dansm's guitar scale lessons
the harmonic minor scale
the harmonic minor scale is somewhat common in rock music. this page will tell you what the harmonic minor scale looks like. from there, i will teach you the seven modes of the harmonic minor scale. so pick up your guitar and get ready to play some scales!
the harmonic minor scale contains seven different pitches. the harmonic minor scale is made up of the following pattern of half, whole, and 1 steps:




notice that the e harmonic minor scale has the exact same notes as the natural minor scale, except the seventh is raised a half step: from d to d#. this leaves a half step leading tone between the d# and e, which sounds better than the whole step that appears in the natural minor scale. on standard musical notation, the e harmonic minor scale looks like the diagram below. shown below that is the e harmonic minor scale played on one string. notice the pattern of half, whole, and 1 steps while you play this:




this pattern of half, whole, and 1 steps will be important for the rest of the harmonic minor scale lessons. try to get an understanding of how it sounds and how it feels to your ears. don't necessarily memorize the pattern; memorizing will not help you learn. get a feeling of how it sounds and remember it that way. everything from here on will be in the key of e minor, just to provide continuity. move on to the first mode once you understand the pattern.
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1997 daniel e. smith.