Lesson #106, Relative Minors I

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lesson #106, Relative Minors I

Hello Everyone,

In order to understand the term "Relative Minor", lets first look at the staff in standard musical notation. By viewing the chart in this video, you can see some of the things you will encounter when reading sheet music and how it pertains to Relative Minors.

Every Major scale in music (there are 12 of them), has a different amount of #'s or b's (sharps or flats) within the scale. Also, every Major scale has a Relative, that Relative is called a Relative Minor scale, or can also be called a Natural Minor scale.

Play a C major scale on the banjo......now name the notes as you play the scale. There are no #'s or b's. Play a G major scale........name the notes again.......now there is one #...that being an F# note. You can play all of the twelve major scales to find out how many, and also what the names of the sharps or flats are within any major scale.

Although I'm going to discuss what is known as the "Circle of Fifths" in future lessons, pertaining to #'s and b's, the only thing I would like for you to understand at this point in time is the term, Relative or Natural Minor.

Since every Major scale has a DIFFERENT number of sharps or flats.......by looking at the Key signature to the right of the Clef.......in this video you see one sharp.... that is the key signature....since the G major scale is the only major scale with one sharp contained within it, we know that this piece of music is in the KEY of G major....... or........its relative minor......we'll get into that soon.

Since every Major scale has a Relative Minor scale associated with it.... THAT RELATIVE MINOR SCALE CONTAINS THE EXACT NUMBER OF SHARPS OR FLATS AS......ITS RELATIVE MAJOR SCALE.

We will continue to discuss this in the next lessons, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.


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In 2009, at the age of 60, I decided to learn to play the 5-string banjo. I searched the internet for lessons and struck gold when I found David Cavage's free banjo lessons at Musicmoose.org. His video hosting site revver.com was having some serious problems at the time so I downloaded as many of the lessons as I could whenever they became available. Revver.com stopped operating shortly afterwards and, sadly, Musicmoose.org is no more. I contacted David early 2020 and he told me he no longer had the original master videos and feared they may have been lost forever. This amazing course of free banjo lessons, from absolute beginner to advanced player, is too good to be forgotten, so this is my attempt to get David's work back out there again so that he can teach, inspire and spread the joy of banjo pickin' to more generations of budding musicians, just like he did with me. I've rounded up all the Moose stuff I could find and put it here, so start pickin' and enjoy!-------MooseHerder.