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> A Question To Matt About Melodic Minor Modes
Jonas Tamas
post Feb 7 2013, 09:28 AM
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Hi Matt, I'd like to ask you 2 questions about melodic minor modes, and also I ask the readers of your Theory forum about their own experiences too:

- Would you write 2-2 sentences about each melodic minor mode? The first sentence could be the most frequent case/chord progression type/music setting where it is used, this would be very useful for every GMC member. And the second sentence would be an unusual approach: please write a few adjectives which represent the mood of the particular mode. For example: mysterious, gloomy, cheerful, strong, etc. Of course, each mode can sound differently depending on how you apply it, but I'm curious to see the first 1-2 words that jumps into your mind when thinking of these modes.


- My 2nd question is about lydian augmented, which is the 3rd mode of the melodic minor. I use the other 6 modes a lot, but I rarely use this one. I couldn't find where I should use this effectively. Can you give us some tips?


Thanks so much! smile.gif



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David.C.Bond
post Feb 7 2013, 12:18 PM
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I realise I'm not Matt, but I thought I'd give some input here since I use the melodic minor modes a lot.

1. Mel min - minmaj7 chord - can be used over any minor tonic, or even over a dorian chord
2. Dor b2 - dom7sus4b9 chord - despite the name, NOT a dorian usage - should be used as an alteration to the dominant
3. Lyd aug - maj7#5 chord - can be used as a substitute for a tonic major or lydian chord
4. Lyd dom - dom7#11 chord - used over non-resolving dominants
5. Mix b6 - dom7b13 (or #5) chord - rarely used, but generally an alteration to the dominant
6. Loc nat2 - min7b5nat2 chord - used in place of a locrian
7. Super locrian (altered) - dom7alt chord - used as an altered dominant, generally in a min V-i, but can be used for a major V-I too!

Hope that helps!


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Jonas Tamas
post Feb 7 2013, 12:34 PM
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QUOTE (David.C.Bond @ Feb 7 2013, 11:18 AM) *
I realise I'm not Matt, but I thought I'd give some input here since I use the melodic minor modes a lot.

1. Mel min - minmaj7 chord - can be used over any minor tonic, or even over a dorian chord
2. Dor b2 - dom7sus4b9 chord - despite the name, NOT a dorian usage - should be used as an alteration to the dominant
3. Lyd aug - maj7#5 chord - can be used as a substitute for a tonic major or lydian chord
4. Lyd dom - dom7#11 chord - used over non-resolving dominants
5. Mix b6 - dom7b13 (or #5) chord - rarely used, but generally an alteration to the dominant
6. Loc nat2 - min7b5nat2 chord - used in place of a locrian
7. Super locrian (altered) - dom7alt chord - used as an altered dominant, generally in a min V-i, but can be used for a major V-I too!

Hope that helps!


Hi David, thanks a lot for your post and for the detailed chord and scale info! Yes, Dorian b2 sounds quite differently as the "regular" dorian scale. I even call Dor b2 as a Phrygian 6#, because it tells more about its mood.

Personally, which mode of your favorite? My guess would be super locrian.

What were your experiences back then when you started learning and applying these scales? How quickly did you learnd them, and what method would you suggest for practicing them?


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The Professor
post Feb 7 2013, 08:45 PM
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Hey, since the mode thing has been addressed, I use slightly different chord symbols for some modes but they're all in the ballpark, I can talk about learning them.

I think the key is to relate them to scales you already know, so I always relate them to major modes.

MM 1 to me is Ionian b3, so I can take any Ionian mode I know, flat the 3rd and I have a fingering for MM 1. I can do this for all the modes thinking about them as such.

Ionian b3
Dorian b2
Phrygian b1
Lydian b7
Mixolydian b6
Aeolian b5
Locrian b4


That way I don't have to start from scratch to learn MM modes, I just have to adjust the major modes I already know. This worked for me and has worked really well with my students from all different backgrounds.

For the 3rd mode, I like to use that Arpeggio over a m7 chord to make it a mMaj9. So, if I had Cm7 in a chart, I might play Ebmaj7#5 to give it a rootless CmMaj9 sound, same for the chord voicing in a rhythm context.

