How To Play The Minor Scale In ANY Key

Jordan Leibel  /  Scales / Sep 14

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The Minor Scale is one of the first scales you’ll probably come across. If you’ve ever heard a song that sounds sad or moody, you’ll find it to be written in the minor Key. That means that you can play the minor scale in all 12 keys, and the easiest way to ensure that you’re playing the minor scale EVERY time is to know the formula.

Any scale formula you ever come across is made up of two types of steps on the piano: Whole Steps and Half Steps. A whole simply means that you’re technically jumping up or down TWO keys on the keyboard, while a half step means that you’re stepping up or down to the VERY next key.  

I’ll write out the formula for you with ‘W’ indicating Whole Steps and ‘H’ indicating Half Steps, and this will work in any key that you want to play the formula in. So here’s that formula:

W, H, W, W, H, W, W

So if we take that formula in the key of A minor, we’ll have the notes A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A. That’s pretty easy since you’ll only be playing the white keys of the piano to play that scale.  Let’s try that formula out in the key of E minor.  

Starting on E, the notes will be E, F#, G, A, B, C, D, E.  

If you’ve ever wondered the technical reason why you’ve got to play an F# note in the E minor scale, now you know! You’ve got to play it to keep in line with the Minor Scale Formula.

Jordan Leibel

Jordan Leibel is passionate about songwriting, improvisation, and helping you become a creative musician! He’s worked as a composer for film, commercial, and theatre projects as well as a session musician and producer for recording work.

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