Harmonic + Natural Minor
Adam
Jan 16 2019, 02:44 PM
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Jan 16 2019, 02:44 PM
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Hello! Currently I'm studying Albinoni's Adagio and I'm wondering what is it that makes it tick. I can hear a Natural Minor scale as well as Harmonic Minor. I know there are more pieces like this, so I'm wondering how does it happen. In modern music these two not necessarily get along well. These scales are different in 7th step, so it's not even about modes.

How can I learn to use them interchangeably and still make it sound good? My friend says there's a classical harmony on which all the classical pieces are built and there's a modern harmony that's like "It's good as long as it sounds good. Doesn't need to fit the classical rules." But he doesn't want to elaborate.

My only idea is: the certain chords in the background could make the #7 sound well; but how to do it without any backing track? I'm familiar with both scales quite well for a beginner but I can only use them separately. What should I learn to be able to combine them?

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Caelumamittendum
Jan 16 2019, 03:08 PM
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Jan 16 2019, 03:08 PM
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Without going too deep into this, a lot of classical music were built around the melodic minor, and the approach was often that ascending we would want the note value of the major 7th to lead into the octave, as it leads quite a lot different and better than a minor 7th.

That, however, gave a step of 1½ semitone before reaching the major 7th, which was a bit unpleasant, maybe somewhat exotic sounding, so they would move the 6th up half a step. This lead to the melodic minor scale. In A minor that would be: A B C D E F# G#. However when we descend in a melody you don't have that same leading tone and need for the semitone step between G# and A, so they would instead revert to natural minor again.

There are a lot, lot, lot more "rules" and approaches. Neopolitan 6ths etc.

This course opens today and I can recommend enrolling for free and see what you can use. I have never quite gotten through it, but I may give it a go again:

https://www.coursera.org/learn/classical-composition

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Gabriel Leopardi
Jan 16 2019, 03:11 PM
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Jan 16 2019, 03:11 PM
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Hi mate! That's a beautiful piece of music!

At first, I recommend you to read "Minor Scales Revisited" since there you'll find the difference between minor scales, why and how they are used.

Each of those minor scales give us different chords when we harmonize the notes in thirds, being the V chord the main reason why Barroque composers combined both scales. In Natural minor, the V chord is minor 7th, while it's dominant (7th) in Harmonic Minor. So what you'll find in most of those pieces are natural minor progressions that change the minor 7th chord for a dominant chord, and that's where the melody also switches to Harmonic minor.

Harmonic Minor Scale


These are the three minor tonalities:

Attached Image


You can compose progressions switching from one to the other and you'll be using what's called "Modal Interchange". Experiment!

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Todd Simpson
Jan 17 2019, 02:21 AM
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Jan 17 2019, 02:21 AM
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Just to keep things simple, find a backing on youtbe that you like. It will tell you what key it's in usually. Grab your guitar and go to the first position in that Key (Say A for example) for the Minor and harmonic minor. So go to the 5th fret low E.

Play around in the standard minor against the backing. Then play around the with harmonic minor against the backing. Take mental notes where each scale tends to work. Simply switch back and forth between scales at the points where each scale sounds best against the backing. Record your results with your cell phone and share for feedback smile.gif
Todd

QUOTE (Adam M @ Jan 16 2019, 09:44 AM) *
Hello! Currently I'm studying Albinoni's Adagio and I'm wondering what is it that makes it tick. I can hear a Natural Minor scale as well as Harmonic Minor. I know there are more pieces like this, so I'm wondering how does it happen. In modern music these two not necessarily get along well. These scales are different in 7th step, so it's not even about modes.

How can I learn to use them interchangeably and still make it sound good? My friend says there's a classical harmony on which all the classical pieces are built and there's a modern harmony that's like "It's good as long as it sounds good. Doesn't need to fit the classical rules." But he doesn't want to elaborate.

My only idea is: the certain chords in the background could make the #7 sound well; but how to do it without any backing track? I'm familiar with both scales quite well for a beginner but I can only use them separately. What should I learn to be able to combine them?

