Harmonic Minor Scales
The harmonic minor scale has the following pattern of whole steps and half steps:
W H W W H W+H H
Harmonic minor scales have a distinctive sound that occurs because there is one and a half steps between scale degrees 6 and 7. Because of this wide interval, some harmonic minor scales will have both flats and sharps in them. Like the other minor scales and the major scale, the notes of the harmonic minor scale can be determined by following a few simple steps. The example below uses D harmonic minor.
1. Write all of the scale degrees under the staff.
2. Write the pattern of whole steps and half steps as they occur between each scale degree.
3. Write in the pitches for that diatonic scale. Start on the note D and write each successive note for each scale degree. Do not skip any pitches and do not repeat any pitches. Make sure that your last note is exactly one octave above the first note of the scale. In this case, your last note should be D.
4. Check every whole step and half step in the scale and write in the accidentals, when needed. By going through each whole step and half step we can complete the harmonic minor scale. Be careful with the pitches between scale degrees 6 and 7. The interval is a whole step plus a half step. Remember to include all accidentals.
Things to remember, and ways to check yourself:
The first and the 8th scale degree of the harmonic minor scale should be exactly the same pitch an octave apart. For example, if your first pitch is a D, and your 8th scale degree is D sharp, an error has been made.
Unlike the major and natural minor scales, it is possible to have sharps and flats in the same harmonic minor scale. In the D harmonic minor scale we have both a B flat and an C sharp.
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