A minor in relation – relative minor scales and chords

Category: Music Theory

A minor is the relative minor of C major.

The relative relation is applicable for both the scale and the chord. A minor chord is the relative minor chord of C major chord. A natural minor scale is the relative minor scale of C major scale.

Within the C major scale, A note comes in the 6th position. C D E F G A B C

Generalize :

The relative minor of a major scale is the minor scale from the 6th note of the major scale.
The relative minor chord is the minor chord from the 6th position of the major scale.

Remember that… as a definition. It is a useful relation.

Examples of relative minor and major relations:
If you want the relative minor of D, find the 6th note in the D major scale, and play the minor chord with the 6th note as root.
The 6th note of D major scale is B. Bm is the relative minor chord of D major.

Increasing chord options using relative relationships

Suppose you have the chords C G F for a scale. You can try using Am, Em and Dm which are the relative minors, for the scale.

When playing chords for a song, if you are playing the major chord and want a change with least change of notes, the relative minor is the first option to look for.

How do you find the 6th note fast?

Example 1, if you have found out the D major chord, you will know that the fifth note is A.
The 6th note of the D major scale is a major 6th note, which is a tone away from the fifth, two half steps away from the fifth, two frets to the right of the fifth, two keys to the right of the fifth.
Two notes from A is B. relative minor of D is Bm

Example 2. Relative minor of C# major.
What is the 6th note in the C# major scale?
Either
you can count to get to the 6th of C# as A# (count notes through the sequence till major 6th)
OR
remember 6th of C is A, so 6th of C# should be A#
OR
try relationships like the following :

What is the fifth of C : G
What is 6th of C : G + 2 notes : A
C# is C raised by one half step
sixth of C# will be 6th of C, raised by one halfstep : raise A by a half step to get A #

Know a few fifths, 6ths and other relationships. Then you can extend them to their flats and sharps etc.

If the root is moved by a minor 3rd, the 7th also moves by a minor 3rd.

Move the root by a 4th, the 6th or 7th or 2nd also moves by the distance of a 4th.

Working with music involves working with straight forward, linear sequential movements. No ground for any confusions in between.

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