Let’s look at how to build an F minor scale on the piano. We’ll look at how to build both F natural minor and F harmonic minor scales.
What Are Minor Scales?
Minor scales are groups of eight notes, played in alphabetical order, starting and ending on the same note. They’re groups of notes used to write songs.
Songs written in the key of F minor used the notes of the F minor scale to write the song.
Three Types of Minor Scales
There are three types of minor scales:
- Natural minor
- Harmonic minor
- Melodic minor
Minor Scales Printable
This 39-page PDF will help you learn and visualize the notes for both natural minor and harmonic minor scales, laying a wonderful foundation for building chords!
Natural Minor Scales
Natural minor scales each have a relative major scale on the piano. This means these two scales use the same notes to build their scales, but start and end on different notes.
We can build a natural minor scale by starting on the sixth note of a major scale, and then playing through the notes of that scale.
Another way to build a natural minor scale is to use a pattern of half-steps and whole steps.
A half-step is the distance from one note to the very next, whether black or white.
A whole step is two half-steps.
So to build a natural minor scale, we can find our starting note, then play through this pattern of whole and half-steps:
W – H – W – W – H – W – W
How to Build an F Natural Minor Scale
To build an F natural minor scale, we can start on F and play through the notes of an A flat major scale, since these two scales are relatives (F is the sixth note of an A flat major scale).
Or we can start on F and find the note one whole step up, which is G. Then we can find the note one half-step up from G, which is A♭. Next we can find the note one whole step up from A♭, which is B♭. We can continue following our pattern of half-steps and whole steps until we reach the next F and the scale is complete.
What Are the Notes for an F Natural Minor Scale?
Here are the notes for an F natural minor scale:
F – G – A♭ – B♭ – C – D♭ – E♭ – F
Harmonic Minor Scales
Harmonic minor scales are similar to natural minor scales, except the seventh note has been raised 1/2 step.
These scales are popular because of the way the raised seventh note changes the sound of the music.
How to Build an F Harmonic Minor Scale
To build an F harmonic minor scale, we’ll start with an F natural minor scale. Then we’ll raise the seventh note, E♭, 1/2 step to E.
What Are the Notes for an F Harmonic Minor Scale?
Here are the notes for an F harmonic minor scale:
F – G – A♭ – B♭ – C – D♭ – E – F
Melodic Minor Scales
Melodic minor scales aren’t as common as the other two kinds, because they raise the sixth and seventh notes ascending (going up), and play the natural minor scale descending (going down).
Other Minor Scales
Here are all the minor scales:
A minor scale
E minor scale
B minor scale
F♯ minor scale
C♯ minor scale
G♯ minor scale
D♯ minor scale
A♯ minor scale
D minor scale
G minor scale
C minor scale
F minor scale
B♭ minor scale
E♭ minor scale
A♭ minor scale
Now you know how to build an F natural minor and F harmonic minor scale on the piano, and you can use that knowledge to build other kinds of minor scales.
Minor keys add a nice depth and contrast to major keys on the piano, and are lots of fun to use when playing creatively!