If anyone wants to read about this approach in more detail, here are a couple of links to check out.

http://www.mattwarnockguitar.com/modes-of-...eir-application

http://www.mattwarnockguitar.com/melodic-m...gios-and-chords

Great topic!


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David.C.Bond
post Feb 9 2013, 10:06 AM
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QUOTE (Jonas Tamas @ Feb 7 2013, 11:34 AM) *
Hi David, thanks a lot for your post and for the detailed chord and scale info! Yes, Dorian b2 sounds quite differently as the "regular" dorian scale. I even call Dor b2 as a Phrygian 6#, because it tells more about its mood.

Personally, which mode of your favorite? My guess would be super locrian.

What were your experiences back then when you started learning and applying these scales? How quickly did you learnd them, and what method would you suggest for practicing them?


No problem, always up for a discussion on mel minor harmony! Ah my favourite, really tough, probably super locrian yeah, or maybe lydian dominant since I do use that a lot too. In fact here's a video I recorded yesterday where I'm basically just working on resolving lines (some of which are mel minor based, some are augmented/diminished/harmonic major etc):
Youtube

Well I studied with Tom Quayle for a long time, and he's a big user of the mel minor modes, so that helped a lot. Obviously it took a while, and I'm still working on them now as you can see from the video. But one cool thing that I do a lot is create a totally random chord scheme in Band-In-A-Box full of mel minor specific chords and try to improvise freely over it. Really difficult to be melodic over a nonsensical progression. smile.gif

QUOTE (The Professor @ Feb 7 2013, 07:45 PM) *
Hey, since the mode thing has been addressed, I use slightly different chord symbols for some modes but they're all in the ballpark, I can talk about learning them.

I think the key is to relate them to scales you already know, so I always relate them to major modes.

MM 1 to me is Ionian b3, so I can take any Ionian mode I know, flat the 3rd and I have a fingering for MM 1. I can do this for all the modes thinking about them as such.

Ionian b3
Dorian b2
Phrygian b1
Lydian b7
Mixolydian b6
Aeolian b5
Locrian b4


That way I don't have to start from scratch to learn MM modes, I just have to adjust the major modes I already know. This worked for me and has worked really well with my students from all different backgrounds.

For the 3rd mode, I like to use that Arpeggio over a m7 chord to make it a mMaj9. So, if I had Cm7 in a chart, I might play Ebmaj7#5 to give it a rootless CmMaj9 sound, same for the chord voicing in a rhythm context.

If anyone wants to read about this approach in more detail, here are a couple of links to check out.

http://www.mattwarnockguitar.com/modes-of-...eir-application

http://www.mattwarnockguitar.com/melodic-m...gios-and-chords

Great topic!


Ah that's really interesting Prof, I've always viewed mel minor as a dorian scale with #7, since it seems more related to be (despite both only being one note away), and I'd be more inclined to use the mel minor in a dorian type of context than an Ionian. But that's just me!

Some cool links there, thanks for that.

A couple of visualisation concepts that I'd used in the past:

Mel minor = two parallel dom7 arpeggios combined - E.g C mel minor = F7+G7 combined
Super locrian is basically a major scale with a sharpened root

smile.gif


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Jonas Tamas
post Feb 9 2013, 10:55 AM
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QUOTE (The Professor @ Feb 7 2013, 07:45 PM) *
Hey, since the mode thing has been addressed, I use slightly different chord symbols for some modes but they're all in the ballpark, I can talk about learning them.

I think the key is to relate them to scales you already know, so I always relate them to major modes.

MM 1 to me is Ionian b3, so I can take any Ionian mode I know, flat the 3rd and I have a fingering for MM 1. I can do this for all the modes thinking about them as such.

Ionian b3
Dorian b2
Phrygian b1
Lydian b7
Mixolydian b6
Aeolian b5
Locrian b4


That way I don't have to start from scratch to learn MM modes, I just have to adjust the major modes I already know. This worked for me and has worked really well with my students from all different backgrounds.

For the 3rd mode, I like to use that Arpeggio over a m7 chord to make it a mMaj9. So, if I had Cm7 in a chart, I might play Ebmaj7#5 to give it a rootless CmMaj9 sound, same for the chord voicing in a rhythm context.

