Difference Between Major and Minor Scales

Major vs Minor Scales

Major and minor scales are two of the most popular and commonly used scales in western music. It is possible to make a major or the minor scale using any note while playing piano. Set of notes arranged in a unique pattern creates a scale. While there are many similarities between these two scales, there are also differences that will be highlighted in this article.

If you know about diatonic scale, major and minor scales become easy to understand as these are mere variations of this diatonic scale. This is a scale that has intervals of 5 full steps and 2 half steps. One note that makes all the difference between minor and major scales is their third note. This third note is what makes the major scale so much more bright and cheerful sounding while giving the minor scale its characteristic sadness and darkness. Major third note is one note higher than the minor 3rd note.

There is also a lot of difference between the mood of the major and minor scales. If you are the listener, your ears perceive a major scale as having a different personality than a minor scale. This difference is especially evident when you hear the two scales one after another or side by side. The feelings or emotions aroused by major scale are positive and happy while those aroused by minor scale are full of melancholy and sadness.

What is the difference between Major and Minor Scales in Music?

• The pattern of steps in a major scale is WWHWWWH whereas this pattern in a minor scale is WHWWHWW.

• Major scales produce feelings of happiness, whereas minor scales are known to make people sad.

• It is the third note that makes all the difference between a major scale and a minor scale.

• Major scales have major 3rd’s whereas minor scales have minor 3rd’s.