Help with secondary dominants and Anne by J. Frusciante
On second verse "I never got the weight off the ground...", one way of looking at the chords is :
Dm - Gm/Bb - Bb - A which seems to be a vi - ii - IV - V/vi in the key of F Major. Or at least that's my guess.
But if I look at the chords from a D minor key point of view, i get i - iv - VI - v but the v in minor keys is suposed to be a minor chord. Just like the A in the key of F is "suposed" to be an Am (iii) but you made it a dominant (V/vi). How do I deal with that in minor keys? Does a V/i makes sense?
it is quite normal in a minor key to make the dominant a major chord. So in Dm that would mean A.
In fact it is so common to raise the seventh note of the minor scale to a major seven for this particular purpose (to make the v a major V chord) that the minor scale got a variation to it known as the harmonic minor scale. Note in the harmonic minor scale it is identical to the natural minor scale except the seventh is a major seventh instead of a minor seventh. The whole point of this variation is, as just mentioned, to allow the dominant chord to be harmonized as a Major chord particularly when moving back to the tonic i chord.
And in formalizing this variant of the minor scale the major V chord is no longer seen as a secondary dominant or a borrowed chord but as normal in a minor key when moving from the V to the i chord.
To deal with this melodically we have to use the major seventh as the minor seventh will clash with the major seventh that is the third in the V chord. (Note in your example the A major has a C# which is the major seventh in the key of Dm while the natural minor scale would give us a C natural if we were to play the C while the A major was playing it would clash with the C#.
But this creates another problem. When we make this adjustment in a melodic line that ascends from fifth up to the tonic then (5 b6 7 1) the movement is a half step then a whole+half step then a half step. This sounds disjointed as the three semitone step between the b6 and 7 doesn't sound right with the single semitone steps either side of it (5-b6 and 7-8). So to solve this problem we raise the b6 a half step as well to the major sixth.
So when playing over the major V chord that is moving to the tonic i chord and we are ascending melodically to the root (8) we alter the scale even more by raising the minor six toa major six and get 5 6 7 8.
This variation is also very common. So common that it became known as the "melodic minor scale".
You will find that in most songs in a minor key the v chord is major particularly when it is moving back to the tonic chord.
When you start looking at Minor keys, its important to note there could be 3 minor scales that chords are derived from:
In your example, the V being major, it's from D Harmonic minor, where the b7 in D (C) becomes a 7 or is raised by a half step (C#). That C# changes the minor 3rd of A to a major 3rd: A C# E.
OH. Amazing, at last I'm starting to understand practical uses of the harmonic & melodic minor scales.
One last question, if I may :) . On both Melodic and Harmonic Minor harmony, that major 7th bugs me because (if I got the accidentals right) it seems to become, for example, a #5 on my III chord. And the raised 6th on the melodic becomes, for example, a perfect fifth on my usually half-diminished II chord. My point is that I'm inevitably getting a complete new harmony, different from the aeolian/major harmony, and I suspect that it will get pretty dissonant with more complex chords. Am I supposed to stick religiously to these new harmonies or should I rather mix them with Aeolian harmony to get, as we discussed before, a dominant V instead of a minor v? And use the melodic minor discretely over my V7?
I know that I'm virtually free to do whatever pleases me in Music, I'm just curious about your opinion as a musician and the mainstream use of these scales. On the meanwhile I'll be studying these things :D
Yeah the main uses are as I described.
the harmonic minor is primarily used to turn the minor v chord into a Major V chord - usually when it's followed by the tonic chord.
The melodic mnor is primarily used, as the name suggests, as a melodic variation to the natural minor scale to be played over the Major V chord.
So which one you use usually depends on whether you're playing melodically or harmonically. And whether you are playing a V chord moving to the i chord.
Most of the other time you stick with the natural minor scale.
So when you harmonize your iii stick with the natural minor scale.
LATER as you get a handle on basic diatonic harmony then you can start messing around with augmented chords and seeing how they fit into the picture.
Of course you can use them as their own scale completely and harmonize the full harmonic minor and melodic minor scales but it would be good to get a handle on their traditional use first.
Natural Minor Scale harmonized
i iidim bIII iv v bVI bVII
Harmonic minor = V
So if you use the harmonic minor it's just over the dominant chord so your new
harmonized minor scale = i iidim bIII iv V bVI bVII
(note not harmonic minor nor natural minor just minor scale harmonized)
Then you get the melodic minor scale - MELODIC minor - start with using as a melodic tool when approaching the tonic from below. It's melodic first and foremost use it that way first.
Harmonic minor - HARMONIC. but pretty much just the V.
You can harmonize the other chords too and get a bIII+ but if you can't use it - don't worry about it.
Thank you very much, good sir. :)
Yup. Harmonic minor is used primarily in harmony, to give the v chord a dominant resolution by raising the leading tone (changing C to C# in the key of Dm). Melodic minor is used primarily in melody, to avoid the awkward gap between the 6th and 7th scale degree. In the natural minor, you have Bb to C, which is a major second, nothing weird. In the harmonic minor, you have Bb to C#, which is an augmented second, which is an awkward leap in the scale. What the melodic minor scale does is raise the Bb so that now you have B to C#, which is a major second again.
So if you were to do a 5 6 7 1 melody (A Bb C D in the natural minor scale) over a V chord from the harmonic minor, you're going to want to use the melodic minor scale, making it A B C# D. This is the same upper section as the major scale. Notice how much more consonant it becomes?
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