Richard, and for a technical exercise, I still do. But when it comes to playing or improvising in a minor key, it's more beneficial to think of the minor 1 as your tonic instead of the 6 of the relative major. Even in an easy key like A minor, sure you could just play in C, but altering to the harmonic and melodic minor scales seems a little harder to me that way. If you know the scale as A minor, for both the altered scales, you're simply borrowing some notes from the parallel A major scale. Easier to see IMHO. Works for modes too. You could say that C lydian is like playing a G scale starting on the 4, but I think it's easier to see it as a C scale with a raised fourth. Relative is a good way to learn scales academically, but I think for practicality, parallel works better.

Guess we're bound to disagree on a few things here and there. smile

I completely did not understand this thread until this post. This was extremely illuminating since it brought the discussion around from something totally abstract to the concrete. Thanks.
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

Top
#1993976 - 12/03/12 04:05 AM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: aTallGuyNH]
Brian Lucas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 951
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
We can always find something else to disagree on! wink
I accept your challenge good sir! smile

Originally Posted By: keystring
Brian, I ran into exactly that. I spent decades with only one thing which I had learned in some primary school grade: singing solfege. The natural minor scale went La to La.
Yes, here in Nashville we use the "Nashville Number System" which is really just modern roman numerals. When you come across a minor song, some people write it as 6m, which drives me crazy. The song usually has at least one dominant/harmonic minor cadence which often brings up the odd chord 3/#5. Tell me that doesn't throw your brain off. Now if it was 1m and 5/7, that would make WAY more sense. Parallel shows context. Relative doesn't.

Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
I completely did not understand this thread until this post. This was extremely illuminating since it brought the discussion around from something totally abstract to the concrete. Thanks.
The word illuminating isn't usually connected with me, but I'll take it. wink Happy to attempt to clarify the issue.
_________________________
-Brian
BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 21+ year teacher and touring musician
My Downloadable Video Piano Lessons
My Sight Reading eBook
My Music

Top
#1993999 - 12/03/12 06:45 AM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: Mohannad]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
"is there a use of learning natural minor scales?"

Yes. Having the scales under your hands, so that your fingers "know" what to do without your brain figuring out each note, is greatly beneficial to a player in many circumstances. I congratulate you, Mohannad, for taking up this study on your own, without waiting for a piano teacher to beat you with a yardstick.

"...The melodic minor is the natural minor on the way down...."

Now, isn't that nice? If you learn the major scales, along with their relative minors, you will find that you already know the natural minor without having to take up this study separately. They sneak it in. This is the way they are given in the Hanon Book (though I suggest you play all the scales ALL the way up and down the keyboard, and not just the few octaves in the middle).

Then again, for variety, it can be nice to play the scales in their alphabetic order sometimes, majors and then minors of the same letter name.

While you're on the scales, don't forget the arpeggios. So what if you have to take the books apart and do things in a different order--- or even write them out yourself, on score paper. These essential playing skills will serve you all your life, until the very last time you touch a piano keyboard.

PS- No cheating on the fingering--- at least, not while you're learning them.
_________________________
Clef


Top
#1994014 - 12/03/12 07:33 AM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: Mohannad]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2375
Loc: Virginia, USA
No point. Just learn each major scale starting on it's sixth too.

wink wink wink

(Those who have a rudimentary idea of music theory will get that.)
_________________________
  • Liszt - Liebesträume No. 3, S541
  • Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K. 213

Kawai K3

Top
#1994072 - 12/03/12 10:54 AM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: Brian Lucas]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11586
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Brian Lucas
Yes, here in Nashville we use the "Nashville Number System" which is really just modern roman numerals. When you come across a minor song, some people write it as 6m, which drives me crazy. The song usually has at least one dominant/harmonic minor cadence which often brings up the odd chord 3/#5. Tell me that doesn't throw your brain off. Now if it was 1m and 5/7, that would make WAY more sense. Parallel shows context. Relative doesn't.

I've read about the NNS and I understand it intellectually. Since I have movable Do embedded since I was a small child I relate it to that and wouldn't need the numbers were I going that route - but I get what it's about. I've given it a strong push to move OUT of that mentality and have managed a kind of mind shift. Here is what was happening when I delved into it.

