Harmonic Minor Modes

author: l3xbi date: 02/16/2010 category: music theory
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I strongly recommend if you haven't heard of modes before, or do not understand them yet, then first learn and memorise slash_pwns' mode sets here first. I tried to look for a Harmonic Mode set myself today, I quickly found that there wasn't one. I took the time earlier this evening to work out the modes in the harmonic minor key of "A". I have created the following patterns as to what I thought suited 3 notes per string scale patterns best. The tone gaps make it quite awkward in places, but if you find a more suitable way to play it then by all means do! Harmonic Minor Mode 1 in A (Harmonic Minor) Scale definition: 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7
----------------------------------------------7-8-10--------
------------------------------------6-9-10------------------
----------------------------5-7-9---------------------------
--------------------6-7-9-----------------------------------
------------5-7-8-------------------------------------------
---5-7-8----------------------------------------------------
Harmonic Minor Mode 2 in A (Locrian #6) Scale definition: 1 b2 b3 4 b5 6 b7
--------------------------------------------------8-10-12---
---------------------------------------9-10-12--------------
------------------------------7-9-10------------------------
---------------------7-9-10---------------------------------
------------7-8-11------------------------------------------
---7-8-10---------------------------------------------------
Harmonic Minor Mode 3 in A (Ionian #5) Scale definition: 1 2 3 4 #5 6 7
------------------------------------------------------------10-12-13----
------------------------------------------------10-12-13----------------
------------------------------------9-10-13-----------------------------
-------------------------9-10-12----------------------------------------
--------------8-11-12---------------------------------------------------
---8-10-12--------------------------------------------------------------
Harmonic Minor Mode 4 in A (Dorian #4) Scale definition: 1 2 b3 #4 5 6 b7
-------------------------------------------------------------12-13-16---
-------------------------------------------------12-13-15---------------
-------------------------------------10-13-14---------------------------
-------------------------10-12-14---------------------------------------
-------------11-12-14---------------------------------------------------
-10-12-13---------------------------------------------------------------
Harmonic Minor Mode 5 in A (Phrygian Major (same as Phrygian in the major mode set but with a major third note)) Scale definition: 1 b2 3 4 5 b6 b7
---------------------------------------------------------------13-16-17-
---------------------------------------------------13-15-17-------------
---------------------------------------13-14-16-------------------------
---------------------------12-14-15-------------------------------------
---------------12-14-15-------------------------------------------------
---12-13-16-------------------------------------------------------------
Harmonic Minor Mode 6 in A (Lydian #2) Scale definition: 1 #2 3 #4 5 6 7
----------------------------------------------------------------16-17-19-
----------------------------------------------------15-17-18-------------
---------------------------------------14-16-17--------------------------
---------------------------14-15-18--------------------------------------
---------------14-15-17--------------------------------------------------
---13-16-17--------------------------------------------------------------
Harmonic Minor Mode 7 in A (Alt Dominant bb7) Scale definition: 1 b2 b3 b4 b5 b6 bb7
---------------------------------------------------------------17-19-20--
---------------------------------------------------17-18-21--------------
---------------------------------------16-17-19--------------------------
---------------------------15-18-19--------------------------------------
---------------15-17-19--------------------------------------------------
---16-17-19--------------------------------------------------------------
And if you want to play the first mode again an octave up it is the same pattern as before. Scale definition: 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7
---------------------------------------------------------------19-20-22--
---------------------------------------------------18-21-22--------------
---------------------------------------17-19-21--------------------------
---------------------------18-19-21--------------------------------------
---------------17-19-20--------------------------------------------------
---17-19-20--------------------------------------------------------------
If you are having trouble memorising them I found it easier to attempt 1 or two per week, ascending in mode 1 and descending afterwards in mode 2 often works well. Also I feel that the best way to hear the difference between these modes (and all modes) is to play an A chord then straight after play the mode in the same position starting on the A (fret 5). Though make sure that the chord you play doesn't contain any notes that will clash with the scale, for example a power chord (a 1-5-1 chord) will not work with the Ionian #5 mode because the 5th note is raised. I hope that this was easy enough to follow, I'm not normally too good at explaining myself. If you would like some further reading and information on other modes (including major, harmonic minor and melodic minor modes) and other musical theory then try this link (modes discussed in section 8): http://www.howmusicworks.org Oh, and check out my band Redwood Point :) Cheers, Joe
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