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Is harmonic minor worth it?

SopJob

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Hi there, I've got a question I'd like to ask Pete Thomas:
In "Taming the Saxophone Vol. III", there are quite a few exercises that deal with
the harmonic minor scale. It's not the only book; there are others that also recommend
practising harmonic minor. I asked myself which types of chords this scale is useful for,
and had a look an Aebersold Play-A-Long.

Somewhere in the preface, Abersold books list scales and chords that the scales can be used with.
For harmonic minor, I only found minor chords with a major seven: C-^, Cmi^, C-^b6.

There is not a single tune with that type of chord that would come to my mind instantly.
I'd have to look for it.

So why is harmonic minor a recommended exercise? Why should it be practised so
excessively?

Thanks in advance for answers (not only from Pete!)
 

turf3

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The minor third in the harmonic minor is highly useful to add tension. It works especially well over half diminished chords (what is also called m7b5).

The half diminished chord is a very common first chord of a minor 2-5-1 pattern; which patterns are absolutely everywhere in music. As in, Dm7b5, Gm7, Cm.

I use the harmonic minor's note collection all the time.
 
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John Setchell

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The minor third in the harmonic minor is highly useful to add tension. It works especially well over half diminished chords (what is also called m7b5).

The half diminished chord is a very common first chord of a minor 2-5-1 pattern; which patterns are absolutely everywhere in music. As in, Dm7b5, Gm7, Cm.

I use the harmonic minor's note collection all the time.
Lordy!
Pleased I only play Rock & Blues.
 
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Dibbs

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The minor third in the harmonic minor is highly useful to add tension. It works especially well over half diminished chords (what is also called m7b5).

The half diminished chord is a very common first chord of a minor 2-5-1 pattern; which patterns are absolutely everywhere in music. As in, Dm7b5, Gm7, Cm.

I use the harmonic minor's note collection all the time.
Which scale are you recommending for the Dm7b5? C harmonic minor I assume.
It's also usable for the G7 (it's not Gm7 in a minor II V 1) and of course the Cm itself.
 
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Dibbs

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Somewhere in the preface, Abersold books list scales and chords that the scales can be used with.
For harmonic minor, I only found minor chords with a major seven: C-^, Cmi^, C-^b6.
That Aebersold thing is misleading.

7th Chords built from C harmonic minor:

Cm Maj7
Dm7b5
Eb+Maj7
Fm7
G7
Ab maj7
Bdim7
 
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6441

 
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Just as the major 7th sound is recognizable and creates a "feeling" in western music, so does each flavor of minor scale. The harmonic minor is very common in classical music. All of these sounds need to be heard by your musical ear.

 
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Pete Thomas

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Hi there, I've got a question I'd like to ask Pete Thomas:
In "Taming the Saxophone Vol. III", there are quite a few exercises that deal with
the harmonic minor scale. It's not the only book; there are others that also recommend
practising harmonic minor. I asked myself which types of chords this scale is useful for,
and had a look an Aebersold Play-A-Long.

Somewhere in the preface, Abersold books list scales and chords that the scales can be used with.
For harmonic minor, I only found minor chords with a major seven: C-^, Cmi^, C-^b6.
My policy is to ignore everything to do with Aebersold, a great source of misinformation and confusion.

C harmonic minor is often used with any 2 5 1 in C, whether resolving to C major aor C minor.

It obviously has the notes of Dø7 G7 (b9) C minor so works very well. But many great jazz players also use it with a major
2 5 1 , ie Dm7 G7 C.

The fact that the Eb and Ab may appear to clash is irrelevant when used in context, as it can give a blues feel. As we know blues can often use minor over major but always take account of the context

Charlie Parker:
min.jpg
 
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ellinas

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I love to feel the harmonic minor as 2 chords a Minor I and and a diminshed II.
This way i can really use it in improvisation without sounding weird.
Dexter does it all the time... I found out this use by transcribing by ear.
Lots of diminshed phenomena in jazz often neglected in jazz pedagogy.
 
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BigMartin

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It obviously has the notes of Dø7 G7 (b9) C minor so works very well. But many great jazz players also use it with a major
2 5 1 , ie Dm7 G7 C.
Cool! It's my go-to sound on a minor 2 5 1. Hadn't thought to try it on major, but I will now.
 
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6441

 
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Someone once said, "A scale? That's just a way up and a way down." Theory serves as a guide, but in the end, it sounds right to you or it doesn't. It's more about intervals, the distance between two notes. It's worth thinking about the next jump from one to the next.
 
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