Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Harmonic And Melodic Minor Modes Names
GMC Forum > Discussion Boards > THEORY
K1R
I was reading some material about improvising over dominant7 chords when I saw a Mixolydian b13 b9 scale. When I took a closer look on it, I realised that it is the fifth mode of Harmonic Minor scale. Well, since Harmonic Minor scale is a minor scale, shouldn't Mixolydian b13 b9 be called Phrygian #3 instead? At first name "Mixolydian" led me into missunderstanding about where the mode had come from...
Mixolydian b13 (or b6) is the 5th mode of Melodic Minor scale, so shouldn't it be called Phrygian #2 #3 as well?

P.S. I've found these scales in our Scale generator as Phrygian Major Scale (Mixolydian b13 b9) and Mixolydian flat 6 (Mixolydian b13 (or b6)).
ConnorGilks
Hey man! some names are interchangeable, but the reason we call it Mixolydian (b9, b13) is for several reasons. The first is that if you saw Phrygian #3, wouldn't that throw you off? A #3 is a 4, so that's just confusing. Also, the FUNCTION of this scale is over a V7 chord (which has a diatonic chord scale of Mixolydian). That way when I say "What do I play over a V7 chord?" you can say "You can either play Mixolydian, or play Mixolydian with a b9 and a b13 for a more outside sound." That makes way more sense than going "You can play Mixolydian, or Phrygian #3."
Cosmin Lupu
QUOTE (ConnorGilks @ Dec 27 2012, 01:24 AM) *
Hey man! some names are interchangeable, but the reason we call it Mixolydian (b9, b13) is for several reasons. The first is that if you saw Phrygian #3, wouldn't that throw you off? A #3 is a 4, so that's just confusing. Also, the FUNCTION of this scale is over a V7 chord (which has a diatonic chord scale of Mixolydian). That way when I say "What do I play over a V7 chord?" you can say "You can either play Mixolydian, or play Mixolydian with a b9 and a b13 for a more outside sound." That makes way more sense than going "You can play Mixolydian, or Phrygian #3."


This makes sense to me as well smile.gif
vonhotch
QUOTE (ConnorGilks @ Dec 27 2012, 01:24 AM) *
Hey man! some names are interchangeable, but the reason we call it Mixolydian (b9, b13) is for several reasons. The first is that if you saw Phrygian #3, wouldn't that throw you off? A #3 is a 4, so that's just confusing. Also, the FUNCTION of this scale is over a V7 chord (which has a diatonic chord scale of Mixolydian). That way when I say "What do I play over a V7 chord?" you can say "You can either play Mixolydian, or play Mixolydian with a b9 and a b13 for a more outside sound." That makes way more sense than going "You can play Mixolydian, or Phrygian #3."


I have never understood why the same notes could have so many names. Sometimes you can read about things a bunch of times and just one time one certain explanation will make sense and make you go whoa I get that now. This was one of those times. No matter how many times I read about modes and scales I couldn't understand why everything had to have so many names and this simple explanation just kind of clicked and made a ton of sense.
ConnorGilks
QUOTE (vonhotch @ Dec 30 2012, 12:26 AM) *
I have never understood why the same notes could have so many names. Sometimes you can read about things a bunch of times and just one time one certain explanation will make sense and make you go whoa I get that now. This was one of those times. No matter how many times I read about modes and scales I couldn't understand why everything had to have so many names and this simple explanation just kind of clicked and made a ton of sense.


It is very confusing, not that there are so many names, but that there is no decided-upon standard for these names.

The reason why there's so many names is because, well think about it, why not? biggrin.gif Is a minor scale a minor scale? Or is it an Ionian (b3, b6, b7)? Or a Dorian (b6) maybe? Or a Phrygian (Natural 2)? It's all about how things function, and how we HEAR them.

Theory came AFTER music. Someone used these scales for a certain purpose, and THEN it was named and analyzed. And how did they name it and analyze it? Based on the FUNCTION it was originally used in.

