“It’s a Harmonic Minor Scale, Right?”

One way to learn about something is to do it.  I’ve written on my confusion about this harmonic minor scale concept and my novice perception, due to the key signature, that the Lully Gavotte is in C major, while it’s really in A minor.  I’m still not really getting that, but I am getting closer to playing the scale, since a fun part of the piece winds up and down the thing throughout the midsection of the piece.  “It’s a harmonic minor scale,” Teacher said, “Right?”  “Uh, right?” I said.  But it’s true – with all the notes laid out in a row, though they are embellished up and down a little here and there, I’ll still be able to put it together and play the scale outside of the piece when I put my mind to it.  I’m happy about that.

By the end of the lesson, we had made it through to the end of the Gavotte – it’s interesting and lovely; I’m quite taken with its minor quality.  My trajectory of appreciation of this piece is most interesting to me.  As I’ve been listening to my upcoming songs like a good Suzuki Kid, I had not been much looking forward to this one – listening to it was just not doing it for me.  But now that I’m playing it I’m finding it a treat.  I wonder if this “playing is better than listening” idea will ultimately apply to music that is even more difficult for me to appreciate – modern pieces, for example.  Playing is a fun way to expand my musical horizons.

I still want to learn more about Lully, but I’m starting to get especially excited about where I’m at in the book.  Next up is my first Beethoven, a Minuet, and I’m practically beside myself with giddiness.  For many years if you had asked who my favorite composer was I would have said Beethoven.  I don’t know what I’d say right now, but this upcoming Beethoven is poised to supplant the Brahms Waltz as the loveliest piece in my repertoire, to my ear at least.  We’ll see if we start it next week or if Teacher thinks I need to keep gavotting for another week.

Thanks for reading.



  1. Did she go on to explain the harmonic minor scale to you?

  2. She has explained it, I just don’t have a lot of context in my brain for it to mean very much to me. But I love how it sounds!

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