Five minor 7 scales & How to Use

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The Document: Five Minor 7 scales


A minor scale can be defined as any scale with a minor scale-tone tonic chordbut without a major 3rd (measured from the scale tonic).

The scale must contain:

  • a minor 3rd
  • a perfect 5th

The minor pentatonic scale and the blues scale are minor scales, but the 8-note dominant scale is not : it contains an ambiguous major 3rd. Neither is the 8-note diminished scale because a minor scale-tone chord can not be formed on its tonic note (it lacks a perfect 5th).

They are (in order of their importance in Jazz):

  1. Dorian mode – characteristic notes : 6 and b7
  2. Harmonic minor scale – characteristic notes : b6 and 7
  3. Aeolian mode (natural minor scale) – characteristic notes : b6 and b7
  4. Melodic minor scale – characteristic notes : 6 and 7
  5. Phrygian mode – characteristic notes : b2b6 and b7   ……

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