I don't know if that helps at all or if it just made things more confusing, but hopefully that was of some assistance to SOMEONE here! tongue.gif
Cosmin Lupu
Indeed the names are based on function and I also wanted to add the fact that Aeolian is b3, b6, b7, not Ionian, then Dorian has a natural 6th and Phrygian has a b2 tongue.gif It might be that you stated them in the wrong way on purpose to emphasize on the confusion, but I wanted to make sure so I stated the correct alterations for the modes biggrin.gif Hope you don't mind my intervention smile.gif

On the other hand, indeed you must analyze the context and all the alterations and different names for notes will make sense. For instance when we have G major we won't say Gb instead of F# - it is obvious that we need an F in the scale structure and so, F# will do instead of Gb, even though they share the same sound.
klasaine
QUOTE (K1R @ Dec 25 2012, 11:16 AM) *
I was reading some material about improvising over dominant7 chords when I saw a Mixolydian b13 b9 scale. When I took a closer look on it, I realised that it is the fifth mode of Harmonic Minor scale. Well, since Harmonic Minor scale is a minor scale, shouldn't Mixolydian b13 b9 be called Phrygian #3 instead? At first name "Mixolydian" led me into missunderstanding about where the mode had come from...
Mixolydian b13 (or b6) is the 5th mode of Melodic Minor scale, so shouldn't it be called Phrygian #2 #3 as well?

P.S. I've found these scales in our Scale generator as Phrygian Major Scale (Mixolydian b13 b9) and Mixolydian flat 6 (Mixolydian b13 (or b6)).

As mentioned scales can have a lot of names depending on context. I've found it to be a regional thing too.
Out here on the west coast of the states we usually call it Phrygian nat. 3 ... or, the fifth mode of Mel. Min. Of course learning the sound, how to use it and whether you dig it or not is the most important thing.
Cosmin Lupu
QUOTE (klasaine @ Dec 31 2012, 12:15 AM) *
As mentioned scales can have a lot of names depending on context. I've found it to be a regional thing too.
Out here on the west coast of the states we usually call it Phrygian nat. 3 ... or, the fifth mode of Mel. Min. Of course learning the sound, how to use it and whether you dig it or not is the most important thing.


I totally agree with this - the important thing is to understand the structure, the way it sounds and the context in which it should be used. The number of existing scales and modes is pretty big, so see which ones you enjoy most smile.gif
ConnorGilks
QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Dec 30 2012, 09:10 AM) *
Indeed the names are based on function and I also wanted to add the fact that Aeolian is b3, b6, b7, not Ionian, then Dorian has a natural 6th and Phrygian has a b2 tongue.gif It might be that you stated them in the wrong way on purpose to emphasize on the confusion, but I wanted to make sure so I stated the correct alterations for the modes biggrin.gif Hope you don't mind my intervention smile.gif

On the other hand, indeed you must analyze the context and all the alterations and different names for notes will make sense. For instance when we have G major we won't say Gb instead of F# - it is obvious that we need an F in the scale structure and so, F# will do instead of Gb, even though they share the same sound.


My intention was to show that those other names are WRONG and confusing. But thanks anyways. biggrin.gif A minor scale is definitely not related to the Ionian mode sound wise, at least in our western culture we've decided these are two opposite, or at least very different sound.

I think that's another thing to keep in mind, the relation to other scales isn't what's important, we only do that so I can tell you "Play Locrian (Natural 2)" and you can play it because you already know the Locrian scale, and you just need to change one note. I don't have to say "Okay play a note, then a whole step, then a half step..." etc. We have these names because we're trying to describe things to each other, not because it perfectly defines their sound... or function, for that matter, even though that's what we try to achieve.
klasaine
Excellent point ConnerGilks!

*I prefer phrygian nat. 3 because it's a quick and easy definition to understand.
It actually ends up 'sounding' like a type of alt/dom or 'ethnic' scale.
ConnorGilks
QUOTE (klasaine @ Jan 1 2013, 03:34 AM) *
Excellent point ConnerGilks!

*I prefer phrygian nat. 3 because it's a quick and easy definition to understand.
It actually ends up 'sounding' like a type of alt/dom or 'ethnic' scale.


Whatever works! biggrin.gif I just use Mixolydian b13 because that's what I most commonly hear it referred to as. But it also functions as a scale to use over the V chord, at least for me. I haven't learned any other uses for it yet. But like I said, it's about what works for YOU. smile.gif
Cosmin Lupu
QUOTE (ConnorGilks @ Jan 1 2013, 02:37 AM) *
My intention was to show that those other names are WRONG and confusing. But thanks anyways. biggrin.gif A minor scale is definitely not related to the Ionian mode sound wise, at least in our western culture we've decided these are two opposite, or at least very different sound.