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Adam
Jan 17 2019, 11:44 PM
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Jan 17 2019, 11:44 PM
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Thank you, Everyone for great advice. Seeing how it all is tied together, I may want to study history of music and some deeper theory after graduating. It's not just useful, I see, but also very interesting to me! smile.gif

I'll give this course a try when I'm finished with some of my university assignments.

I skim-read the articles you linked, Gabriel. It's horrifying how well I understand them. WHen I first picked up a guitar I couldn't tell simple definitions and now... this world of music is devouring me smile.gif I'll re-read them again and make notes - I bought a notebook to keep all music-related stuff in one place somehow organized, so I can revise anytime I want. I memorize quite well by listening but also by writing down.

Todd, that's a great idea! I'll make sure to try it after clearing mission 18 and school assignments. It sounds like it could take some time, so it's better to do it when I can afford to focus on it.

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klasaine
Jan 18 2019, 04:54 AM
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Jan 18 2019, 04:54 AM
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Fun fact.
Many modern musicologists don't think he wrote that beautiful piece. It is suspected that it was composed by his cataloger, Remo Giazotto. In his day Tomaso Albinoni was mostly known for his operatic work.

This is an early Italian/Venetian baroque piece.
They didn't really think in 'scales'. It's all about moving lines (melody) and the supporting voices (harmony). Important to remember is that just because a piece is in a minor key doesn't mean that they don't write/play major chords and major melodic lines. Minor scales (all minor scales) contain major triads and 7th chords and composers of all eras, including now, borrow chords, especially major and dominant 7th chords, from the parallel major scale. In other words, if you play in the key of A natural minor (aeolian) you can easily 'borrow' from A major (ionian). The most common application of this is borrowing an E7, the V chord, from A major when playing in A minor (modal interchange that Gabe mentions above). This gives you that 'Harmonic Minor' sound. There is also a lot of upper and lower neighbors used (1/2 steps above and below the target note) to ornament the melody.
The whole piece modulates to a major key at about 3:51 and stays there until about 4:46.
So to reiterate - thinking scales is not where it's at. Scales will be used but they're not the primary melodic driver.

If you're interested in exploring baroque harmony, the how and the why, dive into these ...
https://helsinginkaupunginorkesteri.fi/en/h...the-baroque-era
http://www.mostlywind.co.uk/baroque.html
https://study.com/academy/lesson/counterpoi...y-examples.html

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This post has been edited by klasaine: Jan 19 2019, 03:46 PM
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Todd Simpson
Jan 18 2019, 09:14 PM
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Jan 18 2019, 09:14 PM
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Ken is a bit of a theory guru. If it seems complex, don't be thrown off. It will all make perfect sense as you continue on your journey. You've got to get past the starting block first and get used to creating improv solos of any kind. Simply doing that will help a lot. You will be able to understand the theory as you start to understand what you are playing in relation to whatever backing you are working with. You can start by just learning to play on time, and in key. Once you get a good handle on that, it's time to branch out.


QUOTE (klasaine @ Jan 17 2019, 11:54 PM) *
Fun fact.
Many modern musicologists don't think he wrote that beautiful piece. It is suspected that it was composed by his cataloger, Remo Giazotto. In his day Tomaso Albinoni was mostly known for his operatic work.

This is an early Italian/Venetian baroque piece.
They didn't really think in 'scales'. It's all about moving lines (melody) and the supporting voices (harmony). Important to remember is that just because a piece is in a minor key doesn't mean that they don't write/play major chords and major melodic lines. Minor scales (all minor scales) contain major triads and 7th chords and composers of all eras, including now, borrow major chords from the parallel major scale. In other words, if you play in the key of A natural minor (Aeolian) you can easily 'borrow' from A major. The most common application of this is borrowing an E7, the V chord, from A major when playing in A minor (modal interchange that Gabe mentions above). this gives you that 'Harmonic Minor' sound. There is also a lot of upper and lower neighbors used (1/2 steps above and below the target note) to ornament the melody.
The whole piece modulates to a major key at about 3:51 and stays there until about 4:46.
So to reiterate - thinking scales is not where it's at. Scales will be used but they're not the primary melodic driver.

