All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
SYOS

II-V-1 in Minor Key

Jonnysaxc2

New Member
Messages
7
I am on my 10000th re-read of the Mark Levine Jazz Theory book. Each time i get a tiny bit further before my brain explodes :)

The section on 2 -5-1 in a minor key, showing how the various chords are created from harmonic minor is very useful.

However, a 2 -5 -1 in a minor key is not derived entirely from modes of the tonic as per in a major key, but rather comes from 3 different scales. What I am struggling with is the Why this is so? Especially as there would be no "avoid" notes in a 2-5-1 that Was all from the same scale?

On the plus side, 496 pages to go!
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,175
However, a 2 -5 -1 in a minor key is not derived entirely from modes of the tonic as per in a major key, but rather comes from 3 different scales. What I am struggling with is the Why this is so? Especially as there would be no "avoid" notes in a 2-5-1 that Was all from the same scale?

Very difficult question. Minor "modes" show the limit of modal analysis. If you manage to get a good classical theory book (Rimsky Korsakov? any more suggestions?) you will see that chords are more important than scales, and the whole V-I thing is a countermovement of 3rd and 7th of the dominant chord: i.e. on a G7 B moves up to C (root) and F moves down to E (major mode) or Eb (minor mode).

Please keep in mind that theory is only a way to make your life easier when you have to compose/improvise, and there is no absolute truth.

On the minor keys (I hope Tenor Viol will help here) in particular, there is no theoretical explanation using natural harmonics, and in the past they had to make up "subharmonics" os symmetric analogies.
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,912
I try not to get bogged down in all the theory/modes stuff, life's to short... just play the damn thing and enjoy it! must admit i do hear lots of things happening now and it can be quite fun to dig out the reference books and find out what it was i just played!
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
But when Miles plays that concert E on Autumn Leaves.....

Which is more important, how it sounds or contributes to the overall performance or a technical explanation of how it works?

I'm fitted with ears not a ll V l minor modal computer running Ubuntu.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Look at it this way.

1 - identify the chord
2 - work out where it's more usually found (parallel key, parallel mode, altered scale, etc. )
3 - tick it off.

Sometimes the theory books throw too much at you too early. The sound comes from breaking conventional rules, it's interesting to analyse. I haven't read the book, but I think what they're trying to do here is make you aware that by stepping outside what's been conventionally accepted in the past, jazz creates diffeerent sounds/tensions. And this is how they do it.

Maybe take that as a placeholder, move on in the book and come back to it again. Unless it's a major stumbling block now.
 

Pete C

Member
Messages
344
Doesn't Levine suggest that you play modes of 3 different melodic minor scales in contrast to modes of the same harmonic minor scale which might be the more traditional approach and depending on precise alterations to the V7 chord. Fact is you have choices:
e.g.
Dm7b5 - mode VI of F melodic minor ascending or mode II of C harmonic minor or mode VII of Eb major (locrian)
G7b9 - 1/2 tone whole tone scale or mode V of C harmonic minor
G7alt - mode VII of Ab melodic minor (altered scale)
Cm maj7 - C harmonic minor or C melodic minor

I mean the ascending form of the melodic minor scales in the above. I'm sure there are other possibilities too. The blues would go a long way on the II V.

IIm7b5 V7alt I minmaj7 is a great sequence for practising all those ascending melodic minor scales
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,175
IIm7b5 V7alt I minmaj7 is a great sequence for practising all those ascending melodic minor scales

That is the point of that concert E in Gminor: If you analize the melody/chords of Autumn Leaves it is a swinging between G minor and Bb major. The E natural is only present in the use of the melodic minor on D7 on the 6th bar.

Miles Davis plays it on the G minor chord: Gm6. A chord that does not reflect a scale in the basic 2/5/1 theory (and it is not a dorian II of Fmaj). If you manage to bin some of the theory you learned and add a 6th to a minor chord, you are in the world of "vertical" harmony, you stop running around frantically playing scales and you think of the sound of notes

Which is more important, how it sounds or contributes to the overall performance or a technical explanation of how it works?

But my ears also evolved, and the technical explanation makes my learning faster (this issue often comes up like an unflushable floating coprolite)
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Jazz started as a "natural" art, if it sounded good, then it was good, if it did not sound good then you learnt that it was not appropriate at that moment. This argument is similar to the Formula One Engineer who knows why, although they are always gaining more knowledge but are unable to drive as fast as the contracted driver. He/she/it feels the car in its current state and makes the most of it. Know who I'd rather be driven by on a circuit.

