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A question...

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Howard K, May 14, 2004.

  1. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Hi Steve
    I figured you'd be able to help clarify this for me...

    Harmonic (or melodic) minor... the seventh is raised so that when the scale is harmonised, the derived V chord is a dominant creating stronger resolve to the I chord...

    E.g. A natural minor, A B C D E F G, the ii-V-i is: B-7b5 / E-7 / A-7

    Then, by sharpening the 7th degree of the scale, A B C D E F G#, you get: B-7b5 / E7 / A-M7

    I understand how a stronger resolve is created by the downward chromatic movement of the 3rd in the V chord E G# B D, to the 7th of the tonic, A C E G

    And I can see how you could use certain harmonic or melodic minor modes to play over minor ii-V-i's...

    But I'm having difficulty understanding why min/maj7, and harmonic minor, would be used as a tonic? Surely this then reduces the natural resolve between the two chords as there is no chromatic movement in the defining chord tones??

    I understand the scale exsits to create the true V-i resolve, but i dont see why you would use a min/maj7 tonic? Other than perhaps cause it sounds stronger than just a regular minor?

    Oh, also, while I'm at it... I read the word "cadence" used quite a lot in reference to this kind of thing... what, specifically does it mean? :)

    hope that's not all too much to write about? :rolleyes: and hope all is going well :)

    cheers muchly
  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    using harmonic or melodic minor scales for an entire piece is just a way of giving it a different flavour - the harmonic minor scale has a very middle eastern sound to it, thanks to the Minor third between the 6th and 7th degrees, and the Melodic Minor (in jazz, it's just used in it's ascending form, which is like a major scale but with a flattened third) is just a different tonality, used a fair bit by Chick Corea, Patitucci etc.

    Try harmonsing the melodic minor scale, stacking thirds against it, and then play with it for a while - it sounds really dissonant at first, but you soon get used to it. :)

    a Cadence is just a set chords that signals an end, either temporarily or finally. In classical music there are different designations of cadence - perfect, imperfect, plagal etc. in jazz it's nearly always some variation on a ii V I

  3. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    That's cool :)

    Well, this is what I've been doing, playing about with these chords and modes... there's indeed some right tasty ones in there.

    You mean augmented 2nd :i'mbeingatosser: :D

  4. For anyone else who might misunderstand - an augmented 2nd and a minor third are both 3 semitones apart, however they are different in that a second is used to describe a separation of one degree of the scale, while a third is used to describe a separation of two degrees of a scale.

    So in A harmonic minor, the distance between the 6th and 7th (F and G#) is an augmented 2nd since they are adjacent on the scale. Another way of looking at it is that the natural minor has F and G as the 6th and 7th, which is a major 2nd, so increasing the gap makes it an augmented 2nd.

    A minor third is a major third reduced by a semitone.

    Simple way to remember:

    Minor --- (+1) --- Major --- (+1) --- Augmented
    Diminished --- (+1) --- Perfect --- (+1) --- Augmented

    Perfect applies to 4ths (5 semitones), 5ths (7 semitones) and octaves (12 semitones). Major applies to 2nds, 3rd, 6ths and 7ths.

    So Howard was being a tosser / pedantic prick, but he was right. :)

    life, photography & music
  5. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Delicately well put :D