Is The Aeolian Scale The Minor Scale, Or Not?

Aeolian and Minor. Most musicians think that these two words indicate the same thing.

In this case, most musicians would be wrong.

The Aeolian scale and the Minor scale (natural minor, of course) are not the same scale. Yeah, I know that this may run counter to what you have learned reading music theory on the internet.

I started noticing that most people confuse Minor and Aeolian by reading the comments on my YouTube channel - and noticing that several people were asking the same questions, all coming from this fundamental misunderstanding.

Some of these questions were:

  • "Why we have two different melodic minor scales?" (We don't...)
  • "Why the 5th chord in a minor key is major and not minor?" (even if you know the answer to this, watch the video anyway... there's more to it than you think)
  • "Why minor is the 6th mode or major?" (It's not)

If you've ever asked yourself any of these question, or if you think Aeolian and Minor are the same thing... this video is for you:

Now, just to make sure that we are on the same page...

If anything I explained in the video above seems unfamilar, too hard, or complex... fear not.

Just watch this other video here. It's very easy to get lost in music theory only because someone is using a word or concept you are not familiar with... and it can be fixed in few minutes.


Tommaso Zillio is a professional prog rock/metal guitarist and composer based in Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Tommaso is currently working on an instrumental CD, and an instructional series on fretboard visualization and exotic scales. He is your go-to guy for any and all music theory-related questions.

Tommaso Zillio