BTW Al. What is fossilised dung doing in your loo? Even I am not that old.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,175
BTW Al. What is fossilised dung doing in your loo? Even I am not that old.

It has been floating there since the first neanderthal teacher tried to explain the first neanderthal student how the first neanderthal musician hit a rock with a bone (and how rocks must be hit with bones).
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,916
Jazz started as a "natural" art, if it sounded good, then it was good, if it did not sound good then you learnt that it was not appropriate at that moment. This argument is similar to the Formula One Engineer who knows why, although they are always gaining more knowledge but are unable to drive as fast as the contracted driver. He/she/it feels the car in its current state and makes the most of it. Know who I'd rather be driven by on a circuit.

Good analogy. The point (it seems to me) of learning theory is to give you ideas that you can try out in your practice (life is just too short to try every combination of notes over every chord in every song). At this point you're developing your musical language, or "bag", so you're like the engineer. Your practice makes the successful experiments into habits, and when you perform you switch off all the theory and just drive.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
BigMartin (with a name like that, I'd better be careful),

Talking this thread over with an acquaintance, we wondered if these theory books are solely there to make money from the "we know and so are superior society".

Interesting that a virtual non reading trumpeter/cornetist, here's a clue, he snuffed young from syphilis, frequently played 13ths and similar out of the ordinary items all that pre-bop time ago. Doubt if he'd have known what a second was but by golly sir, he could blow most of his contemporaries and a large percentage of the following and present mob off the stage.
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,330
BigMartin (with a name like that, I'd better be careful),

Talking this thread over with an acquaintance, we wondered if these theory books are solely there to make money from the "we know and so are superior society".

Interesting that a virtual non reading trumpeter/cornetist, here's a clue, he snuffed young from syphilis, frequently played 13ths and similar out of the ordinary items all that pre-bop time ago. Doubt if he'd have known what a second was but by golly sir, he could blow most of his contemporaries and a large percentage of the following and present mob off the stage.

I think we have had a similar thread like this before.

I see it like this
There are players who are given the gift to play totally by ear and there are players who don't have this ability at all who can still play great music they just have to approach it with the maths of music i.e. music theory.

Brian
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,175
Interesting that a virtual non reading trumpeter/cornetist, here's a clue, he snuffed young from syphilis, frequently played 13ths and similar out of the ordinary items all that pre-bop time ago. Doubt if he'd have known what a second was but by golly sir, he could blow most of his contemporaries and a large percentage of the following and present mob off the stage.

I guess Bix knew his harmony very well. And Debussy's music.
 

Yanisaxaddict

Member
Messages
64
Aldevis, reading some of your posts has given me a new faith, that not all Jazz orientated musicians live totally by the rules of theory.. The music was there before the theory, although theory can sometimes bring your playing to a higher level. I discovered that when I first began playing 5 years ago, too much theory was thrown at me and it bogged me down. It nearly turned me off jazz, which after all is one of my main loves.. Moderation is the key, I still think you are better off hearing it and checking out the theory at a later stage.. Personally, I prefer to have the emotional connection to the expression as my primary motive... Sorry for the rant ... Thanks for all the great posts!!
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,175
I discovered that when I first began playing 5 years ago, too much theory was thrown at me and it bogged me down. It nearly turned me off jazz, which after all is one of my main loves.

Thank you for your compliments. When something turns you off jazz, sit on the piano and put on a "so what" play-along:
AABA form. White keys/D for the A section, black keys/Eb for the B. Don't ask questions and have some modal fun.
 

Pete C

Member
Messages
344
Just like to point out that the original question in this thread (in the it's all in the mind section) was about the theory of minor II V I s.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,175
I thought I gave my personal answer on post n.2: scale theory does not explain II V I minor progressions. I should start writing about cadenzas and the 3rd inversion of the subdominant chord, but the forum would either insurge or fall asleep.
 

saxplorer

Senior Member
Messages
879
Maybe it frustrates some people, but I love that the threads in this forum sometimes wander off into very different directions from the OP. (Gives an incentive to read threads even if the title is not something that would immediately interest you: you never know what you might find to instruct, inform, or amuse).
 

Pete C

Member
Messages
344
I'm not frustrated that threads wander off, but that any time theory is brought up, there follows an assault on its value: it's like theory is a dirty word or something. I'm sure we all agree that using your ears is paramount and if you aren't interested in theory, that's absolutely fine with me, but I for one, find it interesting and useful. Aldevis, please do start writing about cadenzas and the 3rd inversion of the subdominant chord!
 
Top Bottom