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Different kinds of minor scales

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Marion 22 Apr 01 - 11:51 PM
Sorcha 23 Apr 01 - 12:07 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 23 Apr 01 - 12:59 AM
wysiwyg 23 Apr 01 - 02:30 AM
Sorcha 23 Apr 01 - 12:16 PM
M.Ted 23 Apr 01 - 02:22 PM
hesperis 23 Apr 01 - 02:45 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 23 Apr 01 - 07:02 PM
Bernard 24 Apr 01 - 05:10 PM
Zebedee 24 Apr 01 - 05:51 PM
M.Ted 24 Apr 01 - 09:08 PM
Bernard 25 Apr 01 - 02:57 PM
M.Ted 26 Apr 01 - 12:01 PM
Bernard 26 Apr 01 - 02:08 PM
M.Ted 26 Apr 01 - 06:11 PM
Bernard 26 Apr 01 - 08:26 PM
M.Ted 27 Apr 01 - 01:41 PM
Bernard 27 Apr 01 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,#1 27 Apr 01 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Apr 01 - 12:28 AM
Bernard 28 Apr 01 - 09:58 AM
M.Ted 28 Apr 01 - 11:59 AM
M.Ted 28 Apr 01 - 02:37 PM
M.Ted 28 Apr 01 - 02:37 PM
Bernard 28 Apr 01 - 03:55 PM
M.Ted 28 Apr 01 - 06:03 PM
Lena 29 Apr 01 - 10:31 AM
Bernard 29 Apr 01 - 11:45 AM
M.Ted 29 Apr 01 - 12:42 PM
NH Dave 29 Apr 01 - 01:27 PM
Bernard 29 Apr 01 - 02:17 PM
Bernard 29 Apr 01 - 02:20 PM
GUEST 13 Nov 10 - 05:00 AM
Lox 13 Nov 10 - 05:30 AM
Lox 13 Nov 10 - 05:36 AM
Lox 13 Nov 10 - 05:46 AM
Richard Bridge 13 Nov 10 - 06:25 AM
The Sandman 13 Nov 10 - 06:35 AM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Nov 10 - 06:56 AM
Tootler 13 Nov 10 - 08:45 AM
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The Sandman 13 Nov 10 - 09:04 AM
Lox 13 Nov 10 - 10:22 AM
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Artful Codger 13 Nov 10 - 11:58 AM
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Jack Campin 13 Nov 10 - 01:14 PM
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Subject: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Marion
Date: 22 Apr 01 - 11:51 PM

OK, I always thought that minor scales were not unlike major scales, a series of seven notes with fixed intervals between them - and that A minor had the same notes as C major, for example.

Now as I review my classical theory, I find that there's a difference between the notes in a harmonic minor scale and a melodic minor scale, and that melodic minor scale has different accidentals depending on whether it's going up or down.

Are these distinctions relevant to folk music? If not, which one is the minor scale we use? If we do have different minor scales, how are they used in playing?

How literally are "harmonic" and "melodic" meant? I mean, if a fiddle and guitar-chorder are playing together in a minor key, does the fiddler use the melodic minor and the guitar use the harmonic minor - so that for one degree (can't remember which) one player would be playing it natural and the other playing it sharped? And as for the up vs. down thing - how do you know if you're going up or down when playing a melody, not just a scale? Is it just the preceding note that determines the direction?

This is confusing.

Marion


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Sorcha
Date: 23 Apr 01 - 12:07 AM

Yes, it is confusing, Marion. Most "folk/trad" tunes or songs use the Aeolian/harmonic (true) minor, but there is also the Dorian minor or the Mixolydian (almost minor). Try and sort through the Modes for Mudcatters thread.....

(Is sychronicity in High Gear lately? Why do we have so many threads relating to "modes" again?--just a dumb question....)

(*BG* here----L. Ron Hubbard, where are you when we need you?)


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 23 Apr 01 - 12:59 AM

Minor/Aeolian, melodic minor, harmonic minor, and other seven notes scales adjacent (Dorian and Phrygian) as well as the closely related hexatoinc and pentatonic modes are given in the MODES file on my website. See also Jack Campin's website for a different approach to the subject with ABCs for examples (click to it from my homepage, or my modes file)


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: wysiwyg
Date: 23 Apr 01 - 02:30 AM

Sorcha, I think I started it with "OK, Where's the Damn Melody??" and "Mountain Modal Tuning?" I must have touched on something that has been bugging a lot of people, and made it OK to ask about it.

As far as the MODES thread, I did print it to study, but you know sometimes it takes numerous rounds on info like that before it sinks in... so please be patient with all of us who keep asking. We WILL get it, only it will be one at a time, and every time one of us gets it, someone else will come along who hasn;t gotten it yet!

If you get in the car right now you can get here for our Gathering and run a modes class. Come on over?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Sorcha
Date: 23 Apr 01 - 12:16 PM

I wish, sooz, I wish. Right now, tho, ALL roads out of here are closed because of snow. Yes, SNOW!! We had a blizzard last nite, got 5" of the crap......maybe I'll move to Alaska.......

(I didn't mean to sound cranky with my question--if I did, I'm sorry, I know it's a difficult subject)


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Apr 01 - 02:22 PM

Sorcha, It is true that you are more likely to find an aeolian minor scale rather than a harmonic minor scale in folk music, anything else you might say depends entirely on where the music you are listening to comes from. Eastern European folk music tends use a wide variety of minor scales, some derived from church modes and some from the older hexachords, and some from Turkish scales(which use a completely different system of intervals than we do)--and once you move into non-european folk musics, the rules of major and minor don't even come into play--even in the British Isles/North American traditions that we tend to talk about, there are a lot of variations on the scales, examples of which Bruce O has offered up, above--

Even the minor melodies that we are familiar with have often been modified so that they can be played and arranged as more mainstream western music----


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: hesperis
Date: 23 Apr 01 - 02:45 PM

Um, Bruce... where is your website?


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 23 Apr 01 - 07:02 PM

Bruce O's website


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Bernard
Date: 24 Apr 01 - 05:10 PM

Best example of 'Harmonic Minor' in a folk tune is Hava Nagila...

As for the Melodic Minor, try 'Staines Morris' - track 5 (side A if vinyl!) of 'Morris On'. The tune really does use the ascending and descending forms...


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Zebedee
Date: 24 Apr 01 - 05:51 PM

Marion,

I don't know if this will be helpful or not.

Use the notes that sound right to you

There isn't a 'right'in folk. It's anything you want it to be. And the songs belong to you.

Ed


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: M.Ted
Date: 24 Apr 01 - 09:08 PM

Bernard,--play the melody and you will see that, the scale is a major scale, with a flatted second in it--a middle eastern scale, C-Db-E-G-A-Bb-C--one of several different turkish makam in the Hijaz family, I think


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Bernard
Date: 25 Apr 01 - 02:57 PM

Oh no it ain't!

The notes of the melody are (in order of appearance)

E F G# A B C D E

The final cadence of the melody is 'Perfect' (V-I), leading note (G#) to tonic (A), making it A harmonic Minor.

Maybe the Hijaz family are dysfunctional (like the Simpsons)...

Don't get me wrong - I understand what you are trying to say, but you avoided my point!!

I said 'the best example of', meaning that this tune has all the notes of the Harmonic Minor, and finishes on its tonic. Admittedly the tune is from a different musical culture, but it is still a harmonic minor scale in a folk melody. No matter which way you look at it.

Ooops! Were you referring to Staines Morris? I sincerely hope not!! Very dangerous territory!! My Morris bells are quivering already!!

;o)

MIDI file: HAVANAG.MID

Timebase: 120

TimeSig: 4/4 24 8
Key: C
Tempo: 100 (600000 microsec/crotchet)
Name: Ac. Steel Guitar
Start
0000 1 52 080 0120 0 52 000 0000 1 52 080 0180 0 52 000 0000 1 56 080 0060 0 56 000 0000 1 53 080 0060 0 53 000 0000 1 52 080 0060 0 52 000 0000 1 56 080 0120 0 56 000 0000 1 56 080 0180 0 56 000 0000 1 59 080 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 57 080 0060 0 57 000 0000 1 56 080 0060 0 56 000 0000 1 57 080 0120 0 57 000 0000 1 57 080 0180 0 57 000 0000 1 60 080 0060 0 60 000 0000 1 59 080 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 57 080 0060 0 57 000 0000 1 56 080 0060 0 56 000 0000 1 56 080 0020 0 56 000 0000 1 57 080 0020 0 57 000 0000 1 56 080 0020 0 56 000 0000 1 53 080 0060 0 53 000 0000 1 52 080 0060 0 52 000 0000 1 52 080 0240 0 52 000 0000 1 52 080 0120 0 52 000 0000 1 52 080 0180 0 52 000 0000 1 56 080 0060 0 56 000 0000 1 53 080 0060 0 53 000 0000 1 52 080 0060 0 52 000 0000 1 56 080 0120 0 56 000 0000 1 56 080 0180 0 56 000 0000 1 59 080 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 57 080 0060 0 57 000 0000 1 56 080 0060 0 56 000 0000 1 57 080 0120 0 57 000 0000 1 57 080 0180 0 57 000 0000 1 60 080 0060 0 60 000 0000 1 59 080 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 57 080 0060 0 57 000 0000 1 56 080 0060 0 56 000 0000 1 56 080 0020 0 56 000 0000 1 57 080 0020 0 57 000 0000 1 56 080 0020 0 56 000 0000 1 53 080 0060 0 53 000 0000 1 52 080 0060 0 52 000 0000 1 52 080 0240 0 52 000 0000 1 56 080 0060 0 56 000 0000 1 56 080 0120 0 56 000 0000 1 53 080 0060 0 53 000 0000 1 52 080 0060 0 52 000 0000 1 52 080 0060 0 52 000 0000 1 52 080 0120 0 52 000 0000 1 53 080 0060 0 53 000 0000 1 53 080 0120 0 53 000 0000 1 52 080 0060 0 52 000 0000 1 50 080 0060 0 50 000 0000 1 50 080 0060 0 50 000 0000 1 50 080 0120 0 50 000 0000 1 50 080 0120 0 50 000 0000 1 53 080 0080 0 53 000 0000 1 52 080 0040 0 52 000 0000 1 50 080 0120 0 50 000 0000 1 57 080 0120 0 57 000 0000 1 56 080 0060 0 56 000 0000 1 56 080 0020 0 56 000 0000 1 57 080 0020 0 57 000 0000 1 56 080 0020 0 56 000 0000 1 53 080 0060 0 53 000 0000 1 52 080 0060 0 52 000 0000 1 52 080 0240 0 52 000 0000 1 56 080 0060 0 56 000 0000 1 56 080 0120 0 56 000 0000 1 53 080 0060 0 53 000 0000 1 52 080 0060 0 52 000 0000 1 52 080 0060 0 52 000 0000 1 52 080 0120 0 52 000 0000 1 53 080 0060 0 53 000 0000 1 53 080 0120 0 53 000 0000 1 52 080 0060 0 52 000 0000 1 50 080 0060 0 50 000 0000 1 50 080 0060 0 50 000 0000 1 50 080 0120 0 50 000 0000 1 50 080 0120 0 50 000 0000 1 53 080 0080 0 53 000 0000 1 52 080 0040 0 52 000 0000 1 50 080 0120 0 50 000 0000 1 57 080 0120 0 57 000 0000 1 56 080 0060 0 56 000 0000 1 56 080 0020 0 56 000 0000 1 57 080 0020 0 57 000 0000 1 56 080 0020 0 56 000 0000 1 53 080 0060 0 53 000 0000 1 52 080 0060 0 52 000 0000 1 52 080 0240 0 52 000 0000 1 57 100 0240 0 57 000 0000 1 57 100 0240 0 57 000 0000 1 57 100 0120 0 57 000 0000 1 57 100 0120 0 57 000 0000 1 57 100 0120 0 57 000 0000 1 57 100 0120 0 57 000 0000 1 57 100 0060 0 57 000 0000 1 57 100 0060 0 57 000 0000 1 60 100 0090 0 60 000 0000 1 59 100 0030 0 59 000 0000 1 57 100 0060 0 57 000 0000 1 60 100 0060 0 60 000 0000 1 59 100 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 57 100 0060 0 57 000 0000 1 57 100 0060 0 57 000 0000 1 57 100 0060 0 57 000 0000 1 60 100 0090 0 60 000 0000 1 59 100 0030 0 59 000 0000 1 57 100 0060 0 57 000 0000 1 60 100 0060 0 60 000 0000 1 59 100 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 57 100 0060 0 57 000 0000 1 59 100 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 59 100 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 62 100 0090 0 62 000 0000 1 60 100 0030 0 60 000 0000 1 59 100 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 62 100 0060 0 62 000 0000 1 60 100 0060 0 60 000 0000 1 59 100 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 59 100 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 59 100 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 62 100 0090 0 62 000 0000 1 60 100 0030 0 60 000 0000 1 59 100 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 62 100 0060 0 62 000 0000 1 60 100 0060 0 60 000 0000 1 59 100 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 59 100 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 59 100 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 64 100 0120 0 64 000 0000 1 59 100 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 59 100 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 64 100 0120 0 64 000 0000 1 52 100 0120 0 52 000 0000 1 52 100 0120 0 52 000 0000 1 60 100 0060 0 60 000 0000 1 59 100 0060 0 59 000 0000 1 57 100 0060 0 57 000 0000 1 56 100 0060 0 56 000 0000 1 57 100 0480 0 57 000
End

This program is worth the effort of learning it.

To download the March 10 MIDItext 98 software and get instructions on how to use it click here

ABC format:

X:1
T:Ac. Steel Guitar
M:4/4
Q:1/4=100
K:C
E,2E,3^G,F,E,|^G,2^G,3B,A,^G,|A,2A,3CB,A,|
^G,^G,/4A,/2^G,/4F,E,E,4|E,2E,3^G,F,E,|^G,2^G,3B,A,^G,|
A,2A,3CB,A,|^G,^G,/4A,/2^G,/4F,E,E,4|^G,^G,2F,E,E,E,2|
F,F,2E,D,D,D,2|D,2F,5/4E,3/4D,2A,2|^G,^G,/4A,/2^G,/4F,E,E,4|
^G,^G,2F,E,E,E,2|F,F,2E,D,D,D,2|D,2F,5/4E,3/4D,2A,2|
^G,^G,/4A,/2^G,/4F,E,E,4|A,4A,4|A,2A,2A,2A,2|
A,A,C3/2B,/2A,CB,A,|A,A,C3/2B,/2A,CB,A,|B,B,D3/2C/2B,DCB,|
B,B,D3/2C/2B,DCB,|B,B,E2B,B,E2|E,2E,2CB,A,^G,|
A,8||


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Apr 01 - 12:01 PM

I am sorry that we seem to be operating a cross purposes here--your point is certainly correct, the song does have the notes of a harmonic minor scale--and I probably should have left it at that, since you were really looking for an example (rather, at least one presumes, than an arguement) to clarify a good point. Also your key is the preferred key for playing--I tend to move things into keys of C when I am talking about the intervals and such things, as people find it easier to understand--

Another good example of a tune with this other scale is the tune "Miserlou"--

When you think of these tunes as coming out of a major scale with a flatted second and flatted sixth, it brings out particularly interesting facet of these tunes,though this is only from a guitar player's perspective--Which is that the A) melodies of both these tunes can be played(and chordally accompanied) working from a closed F-chord position X--X-3-2-1-1 and the same position up a half step,(of course, you need to use a couple extensions). Hava Nagila, generally beginning on E,would start with the chord position on the twelvth fret,moving on the change to the thirteenth fret, while Miserlou, usually beginning on a D, would start on the tenth fret, moving to the eleventh--

Both songs were standards with those 60's surf-music derived guitar instrumental bands because they were very exotic sounding, but surprisingly easy to play--

An example of the melodic minor scale (though not a surf rock standard) is "The Anniversary Waltz", which also gives a nice example of a change to a major key--


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Bernard
Date: 26 Apr 01 - 02:08 PM

Yup! That was all I was saying! The problem is the language barrier - two nations divided by one language!!

Oh, and Am is the key of C if I'm to accept that Em is the key of G... (cough, cough!!)

Ooh, wicked me - couldn't resist that one. Sorreee!

;o)


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Apr 01 - 06:11 PM

I think I missed a joke at my expense, as I am not sure where Am was mentioned--oh well, I guess I am getting old.

As per your comment about two nations divided by one languaage, you'll have to admit that it gives a bit of life to otherwise fairly mundane discussions.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Bernard
Date: 26 Apr 01 - 08:26 PM

Eggcisely!

Confuses the hell out of some 'Catters, though!


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: M.Ted
Date: 27 Apr 01 - 01:41 PM

Since it is near the end of the thread, maybe I can say this without fear of getting into too much trouble, but my experience has been that there a few around here who make a point of confusing everything!


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Bernard
Date: 27 Apr 01 - 01:45 PM

Confucius he say: 'Woman who boils cabbage and peas in same pot very unhygenic..."


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: GUEST,#1
Date: 27 Apr 01 - 01:49 PM

M. Ted, that's cause it started out as a general music thread and ended up a 12 tone instrument thread.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Apr 01 - 12:28 AM

I learned about the harmonic and melodic minors in piano lessons and thought at the time (the close of the Neolithic) that those were totally unhelpful names.

Our group uses the terms "ordinary minor" and "erotic minor". In Am, the ordinary minor is A B C D E F G A. The erotic minor is A B C D E F G# A. If you play these two scales, you will see why we named them that. We find that tunes in the erotic minor are usually a hit with us and with the public. Although the scale seems to say "belly dance," tunes in the erotic minor occur from the Middle East to the Utah state line. (I'm not sure about Colorado.)

The romantic composers (Chopin-Debussy types) went in for a so-called scale which was minor one way and major the other, but I think that is just another thing that makes their music so muddy.

And pipers seem to favor music that has C one time and C# the other, but I don't know whether this is how they want the music to sound or if it is something required by the mechanics of the bagpipe. No doubt someone here knows.

As for modes, you can play any piece of music in the world without knowing about them, so why bother? In my experience, modes are outmoded.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Bernard
Date: 28 Apr 01 - 09:58 AM

Ieeneia - I couldn't agree more!!

Labels are given to things after they have been in use for some considerable time, and they often overlap.

Unfortunately, some people can only learn music by having labels to guide them, which is why they are needed. They should also provide a common ground for discussion, but, as we've seen, we often find ourselves talking about the same thing, using different labels, and getting very confused!

Music is a living language, changing all the time. This, in itself, means that the terminology will change with use. Most of the terminology I 'preach' as a teacher is that which has remained unchanged for a few hundred years, being established by 'classical' composers.

Few people realise that 'bar lines' are a relatively modern notational concept - J.S. Bach, for example, was one of the first composers to start using them. Bach was also predominantly an improviser (extemporiser) in the spirit of modern 'pop' performers - he frequently wrote the music down after he had performed it, or got his pupils to do it for him.

Nothing in music is 'wrong' as such - personal preference is a more appropriate view. We know what is personally acceptable, what is a poor perfomance, and what sends shivers up our spine.

All that matters is our own enjoyment - but performers do have an obligation to their audience. However, music theory is often of no interest to the listener, despite the hours (even years) spent by the performer in the learning of his/her 'craft'.

A balance is needed, but in a thread (discussion) of a technical nature, technical terms (labels) are often a 'necessary evil'.

Hmmmm....


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: M.Ted
Date: 28 Apr 01 - 11:59 AM

Every generation of of composers(and songwriters, etc) wants to do something unique, so they take what they know and add "new" elements" to it, because new elements create new possibilities--It happens with folk/traditional music too--The thing is that the "new" stuff usually comes from somewhere else, and has its own rules and names--makes it hard for people trying to learn


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: M.Ted
Date: 28 Apr 01 - 02:37 PM

The subject of modes is a touchy one too--they talk about modes a lot when they teach Jazz, particularly Jazz guitar, and they use the mode names, Dorian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aolian, etc. Here is a quote from "Patterns, Scales, and Modes for Jazz Guitar" by Arnie Berle, who is widely known because of his instruction column in Guitar Player magazine--

"One of the most interesting things about the major scale is that each note within the scale is also the first note in a completely new scale called a mode."

Well, anyone who has studied music theory will have a lot of trouble with that statement, and yet, if you learn the scales and fingerings that he teaches, they are extremely useful in playing (and understanding) jazz--But the problems start when someone who has been listening to Appalachian dulcimer music starts reading a jazz guitar book, is confused, so asks a friend who teaches piano--


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: M.Ted
Date: 28 Apr 01 - 02:37 PM

The subject of modes is a touchy one too--they talk about modes a lot when they teach Jazz, particularly Jazz guitar, and they use the mode names, Dorian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aolian, etc. Here is a quote from "Patterns, Scales, and Modes for Jazz Guitar" by Arnie Berle, who is widely known because of his instruction column in Guitar Player magazine--

"One of the most interesting things about the major scale is that each note within the scale is also the first note in a completely new scale called a mode."

Well, anyone who has studied music theory will have a lot of trouble with that statement, and yet, if you learn the scales and fingerings that he teaches, they are extremely useful in playing (and understanding) jazz--But the problems start when someone who has been listening to Appalachian dulcimer music starts reading a jazz guitar book, is confused, so asks a friend who teaches piano--


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Bernard
Date: 28 Apr 01 - 03:55 PM

If you want to be really confused, try here!!

You will only understand it if you already understand it... mmmm...


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: M.Ted
Date: 28 Apr 01 - 06:03 PM

That is amazing! Another entry for the "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here" folder!


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Lena
Date: 29 Apr 01 - 10:31 AM

I sung in a Gregorian Choir for a while(ome of those churchy habits we never got rid of,in Italy...),and I can clearly remember,by reading the scores,(by the way,the three types of writing music used for gregorian are so much more complete when it comes down to voice!!)the total absence of a scale...no tonics,no ways back to the first note,no sense of gravity.

Debussy's scale wasn't muddy,just suspended.He used exatonal scales,where there is a tone interval between note and note.It takes off those comfortable points like the sensible,the dominant,and so on.He used to say something like "the architecture is there,but don't you go looking for the pillars holding it:i got rid of them".But a lot of European folk music was already liberated from the gravity point,leaving it all to the feeling and not to the prettiness.

And by the way,I've always been told the contrary about Bach.I was told he approached music like a matematician,calculating cause-effect in his passages and such.He tought music,wrote it down,then would come the execution.Music that not only was beautiful to hear and to play,but even to look at.Ever noticed haw cute a score from Bach looks like?!I can hardly believe it an improvisation.Especially after playing it(I was going trough one of his suites today,wondering how long it took him to combine certain balances on the staff),I hear in Bach a very cerebral project,not an improvisation!!!But he's a decomposed composer now and who knows how his music was written,if it was improvised or not....


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Bernard
Date: 29 Apr 01 - 11:45 AM

Bach's mentor was Buxtehude - so much so that he walked miles just to hear him play (no public transport!). Much of Bach's music owes its style to Buxtehude to some degree.

It's certainly true that Bach was a 'mathematically perfect' musician, but all good improvisers (or, in Bach's case 'extemporiser' would be more accurate) gradually evolve their compositions over a period of time, based upon buiilding blocks of what are now called 'riffs'.

An extemporiser takes a known melody, then takes off in another direction - his chorale preludes, for example. He was one of the last great polyphonic composers - where the melodies in the 'parts' could stand alone, they weren't just filling in the harmony.

It is well documented that the famous 'Toccata and Fugue' was essentially an improvisation (not an extemporisaton this time!) which evolved into the piece we now know. That is one of the reasons why the fugue doesn't follow his normally fairly rigid structure. He apparently used it as a test piece to 'try out the lungs' of newly built organs.

His fugues, in the main, were not improvised - they were carefully worked out; they only represent a very small portion of his work, however.

Sorry - I'm going off on a very wild thread creep here, but Bach has always been dear to me, as I am also a church organist... extemporisation is an essential part of our craft!


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: M.Ted
Date: 29 Apr 01 - 12:42 PM

Bernard,

You mentioned that polyphonic music faded away after Bach, and it always struck me that this might have been due (at least in some measure) to the emergence of the piano as the weapon of choice for composers. It has also occurred to me that the organ lends itself more to extemporization (and improvisation) than the piano--your comments on whether this is so, and why it might be so?


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: NH Dave
Date: 29 Apr 01 - 01:27 PM

The simplest discussion of modes I ever heard was done by Howie Mitchel on the record/cassette that accompanied his book on building and playing The Mountain Dulcimer . . . or vice versa that Sandy and Caroline used to sell. Then coded FSI-29. It was getting scarce when I ordered my copy, shortly after Folk Legacy bit the bullet and began switching over to CDs, so it may not be available any more.

Using a dulcimer retuned to each mode, he played the same song, so you could hear the difference. Perhaps Sandy can tell us if this book and cassette OR Howie are still around.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Bernard
Date: 29 Apr 01 - 02:17 PM

I couldn't agree more, M!

The problem with the piano (and this is only an opinion) is that it is a single manual instrument, with only one 'voice'.

The organ (and larger harpsichords popular durings Bach's day) is usually two manuals or more, with a pedalboard. Modern organs are largely unchanged from the organs Bach played; the keys were shorter (front to back), and they (believe it or not!) hardly ever used their thumb or little finger on either hand, though Bach and Handel did a lot to change this (Handel was also an accomplished organist). Nowadays we have the advantage of electric action, though purists prefer mechanical (tracker) action.

You can easily play three melodies with different tonal qualities simultaneously, which the piano cannot do - you would find both hands wanting to hit the same key, for example.

Choral music also declined somewhat after Bach; the choir is another 'multi-voice instrument'.

Mozart, Beethoven and those following them tended to follow Handel's example - their choral music was more chordal, where there was a 'bass line', a 'melody' (which could be handed around the voices), and harmonies provided by tenor and contralto voices.

The truly polyphonic music of the likes of William Byrd, Palestrina et al began to fade because of the introduction of the organ into church music, ironically. This was because church music had been largely unaccompanied up to this point.

Sorry this is a rather rushed response to your query; I hope I have conveyed my thoughts clearly enough!


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Bernard
Date: 29 Apr 01 - 02:20 PM

Sorry - I omitted to answer yor question re. extemporisation.

It's simple - Organists need to do it regularly, to 'fill in' during services. It's the organist rather than the instrument.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 05:00 AM

I can answer Music Theory questions, from Major to minor key signatures, scales, modes, triads, chords, intervals, functional harmony, family of chords, transposition, etc... in just seconds by means of Music Slide.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Lox
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 05:30 AM

Hava Nagila is modal.

Which mode?

The 5th mode of the harmonic minor.

(Known as the "arabic" scale by many, though the arabs would point out that they have more than one.)

But that is not the same as saying its in harmonic minor.

Where the root is, is very important as it defines the tonality of the piece.

For example, if the tonality of "she moved through the fair" is A, then it is in A mixolydian, not D major.

Technically, Dmajor and A mixolydian share the same notes, but they are not the same scale as they have a different tonal centre.

This may not seem important on paper, but to the ear it is THE most important thing - and music is first and foremost an Aural art, not an abstract one.

Hava Nagilas tonality is centred on the 5th note of the harmonic minor.

So if its root is A, the hamonic minor from which the notes are derived is Dm.

But as the tonality is not Dm, you would say (using western terminology) that it is in "A arabic".

It should also be pointed out, that as Hava Nagila, and the arabic scale, have a major 3rd, it follows that it is a major scale and that hava nagila has a major tonality.

So to say it is in the harmonic minor is therefore misleading in more ways than one as both the tonal centre and the major tonality are misrepresented.

I would add a disclaimer, which is that to define the tonality of Hava Nagila using any western terminology is inappropriate anyway as it was never derived from western music theory and it is merely a coincidence that it has similar properties to the harmonic minor.


I only say this as it is important to be thorough if one wishes to assert conclusive definitions.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Lox
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 05:36 AM

woops ...

Just gone and listened to it again and indeed it does resolve up to the tonic of the parent Harm minor ...

D'oh!


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Lox
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 05:46 AM

Though to finalize, I should have the courage of my convictions, as the tonality of the "A" and "B" sections is not the same as that of the "C" section.

The A and B sections have a major arabic tonality that does not resolve up to the parent Harmonic minor.

The parent harmonic minor is not asserted until the first bar of the C section.

I had though it might be comparable to "Caravan" which resolves up to the parent harmonic minor at the end of each phrase, but hava nagila doesn't do that.

So it has two tonalities, one modal and one functional, and it modulates between them.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 06:25 AM

I have long been puzzled (and still am) by the suggestion that a piece that uses all (or only) the notes of a known scale is actually something else. On the occasions that I have sought to identify the "tonal centre" of a piece, it seems to me that since (as I think is accepted) the opening and closing notes are not definitive, the selection of "tonal centre" is arbitrary. This however can result in some puzzling chord sequences (eg "Ramble away" which uses C, D, G, and A major chords).

But to come back to the question - I am with the concept that the harmonic minor (take Am for example) is just C major started in a different place but still all white notes(and the same applies to all the modes of C) - now can we come back to the melodic minors and identify the ascending and descending notes of what I suppose will be called A melodic minor - which are not going to be all white notes - are they?

Or am I better off sticking with mark one earball which has served me well all these years but would blow a fuse if trying to find ALL the chords to "Lilliburlero" - something to do, I believe with a "flattened leading note" - but lets not go there yet, just concentrate in that melodic minor can we?


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 06:35 AM

c major starting in a different place but using the white notes of the piano is a dorian, abcdefga, take the a major scale and flatten the third and the seventh, you have a dorian


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 06:56 AM

Richard, this is complex. This laptop kb is a pain, so I'll be brief.

Take a C Major scale - it has 2 forms - the one you know and the plagal - a musical mode, whose range includes the octave from the fourth below the tonic, or final, to the fifth above.

Ina similar way, consider that the Relative Minor to a Major is as you describe.

It's to do with different philosophical modes of thought, to make the intellectual music theory fit the real world of how we actually 'do' music.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Tootler
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 08:45 AM

c major starting in a different place but using the white notes of the piano is a dorian

No. it is the Aeolian mode aka the relative minor, though the matter of the relative minor is more complex because there are variants of the minor scale related to the harmonic structure of western classical music*. The dorian mode based on the notes of the C major scale (ie the white notes of the piano) is D dorian.

* Those of you who like to correct these things please note. I know there is more to it than I have said here, but I am trying to keep things brief for now.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 08:58 AM

Maybe I think differently - to me if it uses all the white notes, it uses all the white notes, you just play them in a different order to give a different effect. Yes, I know this is not the convention of nomenclature.

Another area of confusion is touched upon above (and we did eventually nail it down a long time ago on a different thread) is the distinction between "D dorian" - ie the dorian scale starting on D - and another dorian - the dorian that uses the notes of the scale of D major. I would express this by calling "D dorian" "the dorian OF C" but I think that others use a different convention.

None of which gets any closer to the fact or reason why the notes going up the melodic minor are different to the notes coming down the melodic minor.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 09:04 AM

my apologies, tootler, a dorian is abcdef#g a, d dorian is defgabcd as you stated, dorian mode is third and seventh note flattened of major scale. you are correct the aeolian mode has an extra note flattened the sixth.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Lox
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 10:22 AM

"I am with the concept that the harmonic minor (take Am for example) is just C major started in a different place"

The name of this type of minor is the "natural minor". Also known as the Aeolian mode.

The "harmonic minor" is the same as the "natural minor", but with a sharpened 7th note.

The "melodic minor" is the same as the "natural minor" but with both a sharpened 6th and 7th note.

The difference between a major and a minor scale comes down to one thing only - the 3rd note of the scale.

If it has a minor 3rd, it is minor. If it has a major 3rd it is major.

So another way of looking at the melodic minor is to see it as a major scale with a flat 3rd.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Lox
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 10:25 AM

"the selection of "tonal centre" is arbitrary."

Yes it is.

But once selected, it defines the nature of the scale/mode being used.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Lox
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 10:30 AM

"No. it is the Aeolian mode aka the relative minor"


The relative minor does not have to be Aeolian. It merely has to have its root on the sixth note of the major scale to which it is relative.

So A minor, either natural, melodic, or harmonic, is the relitive minor of C major. They do not need to share the same notes or be part of the same mode to be relative major-minor.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Artful Codger
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 11:58 AM

Dick, your comment was unclear: as a scale, the example of A to A (all white notes) is normally taken to be A Aeolian, and would only be Dorian (specifically, D Dorian) if other musical clues showed the tonal center to be D. Your latter example (C scale with third and seventh lowered) corresponds to C Dorian; without the key designations, your point is missed.

Perhaps what you meant to say is that the relative Dorian mode for a major key has the same key signature, but its tonal center (and hence key name) is one whole step higher. For a Dorian scale with the same tonal center as a major key, third and seventh intervals will both be lowered a half step (minor 3rds and 7ths rather than major); hence the key signature will have two more flats (or two less sharps).

Rather than comparing Dorian and Phrygian to major keys, it can be more useful to compare them to minor ones. Dorian is like minor with a raised (major) sixth; Phrygian is like minor with a lowered (minor) second. This may also help in figuring out appropriate key signatures: Dorian has one less flat/one more sharp than the equivalent minor key (same tonal center), and Phrygian has one more flat/one less sharp that the equivalent minor key. Although it's also useful to know that Dorian has the same key signature as the major key one whole step down.


Richard, the tonal center is distinguished not just by the tones of the underlying scale but by the basic harmonic patterns (progressions), the type of the primary chords (major, minor, diminished...), the frequency and length with which the tones occur, how notes lead and resolve, etc. There are a lot of supporting clues, and the tonality is seldom ambiguous for long in normal practice. It's one of those things that is more intuitive than easily explained by theory. But a few bars give sufficient clues (and reinforcement) for the tonality to become obvious to listeners--and for changes in tonality to be recognized.

You're right in a sense, that tonality is an illusion of sorts: each chord implies a local shift of tonality to a degree. But this is interpreted within a larger tonal framework: the conventions of the dominating tonality, what we normally think of as "the key". Between these extremes of context there can also be a secondary tonal migration where, for a time, the conventions of a new tonality will override the conventions of the base tonality.

Note, for instance, in the second section of "Hava Nagila", the tonality temporarily migrates down a major second (forming a minor chord on the seventh, which is protracted throughout most of this section). In fact, this characteristic alteration between the major tonic chord and the seventh minor chord forms the primary basis for the scale, including the minor third step which is found in no natural ("white key") liturgical scales. The key chords in this scale are I, IVm and VIIm--compare to the Im, IVm, VII (= Vm7(-1)) pattern common in our minor keys, but noting that the VII chord in the Arabic scale doesn't function as a V chord (which would be Vo7--a diminished triad with a seventh).


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 01:11 PM

Well one song that has seemed obscure to me as to "home" note is "Famous Flower of Serving Men". I play it a lot - working round a mock DADGAD done with a shubb C7 capo at the 4th fret and another capo at the 2nd - holding the undetermined one finger D (so it's really F# as it's five frets up) chord. Now the chord of F#minor can be droned away at for pretty much the entire song, but if you think about it the note on the second string is a B, and a fiddle player I used to know was convinced that it was Phrygian B. I just call it F sharp-ish.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 01:14 PM

It's not very helpful to use guitar harmonizations as a way of analyzing tunes that don't come from a tradition of chordal accompaniment. It's clear what the modes used in Hava Nagila are, purely from its melodic structure. I included it as an example in my modes tutorial (in the section on modes not found in Scottish music):

http://www.campin.me.uk/Music/Modes/

That document keeps growing (I've added examples to it in the last week) and this thread has given me some ideas for more stuff to throw in.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 01:25 PM

sorry Jack I disagree, it is helpful, just because tunes were not originally harmonised doesnt mean that they cant be harmonised if the player has absorbed and listened to a lot of the the particular music, music moves on it cant be preserved in aspic, and not allowed to change.
that was precisely what Davy Graham, did successfully 40 years ago.
his idea of using daDgad was inspired by listening to the moroccan UD, and listening to moroccan indigenous music.
your attitude really gets up my nose.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Artful Codger
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 01:35 PM

Lox, it is rare that a minor tune is not predominantly based on (and notated according to) the natural minor scale. The melodic and harmonic variants are simply common patterns or digressions that are used simultaneously with it--and they're indicated with accidentals. The harmonic structure is also derived from the natural minor scale, even if it too sometimes deviates from the base note set. A tune whose fundamental basis is the harmonic or (ascending) melodic minor pattern--or some other deviation from the natural minor--is not really minor as we know it.

Which raises an interesting point: the term "relative key" means a key in the same set of key/mode pairs whose scales precisely share the same absolute pitch set (extended by octave translations). They will have the same key signature but different tonal centers and modes (base interval patterns relative to the tonic). I don't believe it makes sense to talk about "relative keys" for scales which have no common note set, as between a major key and the Arabic scale discussed wrt "Hava Nagila". What is then the basis for the relation? It cannot just be the perception of majorness and minorness according to the magic sixth formula: The Dorian relative of C major is D Dorian, not A Dorian, even though Dorian is minorish in having a minor tonic chord and a minor seventh. And the Arabic scale, which sounds "minorish" to our ears, has a major tonic chord though in fact its closest liturgical counterpart would be Phrygian, differing only in the major third! It is the liturgical scale pattern which defines the relative key relations among the seven modes--and only those modes.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 01:39 PM

I didn't say the tune couldn't be harmonized. I said that the harmonization conveys no information about the mode that isn't already in the bare melody. The harmonization is after the fact.

There are tunes where the composer had a harmonic progression or bass line in mind which doesn't appear explicitly in the melody, but Hava Nagila isn't one of them.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: JHW
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 01:41 PM

if you're still there Bruce O I got 404 not found when trying the link for Bruce O website


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 05:09 PM

Bruce died a few years ago (and is greatly missed). Much of his site is mirrored here - look in the dropdown menu.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 05:20 PM

ok jack, misunderstanding my apologies


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Lox
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 09:09 PM

Codger,

the factor that defines whether a scale is major or minor is the quality of the 3rd note.

If it is a major 3rd it is a major scale.

If it has a minor 3rd it is a minor scale.

Its really that simple.

The arabic scale (5th mode of harmonic minor) is a major scale - it has a minor 2nd and a major 3rd.

"it is rare that a minor tune is not predominantly based on (and notated according to) the natural minor scale"

This comment simply isn't true.

Dorian, Phrygian, Aeolian, Harmonic minor and melodic minor all exist plentifully throughout all types of music.

How music is written is just how these things are represented in a visual form.


"I don't believe it makes sense to talk about "relative keys" for scales which have no common note set"

What you believe doesn't come into it.

The Key of Am is the relative minor of the key of C major.

In all functional harmony since about 1700, any piece written in the key of A minor will have a sharp 7th to make the V-I cadence more convincing.

This is achieved using either the Harmonic or Melodic minors.

This has been the fundamental cornerstone of western harmony since before 1700.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Lox
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 09:14 PM

.


       Richard,


       If your version sounds like this one


          here



       Then it is mixolydian.


.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Lox
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 09:22 PM

PS - Mixolydian is a major scale, with a major 3rd.

It gets its mysterious minory quality from the flat 7th note, which is the only note that distinguishes it from the major scale.

You said that you play it with an F# tonality, but it has a B in it.

Well that B is a suspended 4th by the sounds of it, which I reckon sounds pretty nice.

Hard to know without hearing it, but the phrygian thing sounds like a mistake.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 12:26 AM

Richard - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minor_scale

Search 'melodic minor history'- but you may get a lot of ignorant nonsense - that's the trouble with the web - any fool can babble on about anything without any real knowledge...

http://www.submityourarticle.com/articles/Vasilis-Isaakidis-4801/guitar-44968.php

http://www.a1articles.com/article_701202_22.html

are two sites that give consistent tales - but just because you find several sites repeating the same gibberish doesn't mean they are all correct! :-)

However "Up to and during the Renaissance period, harmonies considered dissonant were usually avoided (and if not, the dissonances had to be resolved). However, harmonies were not (and are not) the only things that could be considered dissonant. Certain melodic intervals (any augmented or diminished intervals) were avoided." is near enough to what I was taught.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 12:32 AM

Richard - another point - the terms 'major & minor' were invented for 'Western European music'- it's creatively amusing to see them used to describe other music systems such as 'Arabic'.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Lox
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 07:46 AM

Foolestroupe.

Just as I can describe a jumper as Green, I can describe the tonality of a piece of music as either major or minor.

Human observe -> human describe.

To describe, you need terms of reference like "green" or "minor".


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Artful Codger
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 06:28 PM

One man's "green" is another man's "lime". Some can make more refined distinctions.


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Subject: RE: Different kinds of minor scales
From: Lox
Date: 15 Nov 10 - 03:43 PM

Indeed Codger,

And lime is a type of green - but Green is not a type of lime.

So though Lime may be a distinct shade of green, it is not distinct from green.

There are many types of minor scale/key - ALL of them have a minor 3rd.

In addition, failure to recognize that there are many more types of minor than the natural minor, or indeed that variations are not only possible but in common usage does not qualify ones distinctions as more refined.

It isn't a personal issue, its a system of description that allows music to be discussed and compared.


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