"Modes of the Harmonic Minor"

Document Sample
"Modes of the Harmonic Minor" Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                         1


                  "Modes of the Harmonic Minor"


Harmonic Minor


While one could conceivably go about their entire guitar existence without knowledge of
anything other than the Pentatonic and Diatonic Scales, it is an entirely worthwhile
endeavor to expand and examine certain scales that come about through simple
modifications of the Major Scale (Ionian) and Minor Scale (Aeolian). In this lesson we
will look at the Harmonic Minor scale and its modes. You will find that these modes
sound radically different from the Major scale modes. With the Harmonic Minor modes,
you can achieve a wide variety of sounds, from a Middle Eastern sound to a Spanish
Gypsy (check out the 5th mode...) sound. People often associate Harmonic Minor with
the so-called Neoclassical players like Yngwie Malmsteen, but the scale goes much
deeper than that, as I think you will soon find out.

When you practice these, keep in mind that the Diatonic Scale exercises apply here as
well (3 octave scales, sequences and patterns).

Also, since I am using G Harmonic Minor for these exercises, you should expect that
these modes will be similar to all the modes in Bb Major (because G Minor is the Minor
mode of Bb Major). The table below shows which Harmonic modes are similar to which
Major modes. (Note: They are similar - not the same!)

Harmonic Minor Mode Major Mode
                     6. Minor
1. Harmonic Minor
                     (Aeolian)
2. Locrian Natural 6 7. Locrian
                     1. Major
3. Harmonic Major
                     (Ionian)
4. Spanish Phrygian,
                     2. Dorian
Romanian
5. Spanish Gypsy,
                     3. Phrygian
Phrygian Dominant
6. Lydian b3         4. Lydian
7.                   5. Mixolydian
                                                                                             2


 Relation of Harmonic Minor and Major
                 Modes


Harmonic Minor mode 1

Let's start with the first mode of the Harmonic Minor scale - the Harmonic Minor! This
scale is very similar to the Minor mode (i.e. Aeolian) that you learned in the Diatonic
Scales and Modes lesson. The only difference is that the 7th note is raised. That should
tell you that for the most part, you can use the scales interchangeably. Doing so, will
really help you develop a sound all your own. Also, this scale is often used over a
Min7b5 Chord and Dom7b9 and is used in general used over II V I progressions in
Minor.




The important thing to note here is how similar the scale looks to the Minor scale. But it
sounds much different!


                                 Harmonic Minor mode 1




Practice this like any other scale exercise. Apply scale sequences and patterns, mix things
up with picking and legato, etc. And to really make things interesting, try ascending with
the Harmonic Minor, and descending with the Minor.
                                                                                          3




Harmonic Minor mode 2 - Locrian Natural 6

In the previous exercise, I mentioned how the Harmonic Minor was similar to the Minor.
Well, recall that in the Diatonic Scales and Modes lesson, we saw that the Minor mode is
the sixth mode of the Major scale. So the 6th mode of the Major scale is similar to the 1st
mode of the Harmonic Minor. So by similar reasoning, you can imagine that the 2nd
Harmonic Minor mode might very well be similar to the 7th mode of the Major scale.
And what do you know - the 2nd Harmonic Minor mode is also called the Locrain
Natural 6 (Locrian is the 7th mode of the Major scale!). This scale sounds good played
over a Min7b5 chord (as does the Locrian mode).




Here we see the Locrian Natural 6. Notice how similar the scale shape is to the Locrian
mode. The only difference is that here the 6th note is raised.


                      Harmonic Minor mode 2 - Locrian Natural 6




See exercise 1 for any special instructions. Also, try ascending with the Locrian 6 and
descending with the Locrian. Another thing to try, is playing this scale over an A Min7b5
chord.
                                                                                           4


Harmonic Minor mode 3 - Harmonic Major

By now, hopefully you see the relation between these Harmonic Minor modes and the
Diatonic modes. In the last exercise, we saw the Locrian Natural 6. So with this mode, we
would expect there to be a similarity with the Major scale itself. This is of course true,
and this mode is referred to as Harmonic Major.




Here we see the Harmonic Major. The only difference between this shape and the Major
scale is that here, the 5th note is raised.


                       Harmonic Minor mode 3 - Harmonic Major




See exercise 1 for any special instructions. Also, try ascending with the Harmonic Major
and descending with the Major.
                                                                                          5


Harmonic Minor mode 4 - Spanish Phrygian, Romanian

You probably thought this mode would have Dorian in the name, since the last mode was
called Harmonic Major. That is not the case here. But think of it as the Harmonic Dorian
if you want (don't quote me!).




Here we see the Spanish Phrygian, Romanian mode (or Harmonic Dorian!). The only
difference between this shape and the Dorian mode is that here, the 4th note is raised.