If you're interested in exploring baroque harmony, the how and the why, dive into these ...
https://helsinginkaupunginorkesteri.fi/en/h...the-baroque-era
http://www.mostlywind.co.uk/baroque.html
https://study.com/academy/lesson/counterpoi...y-examples.html

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Adam
Jan 20 2019, 05:12 AM
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Jan 20 2019, 05:12 AM
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Thank you, I'll give it some time as soon as I can afford it. I wanted to learn the classical harmony for a while now. I know, for example about the major triads in minor scales and vice versa but I don't know what their function is and how to make good use of it. And I feel I will start to shine once I understand it smile.gif

After this exam session I will have the time to start learning and I probably want to learn the basics first. I understand your explanations quite well but it will make much more sense to me when I learn what I'd call an introduction to harmony, not jump into a chapter somewhere in the middle.

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Todd Simpson
Jan 22 2019, 07:18 AM
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Jan 22 2019, 07:18 AM
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It's always good to start at the start! Once you get some time, dig in! We will be here to help wink.gif

Todd
QUOTE (Adam M @ Jan 20 2019, 12:12 AM) *
Thank you, I'll give it some time as soon as I can afford it. I wanted to learn the classical harmony for a while now. I know, for example about the major triads in minor scales and vice versa but I don't know what their function is and how to make good use of it. And I feel I will start to shine once I understand it smile.gif

After this exam session I will have the time to start learning and I probably want to learn the basics first. I understand your explanations quite well but it will make much more sense to me when I learn what I'd call an introduction to harmony, not jump into a chapter somewhere in the middle.

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SeveredSurvival
Jan 22 2020, 06:54 PM
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Jan 22 2020, 06:54 PM
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I've spent this morning trying to analyze the chords of a piece of music I wrote years ago that I have always liked.. when I wrote it, the idea came about from playing with 2nd inversion triads, and so since my theory wasn't amazing I was always a bit daunted trying to figure out what I should be playing because the the root notes weren't always in the bass, and there seemed like a lot of chords that could be called multiple names.

So after years of being lazy about it I went through every single chord and wrote down all the tones. Turns out it's all mostly B minor, but I had chords like C#dim7, E/G#, F#7, And A#dim7... wouldn't you know it, the only note that's every "out" in the song is an A#, which would belong to a B harmonic minor.

For someone who's let my theory slip for a couple years now, it was pretty cool to piece it back together. Based on Klaisaine's reply below, when he says that borrowing from the parallel major gives it the "harmonic minor sound", does this mean that the harmonic minor sound only ever really exists as a relationship between the parallel major and minor? Would there be an example of actually borrowing from the harmonic minor, or is that just splitting hairs. Would a song ever be written entirely in harmonic minor, or only in the context of a modal song?

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Todd Simpson
Jan 22 2020, 07:07 PM
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Jan 22 2020, 07:07 PM
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Just in basic terms, can a song be written in Harmonic Minor? Sure smile.gif Taking the minor scale and raising up the 7th half a step gives it that cool harmonic vibe. So if the chord progression follows a harmonic minor progression, then yeah, the song is written in harmonic minor. Sorta the same way that if a songs chords follow a Major progression, the song will have a "Major" vibe.

can you share a bit of the song with us here? I"m sure Ken will have more to say.
Todd


QUOTE (SeveredSurvival @ Jan 22 2020, 01:54 PM) *
I've spent this morning trying to analyze the chords of a piece of music I wrote years ago that I have always liked.. when I wrote it, the idea came about from playing with 2nd inversion triads, and so since my theory wasn't amazing I was always a bit daunted trying to figure out what I should be playing because the the root notes weren't always in the bass, and there seemed like a lot of chords that could be called multiple names.

So after years of being lazy about it I went through every single chord and wrote down all the tones. Turns out it's all mostly B minor, but I had chords like C#dim7, E/G#, F#7, And A#dim7... wouldn't you know it, the only note that's every "out" in the song is an A#, which would belong to a B harmonic minor.

For someone who's let my theory slip for a couple years now, it was pretty cool to piece it back together. Based on Klaisaine's reply below, when he says that borrowing from the parallel major gives it the "harmonic minor sound", does this mean that the harmonic minor sound only ever really exists as a relationship between the parallel major and minor? Would there be an example of actually borrowing from the harmonic minor, or is that just splitting hairs. Would a song ever be written entirely in harmonic minor, or only in the context of a modal song?

