Minor Related to Major


First we should explain that there are very few common barbershop songs that are written completely in minor.  The two that I can think of are the Christmas songs “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “ Oh Come Oh Come Emanuel”.  Of course there are many songs that have portions of the song in minor such as “We Three Kings of Orient Are” which has the verse in minor but the  chorus is in major. However there are many sections of arrangements that are in minor.

Minor is related to Major in 2 different ways, “Relative Minor” and “Parallel Minor”.  Relative minor has the same key signature as it’s relative major.  Parallel minor has the same name as it’s parallel major.

Thus “c minor” is the parallel of “C major”. Also “a minor” is the relative minor to “C major” since they both have the same key signature of no sharps or flats. The easiest way to understand Relative minor is to visualize them on a keyboard.

And is an illustration of the “Parallel Minor and Major Scales”

This concept applies to any key but we just illustrated only the “C Scales” above.

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