relative minor

In order to find the notes for the next major key above C, we have to multiply the vibration-number of D, which is the top of the dominant C, by 3 and 5. It is out of the key of C at this point that the new key sprouts and grows, and by the primes and method which produce the key of C itself. So if we would find the relative minor of C, let us take the note which is a minor third below D - that is, B - to produce the minor. The minor sprouts and grows from this point of the key of C; for the relative minor grows out of the major, as out of the man at first the woman is taken. Moreover, B is the last-born of the notes for the major scale; for the middles, that is, the thirds of chords, are always produced by the prime 5; and the tops, that is, the fifths of chords, are produced by the prime 3, and are born before the thirds, though placed after them in the chords. Well, because B is the last-born note of the major, as well as a minor third below the top of the highest chord of the major, it seems that the minor should have this for its point of departure. Again, we have seen that the major and the minor are found in their strings and their vibrations by an inverse process, that one going back upon the other; and, there taking Nature's clue, let us proceed by an inverse process of generating the minor. Making B45 our unit, as F1 was our unit for the major, let us divide by 3 and 5 for a root and middle to B, as we multiplied by 3 and 5 for a top and middle to F. B45 divided by 3 is 15; here then is our E, the root of the chord, just where we had found it coming upward; for, remember, we found E15 by multiplying C3 by 5. This E, then, is the same in major and minor. Now B45 divided by 5 is 9; [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 31]

this is the middle of our chord, E, G, B; and remember that this also is G as we found it coming upward, C3 multiplied by 3 being G9. This is another note of the minor, the same in its quantity as that of the major. Now for another chord downward we must divide the root of the one we have found, namely E15, by 3, which will give us A5, the root of a center chord for the minor, and the very key-note of the relative minor to C. And remember that this A5 is just as we found it in coming upward, for F multiplied by 5 gave us A5. Now divide E15 by 5 and we have C3, the middle to our minor chord, A, C, E. Still we must remember that this C3 is just as we found it coming upward, for F multiplied by 3 is C3. Behold how thus far major and minor, though inversely developed, are identically the same in their notes, though not in the order in which they stand in the fifths thus generated. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 32]

The dominant seventh, G, B, D, F, a 4-note chord,1 only requires that the root G be made sharp, which will make G#-B a minor third agreeably with the structure of the other two intervals, B-D and E-F. The chromatic chord only differs from the dominant seventh in that it is wholly of minor thirds. There are four notes in a chromatic chord, but only three of them move by semitonic progression to a tonic chord. When these three notes thus move to a major chord, one is upward to the root, a second downward to the top, and the third downward also to the middle. The relative minor being a minor third below [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 52]

the major, the root of the major chord is the middle of the relative minor, and the middle of the major chord is the top of the relative minor; and as the note which has a semitonic progression downward to the top of the major has a semitonic progression upward to the root of the relative minor, so the same three notes which move in semitonic progression to the top, root, and middle of the major chord, likewise move by the semitonic progression to the root, top, and middle of the relative minor. In both cases the progressions are upward to the roots and downward to the tops; but in the major the movement is downward to the middle, while in the minor it is upward. So each one of these three of the four notes of the chromatic chord has two various movements.1 [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 53]

In going round the circuit of the common chords of the major and its relative minor, and beginning our circuit with the minor, we encounter a triplet,2 differing from all the rest in its constituents, thus -


Here we have passed through minor and major from D to D, and seem to have come to the point from which we started; but we know that these two D's are [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 53]

Having found the framework of the major scale by multiplying F1 three times by 3, find the framework of the minor by dividing three times by 3. But what shall we divide? Well, F1 is the unbegotten of the 25 notes of the great genetic scale; B45 is the last-born of the same scale. We multiply upward from F1 for the major; divide downward from B45 for the minor. Again, B45 is the middle of the top chord of the major system, a minor third below D, the top of that chord, and the top of the whole major chord-scale, so B is the relative minor to it. Now since the minor is to be seen as the INVERSE of the major, the whole process must be inverse. Divide instead of multiply! Divide from the top chord instead of multiply from the bottom chord. Divide from the top of the minor dominant instead of multiply from the root of the major subdominant. This will give the framework of the minor system, B45/3 = E15/3 = A5/3 = D1 2/3. But as 1 2/3 is not easily compared with D27 of the major, take a higher octave of B and divide from it. Two times B45 is B90, and two times B90 is B180, and two times B180 is B360, the number of the degrees of a circle, and two times B360 is B720; all these are simply octaves of B, and do not in the least alter the character of that note; now B720/3 is = E240/3 = A80/3 = D26 2/3. And now comparing D27 found from F1, and D26 2/3 found from B720, we see that while E240 is the same both ways, and also A80, yet D26 2/3 is a comma lower than D27. This is the note which is the center of the dual system, and it is itself a dual note befittingly. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 81]