I think that's another thing to keep in mind, the relation to other scales isn't what's important, we only do that so I can tell you "Play Locrian (Natural 2)" and you can play it because you already know the Locrian scale, and you just need to change one note. I don't have to say "Okay play a note, then a whole step, then a half step..." etc. We have these names because we're trying to describe things to each other, not because it perfectly defines their sound... or function, for that matter, even though that's what we try to achieve.


Well said indeed mate! wink.gif
klasaine
Names can be confusing indeed!

After re-reading this thread I realized that I was (mistakenly) talking about a different scale completely - ohmy.gif
I read phrygian #3 as if it was raising the third degree of a normal phryg scale - making the minor 3rd a major 3rd. Example: A Bb C D E F G A changes to A Bb C# D E F G A 'This' is what I call Phrygian Nat. #3 (sounds cool over dom and alt/dom chords - McLaughlin uses it a lot sans the 6th degree, A Bb C# D E G A). *Also I should have said 5th mode of the (D) Harm. Min. (not mel.min.). *I realize the mix of sharps and flats can be confusing but it's the only way I can get it to make sense intervalically.

I'm new here so my apologies for my confusion. I will mos def read more carefully from now on, laugh.gif

And Happy New Year!

Cosmin Lupu
QUOTE (klasaine @ Jan 1 2013, 05:56 PM) *
Names can be confusing indeed!

After re-reading this thread I realized that I was (mistakenly) talking about a different scale completely - ohmy.gif
I read phrygian #3 as if it was raising the third degree of a normal phryg scale - making the minor 3rd a major 3rd. Example: A Bb C D E F G A changes to A Bb C# D E F G A 'This' is what I call Phrygian Nat. #3 (sounds cool over dom and alt/dom chords - McLaughlin uses it a lot sans the 6th degree, A Bb C# D E G A). *Also I should have said 5th mode of the (D) Harm. Min. (not mel.min.). *I realize the mix of sharps and flats can be confusing but it's the only way I can get it to make sense intervalically.

I'm new here so my apologies for my confusion. I will mos def read more carefully from now on, laugh.gif

And Happy New Year!


Also called Phrygian Dominant, right? smile.gif The formula is actually 1 b2 3 4 5 b6 b7 - and indeed it goes well over dominant chords
klasaine
Yes, phryg/dom. Especially cool sound over a 7#9 chord.
But I prefer phryg/nat3 because it signifies the single changed scale degree from the standard phrygian mode.
Again, it's what I/you get used to and are comfortable with.
Cosmin Lupu
QUOTE (klasaine @ Jan 2 2013, 05:27 PM) *
Yes, phryg/dom. Especially cool sound over a 7#9 chord.
But I prefer phryg/nat3 because it signifies the single changed scale degree from the standard phrygian mode.
Again, it's what I/you get used to and are comfortable with.


Well, I associate it with the Dominant name due to the combination between the major 3rd and the b7th smile.gif That was easier for me to recognize and use smile.gif
klasaine
Exactly and part of me now thinks that I too should call it phryg/dom precisely because I use it over dominant chords and it sounds dominant to me. Your term I feel is more definitive.

And also why it's complicated for the OP.
Both you and I are playing the same 'collection of tones'. We probably even hear it the same way but we refer to it (at least to ourselves) in the way that best helps us to remember it and maybe even convey it to somebody else(?).

But back to the original post/question ...
For better or for worse there's really only 12 notes/tones in western music - that's not a lot of notes. But for at least 1400 years people have been composing a vast and varied amount of music with just these 12 notes (in several octaves of course). Think about the differences between a Gregorian chant, Brahms, Elvis, John Coltrane, Slim Harpo, Luciano Berio, Fela Kuti, Slayer and the Jam - but they all use the same notes.

