So the other main type of key is the “minor” key. It sounds a bit more sad and even a little menacing when compared to the major key. It has a yearning, unfinished quality. (A lot of dance music is in minor keys, to convey that “on and on and on” feeling to the dancefloor that keeps people dancing.)
From the root note, a minor scale’s note spacing (again, the way it plays seven notes and leaves out the other five) is “whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole, whole”.
Again, you can start on any note and as long as you respect this, it will still be a minor key and scale. And again, we number these notes, calling them “First”, “Second”, “Third” etc up to “Seventh”.
Try it starting at C – you’ll have to include some black keys now, and you’ll hear the difference.
But here’s a curious thing: Every major key has a related, or “relative” minor key.
If you move three semitones down from the first note of a major key and play a minor scale, you’ll notice it uses exactly the same notes as the major scale – just starting from a different place.
So from C, three semitones down is A – and if you play all the white keys up from A, that is A minor. Same notes, different key, scale and feel! So A minor is the only minor scale that, like C, also avoids all the black keys.
(Tip: Songs in these two keys are likely to mix together well when DJing.)
Read this next: The Ultimate Guide To Keymixing For DJs