Finding the relative MAJOR | Coursera Community

Finding the relative MAJOR

  • 13 October 2020
  • 6 replies

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     Actually, I didn’t understand what happened here. I’ll be glad if someone can explain me in simpler words.


So far, we have talked about finding the relative minor of a major. As we have discovered, this is actually fairly easy to do. Obviously, however, this is only half the picture. What if you are asked to write or play something in a minor key? Clearly, there is an important relationship between the minor and its relative major - it's the major scale that we draw our notes from. So, what if someone asks you to play A minor.

The first thing we need to do is to work out the relative major. Well, the tonic of the relative major is a minor 3rd above the tonic of the minor. So, in this case, we know the minor tonic is A so we count up 3 notes from A. This gives us:

1=A - 2=B - 3=C

Next, we have to check if this is a minor 3rd. Remember, a minor 3rd is an interval of 3 semitones.

1 = A-A# - 2 = A#-B - 3=B-C

So, C is a minor 3rd above A - so C is the relative major of A minor. You should spend some time working out the pairs of related majors and minors and try to become familiar with them.



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Hi @Nt3603, well, this text is trying to show how to get a relative major for a particular minor. If you only could formulate more specifically what exactly it is you don't understand, the answer may also be more specific. But I'll try to answer the way I understood it. If I understood you correctly, you want to know how to establish a relative major of a given minor, say A minor. Actually, you just start singing or playing this A minor, like: A B C D E F G (A). The relative major will be the third step (or note) in this sequence, that is C. And if you sing or play the same very notes starting with C, you will get the major sequence that is relative: C D E F G A B(C), which is C major.
Now, what if we have C minor and we have to find its relative major? Just the same. We sing or play the C minor sequence:
C D E-flat F G A-flat B-flat (C). In this case our third step is E-flat. So E-flat major will be the relative one: E-flat F G A-flat B-flat C D (E-flat).

@Nt3603 I can so understand how this can seem confusing! All these notes! Probably the best advice you were given was to just learn what the relative minors are to their majors. This is something I have memorized and don’t think about. For example, C major’s minor is A minor, G major’s is Eminor, F major’s is D minor, etc.

Relatives have things in common.Two out of the three notes in these chords are the same. Look at a C chord ….the notes are: C, E, G.

It’s relative minor is A, C, E. Almost the same ,except for the last (5th) E note.

Check out a G major chord: It’s G, B,D….its minor relative is E, G, B...almost the same except for the last note again which becomes a B not a D.

If you play guitar you can hear this subtle one note difference and also hear how the 2 are related. To find a relative minor I just count 3 steps down, you’ll mostly be right .

Did this help? Please ask more questions. As you can see, there are many experienced people here ready to help.


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Do you have a firm foundation in terms of scales and key signatures? The first thing I would advise if you don't have this down pat is to memorize the order of the sharps and flats and how to figure out what the major scale is from the key signature. The next thing is to realize that in a major scale, there is a half step between  MI and FA (3rd and 4th steps) and between TI and DO (7th and 8th (octave).

To find the relative minor, you count down three semi-tones from DO. To get back to the major, you reverse this and count UP three semi-tones.

Also see



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@ansakoy  Sorry, I couldn’t reply you due to some network problem.

   You helped me with it and I understood it better..

@Judith  Thanks again to you, I understood it more with your comment here.

@Madcapmaggie Actually, I didn’t have any source before to learn about music theory and I’ve been taking the course “The fundamentals of music theory” in coursera


     Glad you all responded and helped me in your ways. Thank you so much!

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@Nt3603 it’s OK, forums are great exactly because you can reply when it is convenient :)

Good luck with your learning and never hesitate to ask questions when you have trouble understanding some music theory stuff. I’ll be happy to help if I can.

What a beautiful community this is! 
Thank you everyone for helping and thank you @Nt3603 for asking us. We are all glad to help.