Let’s look at how to build an F sharp minor scale on the piano. We’ll look at how to build both F sharp natural minor and F sharp 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 sharp minor used the notes of the F sharp minor scale to write the song.
Three Types of Minor Scales
There are three types of minor scales:
- Natural minor
- Harmonic minor
- Melodic minor
Natural Minor Scales
Natural minor scales each have a relative major scale on the piano. This means these two scales use the same notes, but start and end on different notes.
We can build a natural minor scale by starting on the sixth note of a major scale, then playing through the notes of that major scale to build a natural minor 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.
To build a natural minor scale, we can find our starting note, then play through this pattern of half-steps and whole steps:
W – H – W – W – H – W – W
How to Build an F Sharp Natural Minor Scale
To build an F sharp natural minor scale, we can start on F♯, then play through the notes of the A major scale until we reach the next F♯. F sharp natural minor and A major are relatives, so they use the same notes.
Or we can start on F♯ and play the note one whole step up, G♯. Then we can play the note 1/2 step up, A. Then we can play the note one whole step up, B. We can continue following our pattern of half and whole steps until we reach the next F♯.
What Are the Notes for an F Sharp Natural Minor Scale?
Here are the notes for F sharp natural minor:
F♯ – G♯ – A – B – C♯ – D – E – F♯
Labeling the Notes
You may wonder why the black keys are labeled F♯, G♯ and C♯, instead of G♭, A♭ and D♭ (sharp indicates the note one half-step up, flat indicates the note one half-step down).
The reason is because scales progress in alphabetical order. Since this is an F sharp minor scale, the second note will be some sort of G, the third note will be some sort of A, and so on.
Harmonic Minor Scales
Harmonic minor scales are similar to natural minor scales, but 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 Sharp Harmonic Minor Scale
To build an F sharp harmonic minor scale, we can start with an F sharp natural minor scale, then raise the seventh note 1/2 step. So instead of playing an E, we’ll play an E♯ (same note as an F).
The reason we call it E♯ and not F is because scales must progress in alphabetical order. Since the note prior to the E♯ is a D, the note following D must be some sort of E.
What Are the Notes for an F Sharp Harmonic Minor Scale?
Here are the notes for an F sharp harmonic minor scale:
F♯ – G♯ – A – B – C♯ – D – E♯ – F♯
Melodic Minor Scales
Melodic minor scales aren’t as popular as natural and harmonic minor, because they raise the sixth and seventh notes 1/2 step 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 F sharp minor scales, and you can use these patterns to build other minor scales!
Minor keys are enjoyable to play, and work well for music that’s more reflective and introspective.