Seven notes in the Octave are required for the major scale, e.g., the scale of C. All the notes of the relative minor A are the same as those of the scale of C major, with exception of D, its fourth in its Octave scale, and the root of its subdominant in its chord-scale; thus, one note, a comma lower for the D, gives the scale of A minor. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 88]

The six successive major scales with sharps require 2 new notes each, and the six successive minor scales with sharps require also 2 new notes each; but one of these new notes for each minor scale is supplied from the scale of the relative major, and the other from the sub-relative major, i.e., the scale one-fifth lower than the relative. So when the major scales with sharps have been developed they furnish all the new notes needed for the minors. The six successive minor scales with flats require 2 new notes each, and the six successive major scales with flats require each 2 new notes; but one of these is supplied from the scale of the relative minor, and the other from the scale of the super-relative, i.e., the scale one fifth higher than the relative. So when the minor scales with flats are developed they furnish all the new notes require by these majors. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 89]


In the center column are the notes, named; with the lesser and larger steps of their mathematical evolution marked with commas, sharps, and flats; the comma and flat of the descending evolution placed to the left; the comma and sharp of the ascending evolution to the right; and in both cases as they arise. If a note is first altered by a comma, this mark is placed next to the letter; if first altered by a sharp or flat, these marks are placed next the letter. It will be observed that the sharpened note is always higher a little than the note above it when flattened; A# is higher than ♭B; and B is higher than ♭C, etc.; thus it is all through the scales; and probably it is also so with a fine voice guided by a true ear; for the natural tendency of sharpened notes is upward, and that of flattened notes downward; the degree of such difference is so small, however, that there has been difference of opinion as to whether the # and have a space between them, or whether they overlap, as we have shown they do. In tempered instruments with fixed keys the small disparity is ignored, and one key serves for both. In the double columns right and left of the notes are their mathematical numbers as they arise in the Genesis of the scales. In the seven columns right of the one number-column, and in the six on the left of the other, are the 12 major and their 12 relative minor scales, so arranged that the mathematical number of their notes is always standing in file with their notes. D in A minor is seen as 53 1/3, while the D of C major is 54; this is the comma of difference in the primitive Genesis, and establishes the sexual distinction of major and minor all through. The fourth of the minor is always a comma lower than the second of the major, though having the same name; this note in the development of the scales by flats drops in the minor a comma below the major, and in the development of the scales by sharps ascends in the major a comma above the minor. In the head of the plate the key-notes of the 12 majors, and under them those of their relative minors, are placed over the respective scales extended below. This plate will afford a good deal of teaching to a careful student; and none will readily fail to see beautiful indications of the deep-seated Duality of Major and Minor. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 109]


When the major and minor scales are generated to be shown the one half in #s and the other half in ♭s, it is not necessary to carry the mathematical process through the whole 24, as when the majors are all in #s and the minors all in ♭s; because when six majors have been generated in #s, they furnish the new notes needed by the six relative minors; and when six minors have been generated in ♭s, they furnish the new notes for the six relative majors. This plate begins with the major in C and the minor in A. The notes of these two are all identical except the D, which is the sexual note, in which each is not the other, the D of the minor being a comma lower than the D of the major. Going round by the keys in #s, we come first to E minor and G major. G major has been mathematically generated, and the relative minor E gets its F# from it; but the D of C major must also be [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 112]

Starting again at C major and A minor and going round by the keys in ♭s, we come first to D minor and F major. The major gets its fourth from the ♭ sixth of the relative minor; and as the interval between D-E, the major sixth and seventh, must be a 9-comma interval, and its own D-E is only an 8-comma one, it must take the D of A minor, which is a comma lower, and this will correctly show the 9-comma interval between D and E. This is the way of their mutual providing in the region of ♭s; the ♭ sixth of the minor is given to be the ♭ fourth of the relative major; and the comma-lower fourth of the sub-relative minor becomes the correct sixth of the major. The arrows indicate the source from which, and the place to which; the new notes come and go. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 113]

The signature of major and relative minor is always the same whether in #s or ♭s; but in the keys with #s in the plate the signature is only given on the major stave, to indicate that generating upwards is its natural way; and in the keys with ♭s the signature is only placed in the minor stave, to indicate that generating downward is the natural way for the minor mode. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 113]

advance by semitones, the keys with ♭s and #s alternate in both modes. The open between G# and A♭ in the major, and between D# and E♭ in the minor, is closed in each mode, and the scale made one. The dotted lines across the plate lead from major to relative minor; and the solid spiral line starting from C, and winding left and right, touches the consecutive keys as they advance normally, because genetically, by fifths. The relative major and minor are in one ellipse at C and A; and in the ellipse right opposite this the relative to F# is D#, and that of G♭ and E♭, all in the same ellipse, and by one set of notes, but read, of course, both ways. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 117]

