major/minor harmonized scale

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by flavorengine, May 6, 2015.

  1. flavorengine

    flavorengine Member

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    Hi folks

    Could someone please share some links or threads here on TGP that explain the major/minor harmonized scales.

    And explain tonics and dominants within the scales.

    And memory tricks/techniques to remember orders and sequences.

    In initially delving into this, I immediately recognized ABB "Melissa" as a derivative of the HMS. I'm sure there are many many more examples.


    Practice on, Wayne
     
  2. JonR

    JonR Member

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    The idea is that you take each note of the scale, call that a chord "root", and then add the 3rd and 5th notes up the scale from there. So if you start with the C major scale, from the C note, you get C-E-G, which gives you a C major triad. Start from the D, you get D-F-A, which is a D minor triad.
    The different chord types are caused by the fact the scale is an irregular structure of whole steps and half-steps, so the distances between the chord tones vary.
    Here's a chart which will hopefully show how it works:

    HARMONISED MAJOR SCALE
    Code:
     Half-steps: |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  | 
    Major scale: C     D     E  F     G     A     B  C     D     E  F 
    CHORDS:
      I = C      C  .  .  .  E  .  .  G
     ii = Dm           D  .  .  F  .  .  .  A
    iii = Em                 E  .  .  G  .  .  .  B
     IV = F                     F  .  .  .  A  .  .  C
      V = G                           G  .  .  .  B  .  .  D
     vi = Am                                A  .  .  C  .  .  .  E
    vii = Bdim                                    B  .  .  D  .  .  F
    You can see that the major chords (C, F, G) have 4 half-steps between their root and their "3rd" (the next note up), while the minors (Dm, Em, Am) have only 3 half-steps between root and 3rd.
    This is actually where the chord names major and minor come from! "Major" means "bigger", and refers to the 3rd "interval" (pair of notes, root-3rd). "Minor" means "smaller".
    The intervals between root and 5th are the same for all these first six chords: 7 half-steps, which is known as a "perfect 5th".

    The last chord is a special case. It has a minor 3rd (B-F), but more importantly its 5th interval (distance from root to 5th, B-F) is only six half-steps. A half-step less than perfect is known as "diminished", so the interval B-F is a "diminished 5th".
    While perfect 5ths sound strong, smooth and pure, diminished 5ths sound very dissonant and distinctive, which is why the 5th gives its name to the vii chord: a "diminished" triad. (All diminished chords have a minor 3rd, so we don't need to mention that.)

    Remember we don't need to consider the distance between the 3rd and 5th of any chord - not when naming them anyway. It's all about counting from the root. (So you might spot that a C chord has a "minor 3rd" between E and G. Forget it! It's the C-E major 3rd and C-G perfect 5th that matter.)

    All the above chords are what is known as "diatonic to" (within or belonging to) the C major KEY. Any song in the key of C major will probably feature most of them (C, F, G, Am most likely). That doesn't mean you'll find no other chords in a C major key song! Chords can be "borrowed" from other keys, for certain dramatic effects.

    HARMONISED MINOR SCALES

    When it comes to minor scales, there are three kinds - or rather one kind whose 6th and 7th degrees are variable.

    NATURAL MINOR is a mode of the major scale, meaning the chords we get from it are all the same as from the major scale. We just number them differently. So the "A natural minor" scale (aka A aeolian mode) has all the same chords as C major, we just call Am "I" (or lower case "i"), and number all the other chords from there (Bdim = ii, C = III, etc).

    HARMONIC MINOR is the natural minor scale with a raised 7th degree. Only one note is changed, so some of the chords will stay the same as for natural minor, but any chord that includes that 7th note will of course be different. Here's the chart for A HARMONIC MINOR:
    Code:
    Half-steps: |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |
    SCALE       A  .  B  C  .  D  .  E  F  .  .  G# A  .  B  C  .  D
    CHORDS:        
      i = Am    A  .  .  C  .  .  .  E  
     ii = Bdim        B  .  .  D  .  .  F
    III = Caug           C  .  .  .  E  .  .  .  G#
     iv = Dm                   D  .  .  F  .  .  .  A
      V = E                          E  .  .  .  G# .  .  B
     VI = F                             F  .  .  .  A  .  .  C
    vii = G#dim7                                 G# .  .  B  .  .  D
    The III chord is an "augmented" triad, so-called because its 5th is a half-step larger than perfect, which is known as an "augmented 5th". (Augmented chords always have a major 3rd.)

    Songs in the A MINOR KEY will probably feature chords from both the A natural minor scale, and A harmonic minor. The most common one from harmonic minor is the major V chord, E. You'll more likely find a C chord than a Caug. (Even within a song, the scale is variable, and the tune might use G or G# at different times.)

    Chords can be harmonised from MELODIC MINOR, but this is really only of interest to jazz musicians!
    A melodic minor = A B C D E F# G#.
    (You might be able to work out your own harmonised scale from that - what difference does the F# make to any chord that includes it?)

    We can go on from TRIADS to SEVENTH CHORDS, which simply means adding the 7th note up the scale from the root (to make a root-3-5-7 chord). This produces another set of chord types.... but make sure you understand the above process first.

    Also check out stevel's "music theory made simple" stickie series! (Essential reading)
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  3. flavorengine

    flavorengine Member

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    Exactly what i needed.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and time.
     
  4. 9fingers

    9fingers Supporting Member

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    Great explanation Jon, thanks!
     
  5. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Covered in lots of theory books and guitar specific books. Get yourself Chord Chemistry perhaps.
     
  6. kirk95

    kirk95 Jazz Lines You Can Use in the Blues Silver Supporting Member

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    This charts is really cool! Is this manual or is there a program that makes these? I have never seen this before??
     
  7. monstergrips

    monstergrips Member

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    @JonR - That is a really good write-up!
     
  8. cameron

    cameron Member

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    I suspect Jon used the mysterious technology known as "typing".

    He may, however, have typed it some time in the past and used the mystic machination known as "copy and paste" to insert it into his post.
     
  9. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Damn my secret's out... and I forgot to patent it....
    :(
     
  10. flavorengine

    flavorengine Member

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    Heck, patent the Harmonized Major Scale. Why not? They patent seeds now.

    Just think of the royalties!
     
  11. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    George Van Eps Guitar Method.. the old one, is good introduction. If you feel brave ..his Harmonic Mechanisms.
     

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