Harmonic minor scale

Discussion in 'Tab & Music Forum' started by Morf2540, Dec 20, 2020.

Do you use the harmonic minor scale?

  1. Yes of course, all the time.

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  2. I know it, but rarely use it.

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  3. What? You mean play the harmonica?

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  1. Morf2540

    Morf2540 Senior Stratmaster

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    How have I played guitar this long and not known about the harmonic minor scale? Have you guys been holding out on me or something? I stumbled onto it accidentally. Seems straightforward. You take a major scale and flat the 3rds and 6ths. b3=m, got it. Knowing this scale now explains some of the weirdo notes I would sometimes come across in learning certain solos. But now that I know what it is, my question is how do you apply it? When do you use it? In the video where I discovered it, the guy was playing something in Am, and when he got to the E chord in the progression he said something like, "we're on the E so now of course we hop over to the harmonic minor scale..." And I'm thinking "huh?" Any tips?
     
  2. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Senior Stratmaster

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    You can view it like the natural minor with a raised 7th.....YJM practically lives on that scale and its modes and classical music along with heavy music on that too....on non english speaking countries though..i think its been used more extensively even on their folk songs....that raised 7th definitely make things more..dramatic if you will....

    The best thing you can do ...is what you would do with any scale....see its construction(its intervals),harmonise the scale(make chords from each degree of the scale just like you would do with the major scale) and find songs that make good use of that and get accustomed to the sound....definately very dramatic and cool sounding scale.
     
  3. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Silver Member

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    `
    It's a niche scale for soloing in most cases.

    In fact, I can't say I really use the Harmonic minor scale for soloing, per se, but rather throw in a note or two every once in a while to add some color if the piece calls for it.

    In other words, I practically never use the Harmonic minor scale specifically, but, more like, while using some other scale I may occasionally (and briefly) throwing in a note (or two) that coincidentally happens to be a part of the Harmonic minor scale.

    Like @Dreamdancer suggested, you have to practice it over chords and get use to the sound, then (the next time a situation feels right) you can add it to make that section of a solo a little more interesting.

    I kind of compare it to something like a "diminished 7th chord", which can often "sound wrong" except in those situations when it "sounds right".

    It's all about recognition and appropriate application...


    `
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020
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  4. jbylake

    jbylake Regular Dude Silver Member

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    Whut? Mirror, homogonized, milk with scales? Hey, I'm a blues player. Don't have a clue what yer talking about, so I think I'll just have a beer.:p
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020
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  5. rafasounds

    rafasounds Senior Stratmaster

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    I find very limited use for it. Sure, if one wants to be Malmsteen, then it's essential. I was introduced to this scale at age 12 by my teacher. At first I was like "wow, this is so cool, so different", everything I played was harmonic minor. Then I found it's such a characteristic thing. Everyone instantly knows the moment you step into that scale. It's hard to use it in non obvious ways. Of course it has its uses and its place in music. Slash is a guy who uses it with good taste; also Blackmore. I haven't played a harmonic minor passage in years. For minor resolutions these days I find the melodic minor more interesting, but not to be soloing on it non-stop; it's more of a passing thing to give some color and conclusion to a minor (or major coming from minor) vamp.

    One of the coolest guitar songs, Misirlou, is in that scale for the most part. This is what I'd call a good use of it, obviously. Dick Dale got the melody from some old European folk tune which he learned from his family.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020
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  6. jbylake

    jbylake Regular Dude Silver Member

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    Although Dick Dale played mostly mainstream "surf music", he had to eat, I think his ideas, and playing skills were ahead of his time. Most people would stare at you with a blank face, including myself, if asked to write a song using harmonic minor, these days. Well, me anyway. I think DD would have moved into Velvet Underground territory, or something similar if it would have been economically viable at the time. I've got to put that song, "Mirisilou" on my bucket list, just for the hell of it. That way, if someone brought this subject up again, over a beer, and someone asked me if I could use it, I could look at them, like, what? Are you serious? Can't everyone?:p
     
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  7. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too.

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    I was working on a song whose solo was in the harmonic minor a while, trying to figure it out by ear. My teacher lit up when I identified the solo as such, maybe out of surprise that I was actually capable of learning this stuff...
    Anywho, I don't even remember off the top of my head which one it was, I'd have to go through my notes from 5 or 6 months ago. It's been that long since I've really used it.
     
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  8. misterwogan

    misterwogan Senior Stratmaster

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    Although I have a very good grasp of scales and modes, I have never understood the point of the abstraction. There are eight notes (including the octave) - I just use which note works best.
     
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  9. montemerrick

    montemerrick no earthly reason why

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    Here's some basics from good old wikipedia:

    Harmony

    The scale is called the harmonic minor scale because it is a common foundation for harmonies (chords) in minor keys. For example, in the key of A minor, the dominant (V) chord (the triad built on the 5th scale degree, E) is a minor triad in the natural minor scale. But when the seventh degree is raised from G♮ to G♯, the triad becomes a major triad.