We 'name' the different collections (scales, chords even whole tunes) based most of time on how they function (or just by historical habit). And they function VERY differently in different music. As long as 'you' know what it is, you can call it whatever you want. It's only when you need to convey the sound to someone else that it can potentially become problematic. *Hence the reason it's a good idea to at least be able to spell the notes and know where they are on your instrument.
Cosmin Lupu
Great input here mate smile.gif It looks like you are a fellow that knows his stuff, have you had any scholastic studies? Just being curious here smile.gif
klasaine
QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Jan 3 2013, 08:16 AM) *
Great input here mate smile.gif Have you had any scholastic studies? Just being curious here smile.gif


Guilty as charged.
I'm pretty curious about this stuff in general but I also went to university as a music major (Cal State University Northridge in Los Angeles). Plus, I was very fortunate to 'cut my teeth' with a bunch of players that were also theory heads. To this day we'll still sit around and discuss the inner workings of music.
How about you? You obviously know this stuff as well. Seriously, I now call the scale in question phryg/dom. And I'm thinking about some of the other names I either made up myself or just accepted ... to see if they're descriptive or deceptive(?) After many years of playing and studying I'm still fascinated like a little kid by it all.
Andre Nieri
Hi mate. This scale is commonly refered as to Phrygian Dominant. I've never seen that Mixolydian (b9 b13) been applied to this scale, although the intervals are the same.


Now, the mixolydian (b13) is the 5th mode of the Melodic Minor scale. This one isn't vastly used, but still a great sounding scale to play.
ConnorGilks
QUOTE (Andre Nieri @ Jan 3 2013, 04:41 PM) *
Hi mate. This scale is commonly refered as to Phrygian Dominant. I've never seen that Mixolydian (b9 b13) been applied to this scale, although the intervals are the same.


Now, the mixolydian (b13) is the 5th mode of the Melodic Minor scale. This one isn't vastly used, but still a great sounding scale to play.


We refer to it as Mixo (b9 b13) at my school. I do find Phrygian Dominant misleading, but I have to say I also find Mixolydian (b13), Mixolydian (b9 b13) and Mixolydian (b9 #9 b13) easy to mix up as well. Perhaps an alternative name would be better than having another Mixolydian scale.
The Professor
Very fun mode for 7th chords, with a few names that makes it confusing. There's a system of scale names in the jazz world that compares all HM modes to their related major modes. It's great for learning the HM modes as you just alter any major mode you know by one note and you get the related HM mode.

Here are the names if you want to check them out.

HM 1 = Aeolian #7
HM 2 = Locrian #6
HM 3 = Ionian #5
HM 4 = Dorian #4
HM 5 = Phrygian #3
HM 6 = Lydian #2
HM 7 = Mixolydian #1


There's a similar system for naming MM modes that relates them back to major modes with only one note different between the MM mode and related major mode.

MM 1 = Ionian b3
MM 2 = Dorian b2
MM 3 = Phrygian b1
MM 4 = Lydian b7
MM 5 = Mixolydian b6
MM 6 = Aeolian b5
MM 7 = Locrian b4

Those names don't really describe the chords that they produce, but they help learn the HM and MM modes rather quickly as you can just adjust the 7 major modes by one note to create these other scale systems.

Might be worth checking out.
Cosmin Lupu
This looks very interesting smile.gif I had no clue about this system... I have to give it some time and see how it feels smile.gif
casinostrat
QUOTE (Matt Warnock Guitar @ Jan 8 2013, 08:25 PM) *
Very fun mode for 7th chords, with a few names that makes it confusing. There's a system of scale names in the jazz world that compares all HM modes to their related major modes. It's great for learning the HM modes as you just alter any major mode you know by one note and you get the related HM mode.

Here are the names if you want to check them out.

HM 1 = Aeolian #7
HM 2 = Locrian #6
HM 3 = Ionian #5
HM 4 = Dorian #4
HM 5 = Phrygian #3
HM 6 = Lydian #2
HM 7 = Mixolydian #1


There's a similar system for naming MM modes that relates them back to major modes with only one note different between the MM mode and related major mode.

MM 1 = Ionian b3
MM 2 = Dorian b2
MM 3 = Phrygian b1
MM 4 = Lydian b7
MM 5 = Mixolydian b6
MM 6 = Aeolian b5
MM 7 = Locrian b4

Those names don't really describe the chords that they produce, but they help learn the HM and MM modes rather quickly as you can just adjust the 7 major modes by one note to create these other scale systems.

Might be worth checking out.

This is Awesome!!!! smile.gif
The Professor
QUOTE (casinostrat @ Jan 9 2013, 09:38 PM) *
This is Awesome!!!! smile.gif


Yeah, it's great for learning fingerings too. If you know Aeolian, just raise the 7th and you've got 1st mode Harmonic Minor, which makes learning the modes much easier than relearning a new fingering for each scale.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2019 Invision Power Services, Inc.