The minor scale is one of the most emotional and sad sounding scales of all. And by far the most common “sad scale”, and thus natural to use, at least in traditional western music.
But, does the minor scale really have to be sad and make you feel down? NO!
In fact, there are many secret tricks you can use as a music creator, to make a minor scale in any key, turn into an uplifting, energetic and light piece of msic. Let’s find out these secrets, right now!
How to make the Minor Scale Happy
1. Don’t Focus on the i – iv – v
In the minor scale, the diatonic chords on the i – iv – v degree are all minor. If you focus mainly on those degrees, you will end up with a very emotional and sad overall tone in your music.
So don’t! Use the tonic minor chord as the tonal centre of course, but then focus mainly on the II – III – VI major chords. The more major chords you use, the more uplifting and light tone you will get in your chord progression.
2. Use Light Sounds
Generally you can get a more uplifting and positive vibe if you use lighter types of sounds. For example pizzicato strings, rhythmic staccato notes on any instrument really, from strings to piano, as long as they have a brighter tone.
3. Focus on the High Range
If you want a lighter more uplifting tone, you can really brighten things up simply by playing more parts in the higher ranges, above middle C. Because these notes lack the lower fundamental tone, they will automatically sound lighter. Combine this high range, with using light sounds, and you have a winner, at least if you want to make minor keys sound uplifting and fun.
4. Playing Style is Key
Think about how you play each melody, chord and harmony in your music. Because even if you play in a minor key, if you focus more on rhythmic playing styles for chords and harmonies, jumpy and bouncy melodies, or adding quirky and fun riffs, you will end up with a light and uplifting sound, even if the key is minor.
A great example of the power your “playing style”, is in the track “Up is Down” from the Pirates of the Caribbean Soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. It really has that bouncy, rhythmic overall playing style, making it feel uplifting even though it is written in D minor.
5. Increase the Tempo
Now there is a reason why lower tempos in music is often referred to as downtempo tracks, and dance style pop music is often called uptempo tracks. Because the tempo affects our mood due to the energy level. Slow tracks are more low energy and emotional, and high tempo tracks makes us feel excited.
And of course: excitement goes hand in hand with uplifting and happy. So try increasing the tempo quite high, if you want to turn your music in a minor key, into a more uplifting vibe.
Now take action, and experiment with these tips and tricks for making your minor scale based tracks, into energetic and uplifting pieces of music! =)