Essentially I was thinking in the "modal" manner of the Renaissance period. I.e. if something was in G major, then G was Do, and if it was in E minor, G was still Do and E was La. It was like I was in this "master key of G is the Do-ness" that sometimes slides from La to La, and sometimes slides from Do to Do and that Do was still there even when I was in minor. What was the Dominant of of a minor key? Mi! But Mi does not have a dominant feel. Actually I felt it as an "altered Mi" since I'd sing a semitone to get up to it (i.e. in E minor, B7 is the V7, and you raise the D to D# - which as a singer I felt as this alteration). At the same time, in E minor, I still was very aware of D7 as the Dominant of the relative major. I still very strongly felt the Dominant of the relative major being Sol. Essentially I was living in both keys: E minor and G major. This was no problem while I was singing "regular" simple music - wasn't even aware of it. It was already a problem with Brahms and Mozart though, because I had to start going to straight intervals (P4 etc.). Do Mi So no longer worked during modulations.

Then I started the traditional harmony theory. I should mention that I was not going to the keyboard - I was hearing in my head using Solfege. As soon as music was in a minor key I was greatly slowed down, and it all stopped being automatic. The reason was this "Mi" thing, because the syllable "Sol" had a strong Dominant feeling for me, which "altered Mi" didn't.

I remember reading a comment by Piston saying that movable Do solfege causes people to learn and advance very fast in the beginning, but in advanced music it becomes a handicap. Sounds like what any crutch will do. And I fell into it.

If this sounds like it's going off track --- The movable Do system gave a strong sense of functional harmony in the Common Practice era -- that's how it relates.


Top
#1994078 - 12/03/12 11:05 AM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: Jeff Clef]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11586
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef

"...The melodic minor is the natural minor on the way down...."

That's what I learned, and how I played scales in violin lessons. But when I went to teach scales I was told all these names are artificial and music doesn't really go that way. The part that is constant are the first 5 notes up to the Dominant and then it alters.

And now my friend, the melodic minor, is up for question too. I'm being shown time and again how music that ascends as the traditional melodic minor does not necessarily descend as the natural minor the way we've been taught. It may still be useful to learn to play scales that way (because??), but apparently that's not what music does.

Top
#1994170 - 12/03/12 02:12 PM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: keystring]
Brian Lucas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 951
Originally Posted By: keystring
What was the Dominant of of a minor key? Mi! But Mi does not have a dominant feel. Actually I felt it as an "altered Mi" since I'd sing a semitone to get up to it (i.e. in E minor, B7 is the V7, and you raise the D to D# - which as a singer I felt as this alteration). At the same time, in E minor, I still was very aware of D7 as the Dominant of the relative major.
Yes, they do that to make it easier, but when you introduce your ear to the mix, I think it's more confusing. So yes, the dominant root is on MI, but the altered note in the relative major is SOL, which would be SI (In A minor, G to G#). So wait, there's no SOL in the dominant chord? wink

For me, the word DO implies tonality, and home base. In college, learning solfeg, the minor was DO RE ME FA SOL LE TE DO, taking into account the flatted third, sixth and seventh. In this case, the dominant would be SOL (makes sense) and the altered note would be TE going back to TI (again, makes total sense to me). I used solfeg in college mainly for sight singing, where you don't have a key to press and are relying only on what you hear in your head. Singing LA and hearing it as DO in my head, and then singing DO, but not feeling like it's home base, just messes things up.
_________________________
-Brian
BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 21+ year teacher and touring musician
My Downloadable Video Piano Lessons
My Sight Reading eBook
My Music

Top
#1994192 - 12/03/12 03:26 PM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: Mohannad]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3156
Loc: Maine
Practicing natural minor scales gets the sound of natural minor into your head, which is to me a useful thing to know. Music may not always proceed in lockstep with the three named minor scales, but surely music sometimes uses parts of these scales. And there are other benefits to learning scales aside from just knowing fingering.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

Top
#1994232 - 12/03/12 05:00 PM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: Jeff Clef]
Mohannad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/12
Posts: 79
That is what I am doing, I learned all the majors, two hands one octave, now I will learn all the minors, but I am learning them all in one octave and after I finish them all I will start learning to play them on multiple octaves because when you add another octave, bridging the two octaves becomes confusing. I am self teaching my self so I don't have a teacher at the moment, I look through exam requirements to know what I should be working on even though I'm not doing exams. Anyways, is this an acceptable way to learn scales, because I find it already confusing to get the fingering for the individual octave correct, so I am just learning one octave scales. I learned to play c major on multiple octaves but it some time to stop the confusion of tucking in my thumb behind three or four fingers.