This is a twofold mathematical table of the masculine and feminine modes of the twelve scales, the so-called major and relative minor. The minor is set a minor third below the major in every pair, so that the figures in which they are the same may be beside each other; and in this arrangement, in the fourth column in which the figures of the major second stand over the minor fourth, is shown in each pair the sexual note, the minor being always a comma lower than the major. An index finger points to this distinctive note. The note, however, which is here seen as the distinction of the feminine mode, is found in the sixth of the preceding masculine scale in every case, except in the first, where the note is D26 2/3. D is the Fourth of the octave scale of A minor, and the Second of the octave scale of C major. It is only on this note that the two modes differ; the major Second and the minor Fourth are the sexual notes in which each is itself, and not the other. Down this column of seconds and fourths will be seen this sexual distinction through all the twelve scales, they being in this table wholly developed upward by sharps. The minor is always left this comma behind by the comma-advance of the major. The major A in the key of C is 40, but in the key of G it has been advanced to 40 1/2; while in the key of E, this relative minor to G, the A is still 40, a comma lower, and thus it is all the way through the relative scales. This note is found by her own downward genesis from B, the top of the feminine dominant. But it will be remembered that this same B is the middle of the dominant of the masculine, and so the whole feminine mode is seen to be not a terminal, but a lateral outgrowth from the masculine. Compare Plate II., where the whole twofold yet continuous genesis is seen. The mathematical numbers in which the vibration-ratios are expressed are not those of concert pitch, but those in which they appear in the genesis of the scale which begins from F1, for the sake of having the simplest expression of numbers; and it is this series of numbers which is used, for the most part, in this work. It must not be supposed, however, by the young student that there is any necessity for this arrangement. The unit from which to begin may be any number; it may, if he chooses, be the concert-pitch-number of F. But let him take good heed that when he has decided what his unit will be there is no more coming and going, no more choosing by him; Nature comes in [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 117]

Fig. 1. - This figure shows the major and minor measured in commas and placed directly as they stand related, major and relative minor, the minor being set a minor third lower than the major. The interval between C and E in the minor is an 8-and-9-comma interval; between C and E in the major it is a 9-and-8-comma one. This difference arises from the minor D being a comma lower than the major D. In all the other intervals minor and major are the same. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 120]

I had forgotten all the minor keys, except that A is the relative minor of C major; but although I had only faint hopes of success, I determined to try, and I gained the twelve keys correctly, with the thirteenth octave. I found also that E♭ was usually printed as a minor key-note, Nature's laws having shown that it must be D#. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Dr. Gauntletts Remarks1, page 13]

THE term "key" in the minor developments must be taken in the sense in which it is understood by musicians, although it will be seen that it is only the seven of the harmony that are the relative minor keys of the majors, the scales with their chords sounding other keys. The grandeur, combined with simplicity, of the laws which develope musical harmonies are strikingly exhibited in the minor keys. Although at first they appear most paradoxical, and, comparing them with the majors, we may almost say contradictory in their laws of development, when they are in some degree understood, the intricacies disappear, and the twelve keys follow each other (with the thirteenth octave), all exactly agreeing in their mode of development. I shall endeavour to trace them as much as possible in the same manner as the majors, the lowest developments of the minor keys being notes with scales and chords, the notes always sounding their major harmonies in tones. Here an apparently paradoxical question arises. If the major keys are gained by the notes sounding the major tones, how are the minor keys obtained? Strictly speaking, there are no minor key-notes: the development of a minor harmony is but a mode of succession within the octave, caused by each minor key-note employing the sharps or flats of the fourth major key-note higher; and with this essential difference, it will be seen in how many points the developments of major and minor harmonics agree. I have carefully followed the same laws, and if any capable mind examines the results, I am prepared for severe criticism. I can only express that it was impossible to gain any other results than the seven of the harmony, the ascending and the descending scale and the chords combining three different keys. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Diagram VIII - On the Development of the Twelve Minor Harmonies, page 32]

Below the circular diagram are seen in musical clef the twelve minor key-notes, as gained from the majors. There is only one meeting of the same note in the seven of every major harmony. All the twelve follow the same plan; the lowest note of the seven of C is F, the highest note of the seven is E. The lowest tone sounded by E and the highest tone sounded by F is the same, A—leading the ear from C to its relative minor A. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, The Minor Harmonies, page 33a]

If we strike any major threefold chord, and directly afterwards its relative minor, we may notice how they respond to the twofold natures within us of joy and melancholy. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Reflections on the Scheme2, page 44]

See Also

6.14.1 - Mirror Cube
cube mirrors of space
Helmholtz Subharmonic Series
Keely Mirror Box
light mirror
Mind-projection mirror
mirror of Light
mirror planes of stillness
Mirrors and Lens of Cosmic Cinema
nine magnetic mirrors
pressure mirror
Ramsay - PLATE XXII - Mathematical Table of the Twelve Major Scales and their relative Minors
relative major
six opposed mirror planes
three mirror planes of zero curvature

Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Tuesday March 30, 2021 04:10:46 MDT by Dale Pond.