C Sharp Minor Scale

In this lesson, we will learn how to play the C sharp minor scale. The three types of minor scales are the natural, melodic and harmonic minor scales. We will take a look at all three of them here.

We will learn the notes, intervals and scale degrees of the C sharp minor scale (natural, melodic and harmonic) on the piano, treble and bass clef.

C Sharp Minor Scale

The notes of the C sharp natural minor scale are  C♯, D♯, E, F♯, G♯, A, and B. This scale has 4 sharps.

Let’s take a look at the intervals of the C# minor scale.

1. Tonic – The 1st note of the C-sharp natural minor scale is C#.
2. Major 2nd – The 2nd note of the scale is D#.
3. Minor 3rd – The 3rd note of the scale is E.
4. Perfect 4th – The 4th note of the scale is F#.
5. Perfect 5th – The 5th note of the scale is G#.
6. Minor 6th – The 6th note of the scale is A.
7. Minor 7th – The 7th note of the scale is B.
8. Perfect 8th – The 8th note of the C-sharp natural minor scale is C#.

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Here’s a diagram of the C sharp minor scale on piano/keyboard.

Here’s the C sharp natural minor scale on the treble clef.

Here’s the C sharp natural minor scale on the bass clef.

How about the scale degrees? They are as follows:

1. Tonic: C#
2. Supertonic: D#
3. Mediant: E
4. Subdominant: F#
5. Dominant: G#
6. Submediant: A
7. Subtonic: B
8. Octave: C#

There’s a formula for forming natural minor scales using whole steps and half steps. That formula is W-H-W-W-H-W-W. “W” stands for whole step and “H” stands for half step.

Let’s form the C sharp minor scale with this formula. Of course, our starting note is C#. From C#, we take a whole step to D#. Next, we take a half step to E. From E, a whole step takes us to F#. Another whole step takes us to G#. From G#, we go up a half step to A. From A, a whole step takes us to B. Finally, the last whole step returns us to C#.

The relative major key for the key of C# minor is E major. A natural minor scale/key consists of the same notes as its relative major. The sixth note of the major scale becomes the root note of its relative minor.

Let’s now learn the piano fingerings for the C sharp minor scale.

On both the left and right hands, the thumb is finger 1, index finger is finger two, middle finger is finger 3, ring finger is finger 4 and pinky (little) finger is finger 5.

• Notes: C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A, B, C#
• Fingerings (Left Hand): 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3
• Fingerings (Right Hand): 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3

Triad chords in the key of C sharp minor and their notes:

1. Chord i – C sharp minor. Notes: C# – E – G#
2. Chord iidim – D sharp diminished. Notes: D# – F# – A
3. Chord III – E major. Notes: E – G# – B
4. Chord iv – F sharp minor. Notes: F# – A – C#
5. Chord v – G sharp minor. Notes: G# – B – D#
6. Chord VI – A major. Notes: A – C# – E
7. Chord VII – B major. Notes: B – D# – F#

For further reading on the key of C# minor and its chords, go here.

C Sharp Harmonic Minor Scale

Now that we know the notes of the C sharp minor scale (natural), we now take a look at the C sharp harmonic minor scale.

To play a harmonic minor scale, you simply raise the seventh note of the natural minor scale by a half-step as you go up and down the scale. For example, the notes of the natural C sharp minor scale are C♯, D♯, E, F♯, G♯, A, B, C♯. To form the C sharp harmonic minor scale, we raise the seventh note by a half step and this results in C♯, D♯, E, F♯, G♯, A, B♯, C♯.

The formula for forming a harmonic minor scale is W-H-W-W-H-W 1/2-H. (Whole step – half step – whole step – whole step – half step – whole step and a 1/2 step – half step.)

Harmonic Minor Scale Intervals

1. Tonic: The 1st note of the C# harmonic minor scale is C#.
2. Major 2nd: The 2nd note of the scale is D#.
3. Minor 3rd: The 3rd note of the scale is E.
4. Perfect 4th: The 4th note of the scale is F#.
5. Perfect 5th: The 5th note of the scale is G#.
6. Minor 6th: The 6th note of the scale is A.
7. Major 7th: The 7th note of the scale is B#.
8. Perfect 8th: The 8th note of the C# harmonic minor scale is C#.

Here’s a diagram of the harmonic C sharp minor scale on piano.

Here’s the C# harmonic minor scale on the treble clef.

Here’s the C# harmonic minor scale on the bass clef.

C Sharp Melodic Minor Scale

Let’s now learn how to form the C sharp melodic minor scale. While the harmonic minor scale raises only the seventh note of the natural minor scale by a half step, the melodic minor scale raises both the sixth and seventh notes by a half step.

The notes of the C sharp natural minor scale (as we’ve seen) are C♯, D♯, E, F♯, G♯, A, B, C♯. For the C sharp melodic minor scale we raise the 6th and 7th notes by a half step and this results inC♯, D♯, E, F♯, G♯, A♯, B♯, C♯. These notes are used when ascending. When descending, you go back to the natural minor scale.

Notes of the C# melodic minor scale ascending: C♯, D♯, E, F♯, G♯, A♯, B♯, C♯.

Notes of the C# melodic minor scale descending: C♯, D♯, E, F♯, G♯, A, B, C♯. (These are the notes of the C# natural minor scale.)

The formula for a melodic minor scale (ascending) is W-H-W-W-W-W-H. The descending formula is the natural minor scale formula backwards.

Melodic C sharp Minor Scale Intervals

1. Tonic: The 1st note of the C# melodic minor scale is C#.
2. Major 2nd: The 2nd note of the scale is D#.
3. Minor 3rd: The 3rd note of the scale is E.
4. Perfect 4th: The 4th note of the scale is F#.
5. Perfect 5th: The 5th note is G#.
6. Major 6th: The 6th note is A#.
7. Major 7th: The 7th note is B#.
8. Perfect 8th: The 8th note of the C# melodic minor scale is C#.

Here’s the C-sharp melodic minor scale on piano, ascending.

Here’s the C sharp melodic minor scale on the treble clef.

Here’s the scale on the bass clef.

On this page, you will learn how to build and play all types of scales.

Learn major and minor scales in all keys.

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