    Chords on degrees other than V may also include the raised 7th degree, such as the diminished triad on VII itself (viio), which has a dominant function, as well as an augmented triad on III (III+), which is not found in any "natural" harmony (that is, harmony that is derived from harmonizing the seven western modes, which include "major" and "minor"). This augmented fifth chord (♯5 chord) played a part in the development of modern chromaticism.

    The triads built on each scale degree follow a distinct pattern. The roman numeral analysis is shown below.

    An interesting property of the harmonic minor scale is that it contains two chords that are each generated by just one interval:

    1. an augmented triad (III+), which is generated by major thirds
    2. a diminished seventh chord (viio7), which is generated by minor thirds
    Because they are generated by just one interval, the inversions of augmented triads and diminished seventh chords introduce no new intervals (allowing for enharmonic equivalents) that are absent from its root position. That is, any inversion of an augmented triad (or diminished seventh chord) is enharmonically equivalent to a new augmented triad (or diminished seventh chord) in root position. For example, the triad E♭–G–B in first inversion is G–B–E♭, which is enharmonically equivalent to the augmented triad G–B–D♯. One chord, with various spellings, may therefore have various harmonic functions in various keys.

    Uses
    While it evolved primarily as a basis for chords, the harmonic minor with its augmented second is sometimes used melodically. Instances can be found in Mozart, Beethoven (for example, the finale of his String Quartet No. 14), and Schubert (for example, in the first movement of the Death and the Maiden Quartet). In this role, it is used while descending far more often than while ascending. A familiar example of the descending scale is heard in a Ring of bells. A ring of twelve is sometimes augmented with a 5♯ and 6♭ to make a 10 note harmonic minor scale from bell 2 to bell 11 (for example, Worcester Cathedral).[4]

    The harmonic minor is also occasionally referred to as the Mohammedan scale[5] as its upper tetrachord corresponds to the Hijaz jins, commonly found in Middle Eastern music. The harmonic minor scale as a whole is called Nahawand[6] in Arabic nomenclature, as Bûselik Hicaz[7] in Turkish nomenclature, and as an Indian raga, it is called Keeravani/Kirwani.

    The Hungarian minor scale is similar to the harmonic minor scale but with a raised 4th degree. This scale is sometimes also referred to as "Gypsy Run", or alternatively "Egyptian Minor Scale", as mentioned by Miles Davis who describes it in his autobiography as "something that I'd learned at Juilliard".[8]

    In popular music, examples of songs in harmonic minor include Katy B's "Easy Please Me", Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative", and Jazmine Sullivan's "Bust Your Windows". The scale also had a notable influence on heavy metal, spawning a sub-genre known as neoclassical metal, with guitarists such as Chuck Schuldiner, Yngwie Malmsteen, Ritchie Blackmore, and Randy Rhoads employing it in their music.[9]
     
  10. tukoztukoz

    tukoztukoz Strat-O-Master

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    Misirlou is in double harmonic major

    Harmonic minor and jazz manouche...
     
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  11. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Silver Member

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  12. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Member

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    Since I was a kid I've thought that the harmonic minor scale was the creepiest, coolest sounding of the three minor scales, but it's not necessarily the easiest to fit into everyday playing.
     
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  13. Morf2540

    Morf2540 Senior Stratmaster

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    In case anyone's interested, here is the video I stumbled on that referred to this scale:

     
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  14. rafasounds

    rafasounds Senior Stratmaster

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    True, just realized that. The main tune is in double harmonic.

    But there's a B segment where it starts in F and goes down, passing through a D natural, and not sharp. In this segment it's normal harmonic minor (E Mixo 9b6b).
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020
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  15. StummerJoe

    StummerJoe Senior Stratmaster

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    Dick Dale was Lebanese Arab on his father's side, and was exposed to mid-eastern music at a young age.

    Sad the way he died.:( An all time great for sure.:thumb:
     
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  16. Bob Spumoni

    Bob Spumoni Senior Stratmaster

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    The HM sounds wonky, in an interesting way, with that minor third in there. I find the melodic minor, which "fixes" the "problem" more broadly useful, but a little tamer, less "exotic." The various modes of the mm are indispensible.
     
  17. Miotch

    Miotch Senior Stratmaster

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    I have no idea. Maybe sometimes ??
     
  18. rafasounds

    rafasounds Senior Stratmaster

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    Thanks. I was trying to remember the exact nationality, but didn't bother to look it up. Don't know if that is exactly European, but that's where he got the tune from.
     
  19. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Member

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    I like Eric's videos. I've been tempted to visit him for a lesson sometime.
     
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  20. StummerJoe

    StummerJoe Senior Stratmaster

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    LOL Lebanon is between Israel and Syria. That's where he got the song from. The mid-East...even though he grew up in America.:D