E Minor Scale: Natural, Harmonic And Melodic Guide

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Minor scales have a dark and mysterious sound that is used to create tension and emotion in music. They’re essential scales to learn for composers and musicians, but they can be a bit confusing as there are three different types.

In this post, we’re going to be exploring the natural, melodic, and harmonic forms of E minor scale. So, if you’re ready to dive into the key of E minor, let’s get started!

E Natural Minor Scale

The first form of E minor that we will look at is the natural minor scale.

It’s made up of seven notes starting on E (which is known as the keynote). It then follows the natural minor scale formula of whole and half steps.

This gives us the notes: E F# G A B C D

As you can see, it has one sharp note: F#

E Natural Minor Scale in the Treble Clef

Here are all the notes of E natural minor scale in the treble clef, ascending and descending.

E-Natural-Minor-Scale-Treble-Clef-Ascending
E Natural Minor Scale Ascending in the Treble Clef
E-Natural-Minor-Scale-Treble-Clef-Descending
E Natural Minor Scale Descending in the Treble Clef

E Natural Minor Scale in the Bass Clef

Next up, we have E natural minor scale in the bass clef, ascending and descending.

E Natural Minor Scale Bass Clef Ascending
E Natural Minor Scale Ascending in the Bass Clef
E Natural Minor Scale Bass Clef Descending
E Natural Minor Scale Descending in the Bass Clef

E Natural Minor Scale in the Alto Clef

The least common of all the clefs, here we have E natural minor scale in the Alto clef, ascending and descending.

E Natural Minor Scale Alto Clef Ascending
E Natural Minor Scale Ascending in the Alto Clef
E Natural Minor Scale Alto Clef Descending
E Natural Minor Scale Descending in the Alto Clef

E Natural Minor Scale in the Tenor Clef

And finally, here are all the notes of E natural minor scale in the tenor clef, ascending and descending.

E Natural Minor Scale Tenor Clef Ascending
E Natural Minor Scale Ascending in the Tenor Clef
E Natural Minor Scale Tenor Clef Descending
E Natural Minor Scale Descending in the Tenor Clef

Natural Minor Scale Formula

The natural minor scale, like every other type of scale, is constructed by using a certain combination of intervals between each note.

The formula, using whole steps and half steps, is:

Whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step.

This is abbreviated to W W H W W W H.

E Natural Minor Scale With Whole and Half Steps
E Natural Minor Scale with Whole and Half Steps

Using the British terminology of tones and semitones, this would be:

Tone, semitone, tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone.

Which gets abbreviated to T S T T S T T.

E Natural Minor Scale With Tones and Semitones
E Natural Minor Scale with Tones and Semitones

E Harmonic Minor Scale

The next form of E minor scale we’ll look at is the E harmonic minor which is slightly different from the natural minor in that it has a raised 7th note.

So, the notes in E harmonic minor are: E F# G A B C D#

Like E natural minor, it also has an F#, but, notice that the seventh note is raised from a D to a D#.

E Harmonic Minor Scale in the Treble Clef

First, let’s look at E harmonic minor scale in the treble clef, ascending and descending.

E Harmonic Minor Scale Treble Clef Ascending
E Harmonic Minor Scale Ascending in the Treble Clef
E Harmonic Minor Scale Treble Clef Descending
E Harmonic Minor Scale Descending in the Treble Clef

E Harmonic Minor Scale in the Bass Clef

Next, we have E harmonic minor ascending and descending in the bass clef.

E Harmonic Minor Scale Bass Clef Ascending
E Harmonic Minor Scale Ascending in the Bass Clef
E Harmonic Minor Scale Bass Clef Descending
E Harmonic Minor Scale Descending in the Bass Clef

E Harmonic Minor Scale in the Alto Clef

The least common of all the clefs, here we have E harmonic minor ascending and descending in the alto clef.

E Harmonic Minor Scale Alto Clef Ascending
E Harmonic Minor Scale Ascending in the Alto Clef
E Harmonic Minor Scale Alto Clef Descending
E Harmonic Minor Scale Descending in the Alto Clef

E Harmonic Minor Scale in the Tenor Clef

And now we have E harmonic minor in the tenor clef, ascending and descending.

