The four types of minor scale


Natural A Minor

Harmonic A Minor

Melodic A Minor

Gipsy A Minor (a.k.a Spanish Gipsy A Minor)


There are four types of the so called minor scales, out of which the first and most straightforward one, the parallel mode of a major scale, you have probably come across with. It is also called the natural minor and is an internal part of the seven basic scales.


The other three minor scales are the harmonic minor, the melodic minor and the so called Gipsy, sometimes also referred to as Hungarian minor scale. They encompass altered, raised or flatted, notes compared to the natural minor scale, which results in scale structures completely new to your ears. The composers of the Classical and Romantic Era demonstrated in their masterpieces that virtually any note can be incorporated in a minor scale, either making it an altered however still minor mode or shifting it to an atonal scale structure.

Let's start exploring the minor scales! First I will plot the complete structure of each minor scales, then you can start with the first scale degree from the A note, using the trichord scale structure, as the below figure shows. Mirror images plotted by OSIRE.


There are some other sections to look up about the harmonic minor scales:

Natural A Minor



Harmonic A Minor

A-B-C-D-E-F-G sharp-A


Melodic A Minor

  • Ascending: A-B-C-D-E-F sharp-G sharp-A (also in the full structure),

  • Descending (natural minor):  A-G-F-E-D-C-B-A


Gipsy A Minor

  A-B-C-D sharp-E-F-G sharp-A


This scale is the equivalent of the fourth degree of the gipsy scales described in Exotic scales I. section. As an interesting fact and also a misconception, some literatures refer to this scale as the Hungarian Gipsy scale. You can find my opinion on this misconception and the reasons in the section mentioned above. - The four types of the minor scale