If anyone wants to read about this approach in more detail, here are a couple of links to check out.

http://www.mattwarnockguitar.com/modes-of-...eir-application

http://www.mattwarnockguitar.com/melodic-m...gios-and-chords

Great topic!


Thanks so much Matt! I've never thought of the lydian augmented as "Phrygian b1", so it is a very useful info for me, and for the other GMC members. The suggested links are awesome - again. Your page seems to be one of the best resources, with all that accumulated and well-structured knowledge! Thanks again:)


QUOTE (David.C.Bond @ Feb 9 2013, 09:06 AM) *
No problem, always up for a discussion on mel minor harmony! Ah my favourite, really tough, probably super locrian yeah, or maybe lydian dominant since I do use that a lot too. In fact here's a video I recorded yesterday where I'm basically just working on resolving lines (some of which are mel minor based, some are augmented/diminished/harmonic major etc):
Youtube

Well I studied with Tom Quayle for a long time, and he's a big user of the mel minor modes, so that helped a lot. Obviously it took a while, and I'm still working on them now as you can see from the video. But one cool thing that I do a lot is create a totally random chord scheme in Band-In-A-Box full of mel minor specific chords and try to improvise freely over it. Really difficult to be melodic over a nonsensical progression. smile.gif


A couple of visualisation concepts that I'd used in the past:

Mel minor = two parallel dom7 arpeggios combined - E.g C mel minor = F7+G7 combined
Super locrian is basically a major scale with a sharpened root

smile.gif



Hi David, I was gonna ask you about Tom Quayle, because you both live in Leeds. He is one of the most exciting players nowadays, and a great guy too. It's cool that you were able to work together with him.

Thanks a lot for the video link, I'll check it out right away.



Question to both David and Matt:

Are you willing to play my "one scale - one adjective" game, mentioned in the topic opener? So for each mel minor scale, write the first adjective that jumps into your mind. It can be a really good method for us GMC readers to become familiar with these scales.


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David.C.Bond
post Feb 11 2013, 12:11 PM
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Yeah Tom's amazing, a really inspiring player. The fact that we both live in Leeds is pure chance, but fortunate. In fact I'm going round to his house tomorrow.

Ah, this adjective game is gonna be tough, really tough. I'm going to try to do it with as little thought as possible, so my answers are as instinctive as I can make them:

Mel minor - gloomy
Dor b2 - majestic (possibly misleading, but when used as a dom7sus4b9 in a V-I it has this effect on me)
Lyd aug - wide (a stretched out I chord to my ear)
Lyd dom - tight (in reference to the fact that its often a tri-tone sub scale, so the chord harmony is very stepwise)
Mix b6 - squashed
Loc nat 2 - piercing
super loc - volatile (so dark it almost seems bright sometimes!)

Apologies for the vagueness!


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Jonas Tamas
post Feb 11 2013, 02:50 PM
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QUOTE (David.C.Bond @ Feb 11 2013, 12:11 PM) *
Yeah Tom's amazing, a really inspiring player. The fact that we both live in Leeds is pure chance, but fortunate. In fact I'm going round to his house tomorrow.

Ah, this adjective game is gonna be tough, really tough. I'm going to try to do it with as little thought as possible, so my answers are as instinctive as I can make them:

Mel minor - gloomy
Dor b2 - majestic (possibly misleading, but when used as a dom7sus4b9 in a V-I it has this effect on me)
Lyd aug - wide (a stretched out I chord to my ear)
Lyd dom - tight (in reference to the fact that its often a tri-tone sub scale, so the chord harmony is very stepwise)
Mix b6 - squashed
Loc nat 2 - piercing
super loc - volatile (so dark it almost seems bright sometimes!)

Apologies for the vagueness!



That's great, thanks so much David! I needed exactly these kind of "first thought" names, so no vagueness there. They are very profound, and I'm glad that you took the time to give us your instinctive adjectives. That helps to grasp the mood and usage of these scales, showing a different, right brain approach. Thanks again, and have a great jam session with Tom tomorrow! I'm sending my best wishes to him!


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