                 Harmonic Minor mode 4 - Spanish Phrygian, Romanian




See exercise 1 for any special instructions. Also, try ascending with the Spanish Phrygian
and descending with the Dorian.
                                                                                          6


Harmonic Minor mode 5 - Spanish Gypsy, Phrygian
Dominant

I said once that when it comes to arpeggios, the Dominant 7th is my favorite. Well, when
it comes to scales, this one is it! Sometimes, I will go on the internet, tune into some
Spanish Gypsy music station, and just go nuts with this mode. It is almost as if the music
takes possession of your fingers. I find that type of music to be the easiest to improvise
over. Anyway, enough rambling.

This scale is often used over the V chord (Dom7, Dom7b5, etc). So if you are in C Major,
this scale would sound nice over a G Dom7, for example.




Here we see the Spanish Gypsy, Phrygian Dominant. The only difference between this
shape and the Phrygian mode is that here, the 3rd note is raised.


             Harmonic Minor mode 5 - Spanish Gypsy, Phrygian Dominant




See exercise 1 for any special instructions. Also, try ascending with the Spanish Gypsy
and descending with the Phrygian.
                                                                                          7




Harmonic Minor mode 6 - Lydian b3

As you probably expected, we are now at the mode that most closely resembles the
Lydian mode.




Here we see the Lydian b3. The only difference between this shape and the Lydian mode
is that here, the 2nd note is raised.


                          Harmonic Minor mode 6 - Lydian b3




See exercise 1 for any special instructions. Also, try ascending with the Lydian b3 and
descending with the Lydian.
                                                                                       8


Harmonic Minor mode 7

We have now reached the end of our Harmonic Minor modes. This time we have a
nameless mode. We can't have that. So how about we call this the Harmonic Mixolydian?




Here we see the 7th Harmonic Minor mode (recently renamed Harmonic Mixolydian...).
The only difference between this shape and the Mixoydian mode is that here, the 1st note
is raised.


                                Harmonic Minor mode 7




See exercise 1 for any special instructions. Also, try ascending with this mode and
descending with the Mixolydian.
                                                                                  9


             Description of the Harmonic minor scale
A harmonic minor scale consists of 7 different notes.
The intervals from note to note are :

       tone - semitone - tone - tone - semitone - tone and a half - semitone

The scale can also be described as two tetrachords separated by one whole tone.

      one minor tetrachord : tone - semitone - tone
      one gypsy tetrachord : semitone - tone and a half - semitone

The two tetrachords for the C harmonic minor scale are :

   (minor tetrachord)   C - D - Eb - F <-- tone --> G - Ab - B - C (gypsy
                                     tetrachord)

The key signature for the harmonic minor scale is the same as its related major
scale with its tonic note 3 semitones above.

For example the C harmonic minor scale is related to the Eb major scale, and
shares that scale's key signature (3 flats).




The harmonic minor scale was originally derived from the natural minor
scale, by raising its 7th note.
The natural minor in turn is the Aeolian mode of the major scale 3 semitones
higher. All three scales use the same key signature.


               Eb major scale     = Eb - F - G - Ab - Bb - C - D - Eb
               C natural minor    = C - D - Eb - F - G - Ab - Bb - C
               C harmonic minor = C - D - Eb - F - G - Ab -
                                                                                            10


    Harmonic minor      Locrian 13     Ionian #5        Dorian #11

    Mixolydian b9b13     Lydian #9      Locrian b4bb7



The Harmonic Minor is a fairly common scale, familiar to most intermediate musicians.
However, one seldom sees a complete modal breakdown of this scale, though the 5th
mode (sometimes called the Harmonic Phrygian) is used often in Flamenco and Metal
musics. The other modes of this scale offer just as rich a potential as the two common
modes; while not technically "exotic scales" (exoticism in music is essentially a western
term meaning music - or scales - designed to evoke the sounds & images of "far-away
lands"), many of these modes blur the lines between exoticism and standard scales.
Immerse yourself in these for a while - one at a time - and see what you come up with.

Note the notation is in the key of A so the listener can hear the differences between the
modes properly. Now, we'll jump right in!

The Harmonic Minor (A-A) is "A-B-C-D-E-F-G#-A"




Listen!

The second mode (B-B) spells "A-Bb-C-D-Eb-F#-G-A"




Listen!
                                                     11


The third mode (C-C) spells "A-B-C#-D-E#-F#-G#-A"




Listen!

The fourth mode (D-D) spells "A-B-C-D#-E-F#-G-A"




Listen!

The fifth mode (E-E) spells "A-Bb-C#-D-E-F-G-A"




Listen!

The sixth mode (F-F) spells "A-B#-C#-D#-E-F#-G#-A"




Listen!
                                                                                        12


The seventh mode (G#-G#) spells "A-Bb-C-Db-Eb-F-Gb-A"




Listen!

In the past, I have run workshops that focus exclusively on such modal breakdowns, so
my advise is to focus on ONE mode per week for the next 7 weeks. Write a little etude
(practice piece) each week that uses one of these modes. You'll be surprised at the doors
that open for you!

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:10
posted:12/10/2011
language:English
pages:12