E Harmonic Minor Scale Tenor Clef Ascending
E Harmonic Minor Scale Ascending in the Tenor Clef
E Harmonic Minor Scale Tenor Clef Descending
E Harmonic Minor Scale Descending in the Tenor Clef

Hamonic Minor Scale Formula

The harmonic minor scale, like every other type of scale, is constructed by using a certain combination of intervals between each note.

The formula, using whole steps and half steps, is:

Whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step, whole and a half step, half step.

This is abbreviated to W H W W H WH H.

E Harmonic Minor Scale with Whole and Half Steps

Using the British terminology of tones and semitones, this would be:

Tone, semitone, tone, tone, semitone, tone and a semitone, semitone.

Which gets abbreviated to T S T T S TS S.

E Harmonic Minor Scale with Tones and Semitones

E Melodic Minor Scale

And the last type of minor scale we’ll look at is E melodic minor scale. This one is a bit different from the others, though.

When ascending, it’s different from the natural minor as its 6th and 7th notes are raised by a half step.

This gives us the notes: E F# G A B C# D#

But, when descending, the 6th and 7th notes are flattened.

This means that it’s the same as the natural minor scale when descending, giving us the notes: D C B A G F# E

E Melodic Minor Scale in the Treble Clef

Let’s take a look at E melodic minor scale in the treble clef, ascending and descending.

E Melodic Minor Scale Treble Clef Ascending
E Melodic Minor Scale Ascending in the Treble Clef
E Melodic Minor Scale Descending in the Treble Clef

E Melodic Minor Scale in the Bass Clef

Next up, let’s take a look at E melodic minor scale ascending and descending in the bass clef.

E Melodic Minor Scale Bass Clef Ascending
E Melodic Minor Scale Ascending in the Bass Clef
E Melodic Minor Scale Descending in the Bass Clef

E Melodic Minor Scale in the Alto Clef

Now we have E melodic minor scale in the alto clef, ascending and descending.

E Melodic Minor Scale Alto Clef Ascending
E Melodic Minor Scale Ascending in the Alto Clef
E Melodic Minor Scale Descending in the Alto Clef

E Melodic Minor Scale in the Tenor Clef

And here’s E melodic minor scale in the tenor clef, ascending and descending.

E Melodic Minor Scale Tenor Clef Ascending
E Melodic Minor Scale Ascending in the Tenor Clef
E Melodic Minor Scale Descending in the Tenor Clef

What is the Key Signature of E Minor?

To make playing in a certain key easier for the musician to read, we can use a key signature.

This helps us know to play certain notes sharp or flat without having to read an accidental each time.

E minor has the same key signature as G major, which has one sharp in its key signature: F#

Here’s the key signature for E minor in the treble, alto, tenor, and bass clefs.

E Minor Key Signature

What is the Relative Major Scale of E Minor?

Every minor scale has a relative major scale, and every major one has a relative minor one. But what is the relative major scale of E minor?

The relative major scale of E minor is G major.

Here is G major scale, which uses all the same notes as E natural minor but starts on G, which is its keynote: G A B C D E F#

G Major Scale Treble Clef Ascending
G Major Scale Ascending in the Treble Clef
G Major Scale Treble Clef Descending
G Major Scale Descending in the Treble Clef

But how do we know that G major is the relative major scale of E minor?

Well, to work out the relative major key of a minor one, all we have to do is go up three half steps (semitones).

So from E, we go up one half step to F, a second half step to F#, and a third half step to G: E > F > F# > G

To learn more about the relative major of E minor, see our guide to G major scale here.

Conclusion

That’s it for our guide to the scale of E minor! We hope it helped make a bit more sense of everything.

Feel free to use this post as a reference and let us know if you have any other questions.

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Written by Dan Farrant
Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. Since then, he's been working to make music theory easy for over 1 million students in over 80 countries around the world.