Modes of Harmonic Minor?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Brad Barker, Feb 11, 2002.

  1. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    anywhere on the internet where I can find some useful info on this?

    preferrably, i'd like fretboard diagrams or interval description (whole-half, etc.).
  2. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Harmonic minor = natural minor with a raised 7th

    1.5 = step and a half or a minor 3rd

    A Harmonic minor

    A B C D E F G# A
  3. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Brad -

    I've got all this stuff written out somewhere, even with fingerboard charts, chord types to use the modes over, the works. I've just not used it much lately (not much harmonic adventure in latin rock bass, I'm afraid). I'll dig around and see if I can root it out. If you like, maybe you can take a drive up to BC one day in the not too distant future, and I can have some copies of it for you.
  4. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Hey!!! You callin' me old?!?!?! :p ;)

    "I learned my theory by my self, dagnabbit. I walked through 4 feet of snow, uphill both ways, to get to the theory tree. And we LIKED it!!! Young punks, don't understand, get it all handed to 'em on the internet. Soft, that's what they are!!!!"


    Excellent link, only thing missing is applications (i.e. chord types). Especially important is the 5th mode (phrygian major), it is the one that "goes with" the V7#5 chord in a minor key. One of the primary reasons for the harmonic minor scale is to preserve the dominant function of the V chord in a minor key, meaning the tendency of the V chord to harmonically "lead" back to the I chord. If I've muddied the waters, lemme know and I'll try to clear it up!
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    The answer is (of course) in the Jazz Theory book, where Mark Levine explains that the harmonic minor scale is seldom used in Jazz because it fits no one particular chord. No matter what chord you choose - at least one note in the scale sounds like an "avoid" note - it clashes!

    So Levine gives examples where Jazz players have taken fragments of the Harmonic Minor scale to make riffs or licks ; but I presume that it is not taught in Jazz as its use in improvising is problematic. You can't just say that this scale fits over this chord as you can with every other chord/scale selection situation.
  6. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    thanks for the link.

    believe it or not, me head DIDN'T explode!

    i like the logical names of these "advanced" modes; simply giving them their std. name with a description of an interval discrepency makes much sense and will make memorization much more simple

    (i first heard about modes of anything other than major/minor in a guitar mag: lydian #5, a specific mode off of the melodic minor scale)

    gard-do i look (or talk) like a guitar player?;) :D

    i'm kidding, of course. even though it is important to know what chords *kinda* sound good over these scales or vice versa (...yeah, most definitely vice versa), i'll save it for later...when i'll need it. ;)

    next up: modes of the "jewish scale" (just kidding: i'll play hava nagila and just leave it at that).