If you think E minor was a standard to use for the chord scale, you should be very confused about what kind of scale E minor is. The scale you see written is not an E minor scale, but instead is an interval scale.
What exactly is an interval scale? We’ll come back to this again later, but suffice to say that each interval in an interval scale is of a certain type. The type depends on whether it is a natural, melodic, harmonic, or root note.
Let’s now look at the following progression of notes arranged in E minor, showing the note positions for the four intervals:
You can clearly see E major being the root note (I) and the natural fifth of the scale, or an interval. In the following diagram, the intervals are marked with red (natural), and green (harmonic) colors:
Now if you read the above diagram again, you will get the idea that a natural is an interval from 0 to 1, and a harmonic is an interval between 0 and 5. The scale in E major is natural because these are the values we use throughout the chord. There is no “E” in E major as we might expect! However, this is probably because the E major scale follows a tonic position.
A tonic position is a musical position in which musical notes are arranged in the same way through various modes. A tonic position is used at other keys too, but it is most commonly on the F and E keys. The same relationship holds true for all E’s major chords as well.
Because each of E’s major modes is based on a tonic position, these intervals could be considered as the “natural” or natural minor intervals. There are also natural minor intervals available, which are not part of the tonic key, but rather are in other keys.
We will discuss the relationship with other scales. For now, let’s give you an idea of the nature of the “natural” intervals in E major. You’ll notice that these intervals are of a natural minor type, and that these can be played without a tonic key, as well. What does this mean? It means that an E minor scale can be played without using a tonic key, but using other keys or key signatures than E major.
In E major, this would mean using the scale as a whole without a tonic key. It has the ability to
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