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SeveredSurvival
Jan 22 2020, 09:24 PM
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Jan 22 2020, 09:24 PM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Jan 22 2020, 06:07 PM) *
Just in basic terms, can a song be written in Harmonic Minor? Sure smile.gif Taking the minor scale and raising up the 7th half a step gives it that cool harmonic vibe. So if the chord progression follows a harmonic minor progression, then yeah, the song is written in harmonic minor. Sorta the same way that if a songs chords follow a Major progression, the song will have a "Major" vibe.

can you share a bit of the song with us here? I"m sure Ken will have more to say.
Todd


Hi, thanks for the reply!

https://clyp.it/3f3usvaw

Here is a short loop of what would be the verse. If there were a solo section it would go over this but I most just tried jamming for 8 bars to see if i could outline the harmonic minor. The second time through is a bit clunky, i know.

the way I have this is written currently is 4 bars of 12/8 played twice.

Bm - A - D/F# - D/G | D/F# - D/G |

Bm - A - D/F# - D/G | D/F# - A#dim7 |

In the full song that A#dim7 leads into a G for the prechorus.

Apologies for the unmixed recording, just a quick thing to get started with. Harmonically, the rest of the song follows suit (to my ears) where the turnaround of each section is that same kind of diminished sound.

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Todd Simpson
Jan 22 2020, 11:01 PM
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Jan 22 2020, 11:01 PM
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It's working quite well! Sounds good so far. Keep that bit you have on a loop and see what you can work in to it in terms of improv. Don't be afraid top play notes that are not in key, not in the scale etc. Let yourself play some bad notes so that you can hear how they sound as well. I've found that most backing tracks with a few whole steps in them can often work well with the Minor, Harmonic Minor and Blues scale. From there it's really just experimentation. It's important to get to the point where you can trust your ears first. Sometimes you may play a note that is NOT technically in key but, somehow it still woks and sounds cool. In the end, that's really what it comes down to. Does what I'm playing convey the emotion I want to convey and does it work as a composition?
Todd
QUOTE (SeveredSurvival @ Jan 22 2020, 04:24 PM) *
Hi, thanks for the reply!

https://clyp.it/3f3usvaw

Here is a short loop of what would be the verse. If there were a solo section it would go over this but I most just tried jamming for 8 bars to see if i could outline the harmonic minor. The second time through is a bit clunky, i know.

the way I have this is written currently is 4 bars of 12/8 played twice.

Bm - A - D/F# - D/G | D/F# - D/G |

Bm - A - D/F# - D/G | D/F# - A#dim7 |

In the full song that A#dim7 leads into a G for the prechorus.

Apologies for the unmixed recording, just a quick thing to get started with. Harmonically, the rest of the song follows suit (to my ears) where the turnaround of each section is that same kind of diminished sound.

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


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klasaine
Jan 23 2020, 12:40 AM
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The main body of it is B natural minor (aeolian) and that A#dim chord is just an F#7b9 chord. The V7 chord so at that point yes, it's B harm min.
*The harmonic minor scale - as it's own entity - is a relatively recent construct. Composers and listeners really liked hearing a dominant V going to I (maj or min) so they 'borrowed' the leading tone, in this case A# from the parallel maj key.

A lot of academics say thast there's really only only one minor with the tendency to either raise or lower the 6th and 7th degrees.

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Phil66
Jan 23 2020, 05:53 AM
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Jan 23 2020, 05:53 AM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Jan 16 2019, 02:08 PM) *
Without going too deep into this, a lot of classical music were built around the melodic minor, and the approach was often that ascending we would want the note value of the major 7th to lead into the octave, as it leads quite a lot different and better than a minor 7th.

That, however, gave a step of 1½ semitone before reaching the major 7th, which was a bit unpleasant, maybe somewhat exotic sounding, so they would move the 6th up half a step. This lead to the melodic minor scale. In A minor that would be: A B C D E F# G#. However when we descend in a melody you don't have that same leading tone and need for the semitone step between G# and A, so they would instead revert to natural minor again.


For the first time ever, that actually made sense to me Thanks Ben cool.gif

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