Is what I'm doing okay, or should I initially learn to play the scale on multiple octaves?

as for arpeggios, I do plan on working on them soon.

Top
#1994276 - 12/03/12 06:54 PM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: Mohannad]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2310
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
If you're working for exams start with C, G and F majors.

If you're not bothering with exams start with B major, two octaves. It's the easiest mechanically. Chopin taught B major first. Start at two to four seconds per note when you begin playing hands together. Work back through to C via E, A, D and G adding a new key only when you've nailed the current one and not sooner than one key a week. Continue through the flat keys to G flat (easy scale but looks scary). Start on minors when you're having no problems with majors.

Scales are about training the ears not the hands. Listen real hard for any uneveness in time or tone. When you hear it your brain will adjust for it subconsciously, creating the illusion of equally balanced fingers.

Do broken chords before arpeggios. Don't rush into them. You want well drilled fingers (and ears) before you start arpeggios.
_________________________
Richard

Top
#1994335 - 12/03/12 08:33 PM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: zrtf90]
Mohannad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/12
Posts: 79
Just one question, what is the difference between a broken chord and an arpeggio? give me some examples of how they are to be played

When I play C E G C E G C G E C G E C, what is that?

Top
#1994432 - 12/04/12 02:08 AM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: Mohannad]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: Mohannad
Just one question, what is the difference between a broken chord and an arpeggio? give me some examples of how they are to be played

When I play C E G C E G C G E C G E C, what is that?


An arpeggio is a broken chord. In the key of C major, a C arpeggio is simply a c chord (C E G, repeat up an octave) arpeggiated, or played in a broken fashion. See this video for a tutorial:



edit: keep in mind a C major arpeggio could also be E G C, repeat, and G C E, repeat, but just in first and second inversions, respectively (know these exist, but worry about them after root position arpeggios). Also know the fingering follows distinct patterns (free scales book with fingerings of everything here: http://petrucci.mus.auth.gr/imglnks/usim...d_Arpeggios.pdf)


Edited by Bobpickle (12/04/12 02:11 AM)

Top
#1994481 - 12/04/12 05:50 AM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: Mohannad]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2310
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
This is more along the lines I was thinking. Getting the fingers used to the wider spacing before turning under the thumb.

This is what the ABRSM refers to as broken chords as opposed to arpeggios and uses them for the earlier grade exams.

There may be change to the language as it travels the Atlantic Ocean.

_________________________
Richard

Top
#1994683 - 12/04/12 03:07 PM Re: is there a use of learning natural minor scales? [Re: Mohannad]
Mohannad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/12
Posts: 79
So in the exam syllabus, arpeggios are broken chords played across octaves and broken chords is used to refer to broken inversions of the chords. Got it.

Top

Moderator:  BB Player, casinitaly 
What's Hot!!
Our latest Issue is available now...
Piano News - Interesting & Fun Piano Related Newsletter! (free)
-------------------
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
145 registered (ajames, ando, AndresD, AmateurBob, 39 invisible), 1841 Guests and 16 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
75599 Members
42 Forums
156310 Topics
2295670 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Another reason to love the MP11
by Markarian
07/31/14 03:57 PM
Digital Piano for a Musical
by well23
07/31/14 03:39 PM
Carrying Bah for Rokit 6 G3 monitors?
by Mta88
07/31/14 03:39 PM
Supplemental instruction?
by TwoSnowflakes
07/31/14 03:15 PM
Mason & Hamlin BB with Live Performance
by eugene_bb
07/31/14 12:50 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission