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Major? Minor? Why? AFRO PLEASE HELP!

Music Theory
Guitarslinger124  
15 Sep 2007 22:40 | Quote
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im a self taught guitarist and i dont know much "theory" (as in all those tables and what not and all the I, II, III...etc). Im not really sure how to phraze this so im just gonna spit it out and hope you understand...First question: Why is everything about major? where does the minor come from? i know its the aeolian? mode...i think hehe...Second question...what are the modes in a minor key called? is it still ionian, dorian, etc...or soemthing else...or are there not any modes cause every minor key comes from a major key? i need to clear this up, because i know a crap load of scales and for every scale i know ive memorized the patterns all along the fret board and categorized them into my interpretaion of modes....but i dont think im seein it the right way...so please help if you can? thank you so much!
blackholesun  
16 Sep 2007 05:49 | Quote
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Ok, I'm not Afro but I might be able to help.

1) When you say "why is everything about major?", do you mean why are scale formulas given relative to the major scale. Eg, major: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, harmonic minor: 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 7, etc. There's probably something historical about it, but I wouldn't worry too much about it. The natural minor is the aeolian mode. The reason the harmonic minor came about is because a characteristic of music in a minor key back in the 17th century (roughly, i duno exactly when) is the use of the leading tone, a semi-tone below the tonic (the I chord). In the natural minor, the 7th is two semitones below the tonic, so the adjustment to the scale was made, which created the harmonic minor. There are other reasons why the harmonic minor was used - in music written from the 16th to 19th century, the chord built on the dominant (the 5th scale degree) was always almost a major triad, therefore the 7th scale degree has to be raised by an accidental. The interval between the 6th and 7th scale degrees is a minor 3rd (although to be precise it is actually an augmented 2nd), which many composers back then thought was an awkward leap, especially in vocal music. To get round this problem, the 7th (of the harmonic minor) is flattened, or the 6th is raised, which produces a more flowing scale, known as the melodic minor (ascending and descending respectively). You don't have to use them while ascending or descending though - they were just the original names given to them. A bit depends on harmony as well - some composers favoured the mediant (chord built from the 3rd scale degree) to be major, but if the raised 7th degree is used, then it produces an augmented chord.

2) There ARE modes from a minor scale. If you're using the natural minor (aeolian mode), it is just the same as using modes from the major scale, as the aeolian mode itself comes from the major scale. You can also get modes from the harmonic and melodic minor scales. I can't remember any off the top of my head, except for the Phrygian Dominant mode, which is formed from the 5th scale degree of the harmonic minor. I'm not sure if the naming follows a pattern.

Hope this helps.
Afro_Raven  
16 Sep 2007 08:31 | Quote
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Hi!
Quite proud that you wanted me to answer your question, but blackholesun has it all covered. If you read in my lesson on modes, it does say somewhere that all modes for the major scale are the same for the natural minor scale (or aeolian mode).

Sorted!

Afro
Guitarslinger124  
16 Sep 2007 14:53 | Quote
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haha...afro i read your modes lesson-thats why i htought you could help me here hehe....thank you so much black hole sun...it did help a lot...just on emore question....so the second mode in a minor key would still be called the dorian mode?
blackholesun  
17 Sep 2007 06:02 | Quote
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Depends which minor key you are using. The 2nd mode in the natural minor scale is the locrian mode. The 2nd mode in the melodic minor scale is the Dorian b2 according to wikipedia. Not sure about the harmonic minor.
blackholesun  
17 Sep 2007 06:08 | Quote
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Ok, I just had a massive idea. Input the notes of A harmonic minor into the reverse scale tool, and see what scales it said I had inputted. And this is the result...




Yesterday at work I wrote down all the modes of the harmonic minor so I had a similar kind of thing, but I didn't have any names. One thing to point out is that the last note in the G# ultralocrian isn't the 6th scale degree, it's the diminished 7th (bb7), which technically IS the same thing, but 1) the 6th scale degree is the flattened 6th, not the natural 6th, and 2) there would two 6th scale degrees, which would just be wrong!
Guitarslinger124  
17 Sep 2007 10:24 | Quote
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ok...i think im getting it now....thanks a lot!
paerdeveygh  
18 Sep 2007 02:54 | Quote
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Hi guys!

I just wanted to add something about modes to this topic:

The "natural minor" is the aeolian mode of the major scale,
but the "harmonic minor" and also the "melodic minor" have their own (seven) modes:

modes of the harmonic minor:

1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 7 (Harmonic minor)
1, b2, b3, 4, b5, 6, b7 (Locrian Natural 6th)
1, 2, 3, 4, #5, 6, 7 (major #5)
1, 2, b3, #4, 5, 6, b7 (dorian #4)
1, b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7 (phrygian major 3rd)
1, #2, 3, #4, 5, 6, 7 (lydian #2)
1, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6, bb7 (super locrian diminished)


the seven modes of the melodic minor are:

1, 2, b3, 4 ,5, 6, 7 (melodic minor)
1, b2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7 (dorian b2)
1, 2, 3, #4, #5, 6, 7 (lydian #5)
1, 2, 3, #4, 5, 6, b7 (lydian b7)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7 (myxolydian b6)
1, 2, b3, 4, b5, b6, b7 (aeolian b5)
1, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6, b7 (super locrian)


hopefully I did all the calculations right,
Me, myself, personally, I never, ever, use these kind of scales, but just wanted to let y'all know.

Greetings, Paerdeveygh





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