#1
so, my music theory teacher teaches us that whenever someone mentions a minor scale that it should always be thought of as harmonic minor, to the point where on any worksheet we are given, if the question states "write X minor scale" it is marked wrong if it is not the harmonic minor scale, and that the harmonic minor scale is the 6th mode of the major scale.

i am well aware the last point is wrong, but at the same time i don't want to speak up and say that my teacher is wrong when i very may well be wrong while my teacher is right. My question is, am i being improperly taught or is what i know wrong?
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Although i guess the OP will have to get used to reading them if he's going to buy a bugera..
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#3
Depends on the context, usually in minor keys the V chord is major by default. That is due to the harmonic minor.
#4
well, basically i'm stuck doing a theory 101 course as part of my cert III in music, i know everything that is being taught but can't skip it. My issue is that everyone is being taught to automatically assume minor means harmonic minor which i feel is wrong but i am also slightly doubting myself.
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Pffffffft schematics


Although i guess the OP will have to get used to reading them if he's going to buy a bugera..
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along with fire escape routes...

#5
Quote by pwrmax
Depends on the context, usually in minor keys the V chord is major by default. That is due to the harmonic minor.

According to what his teacher said, there is no context. He said always.
#6
Quote by tenfold
According to what his teacher said, there is no context. He said always.

I agree, he shouldn't say always. There is no default.
#7
If your being taught classical theory then it IS always the harmonic minor scale but only concerning harmony. V instead of v, and vii fully diminished 7 instead of VII. Your teacher may be trying to increase your fluency with the raised 7th however they may possibly just be wrong.

You should just say that other places where you find information say something different from what you teacher says so ask the teacher to clarify
#8
Quote by rKirkpatrick
If your being taught classical theory then it IS always the harmonic minor scale but only concerning harmony. V instead of v, and vii fully diminished 7 instead of VII. Your teacher may be trying to increase your fluency with the raised 7th however they may possibly just be wrong.

You should just say that other places where you find information say something different from what you teacher says so ask the teacher to clarify


yes this seems pretty accurate, she seems to lean towards teaching us more classically orientated theory.

thank you, you have pretty much answered my question.
Quote by coolstoryangus
Pffffffft schematics


Although i guess the OP will have to get used to reading them if he's going to buy a bugera..
Quote by gregs1020


along with fire escape routes...

#9
Quote by aradine
well, basically i'm stuck doing a theory 101 course as part of my cert III in music, i know everything that is being taught but can't skip it. My issue is that everyone is being taught to automatically assume minor means harmonic minor which i feel is wrong but i am also slightly doubting myself.

Well you may be taking your teacher too literally. The thing with minor keys and music theory is that it's good to think mostly of the scale with a leading tone to the tonic because then you get the major third interval for the dominant chord, blah blah blah. It's pretty normal, when asked to write out a "minor" scale, that you're required to write in the raised seventh. Probably the reasoning behind this is that if a "minor" key has a minor seventh in it (used in a classical context), it is simply a modal scale (aeolian) and not a true "tonic" scale, which it strives to be.

That being said, minor certainly does NOT mean harmonic minor and you should bring it up with him. A "minor key" is a very ambiguous thing, a lot of songwriters are very loose on the notes they use in minor keys. A good example from an accepted songwriter, "Hit the Road Jack" by Ray Charles: i minor - bVII major - bVI major - V major. Just with these chords you get this ambiguity I was talking about, and yet this is a very common chord progression in a minor key. You have a b7 and a b6 from the second and third chords, but the last chord is a major fifth, giving you a major 7 as well.

Now, me personally, I like to equate a "minor key" with the melodic minor scale, which gives you all combinations of minor scales (as well as giving one the freedom to use every diatonic minor scale: dorian, aeolian, harmonic minor, and jazz minor). Now, take also into account some people learn differently, meaning your teacher probably learned the same way he is teaching the students and it makes sense to him.

So basically, I suggest if your teacher asks you to write a "minor" scale as a harmonic minor scale, go along with it, pass the course, and know you have a view of the bigger picture (that minor tonality doesn't simply equate to harmonic minor scale).

Good luck citizen.

EDIT: welp...
Last edited by st.stephen at Jun 8, 2010,
#10
Quote by aradine
so, my music theory teacher teaches us that whenever someone mentions a minor scale that it should always be thought of as harmonic minor, to the point where on any worksheet we are given, if the question states "write X minor scale" it is marked wrong if it is not the harmonic minor scale, and that the harmonic minor scale is the 6th mode of the major scale.

i am well aware the last point is wrong, but at the same time i don't want to speak up and say that my teacher is wrong when i very may well be wrong while my teacher is right. My question is, am i being improperly taught or is what i know wrong?

Traditionally the convention is for "the minor scale" to refer to harmonic minor so that's fair enough, however the harmonic minor scale is most definitely NOT the 6th mode of the major scale. It's not even got anything to to with the major scale per se, it's a natural minor scale with a raised 7th.
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#11
Now that I think about it, when I took piano lessons I always had to play the harmonic minor whenever my teacher said play a minor scale. Same thing when I did my piano proficiency for my school.
#12
When learning voiceleading (particularly in a classical theory course) this is the usual way to go about doing it. the reason being that the natural minor scale does not have the same tension on the v chord that the harmonic or melodic does. eventually youl learn about using melodic minor as well (melodic minor exchange or something). Just as you would use parallel fifths when playing, you can use other forms of the minor when you play. But in a beginers classical theory class that is a fine way to go about it.

EDIT:
tl;dnr
in the context of a beginers classical theory course this is right. It is a way to teach to write period appropriate music (im guessing bach style chorals). in regular playing, obviously you can use other forms of the minor.
Last edited by tehREALcaptain at Jun 9, 2010,
#13
Quote by aradine
so, my music theory teacher teaches us that whenever someone mentions a minor scale that it should always be thought of as harmonic minor, to the point where on any worksheet we are given, if the question states "write X minor scale" it is marked wrong if it is not the harmonic minor scale, and that the harmonic minor scale is the 6th mode of the major scale.

i am well aware the last point is wrong, but at the same time i don't want to speak up and say that my teacher is wrong when i very may well be wrong while my teacher is right. My question is, am i being improperly taught or is what i know wrong?



Well, it's never good to tell your teacher they are wrong in a class. It's just plain disrespectful.

That said, I don't particular like you're teachers explanation.... at least not how you presented it. What I would do is follow the class as your teacher instructs, and get what you can out of it. You have other sources to consult, and should have no trouble discerning the "mistakes" of your teacher. (which they very well may be.... or maybe just you're own misunderstanding).
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jun 9, 2010,
#14
I have heard people say that before (about it being the harmonic minor)
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#15
I don't think it's good to assume that minor means harmonic. That could be a nasty habit that sticks with you later.

My theory and piano teacher both always specify if it's harmonic or melodic minor.
#16
Quote by pwrmax
Now that I think about it, when I took piano lessons I always had to play the harmonic minor whenever my teacher said play a minor scale. Same thing when I did my piano proficiency for my school.
On violin, I was always told to play harmonic or melodic minor but I didn't actually know the natural minor existed until I started playing guitar.
#17
OK there 3 kinds of minor scales
if your starting to learn them

1 NATURAL MINOR same key as the relative major starting and ending on the name of the note of the key EX: A natural minor(cmaj no sharps or flats) ABCDEFGA

2 HARMONIC MINOR - same as the natural minor but you RAISE THE 7th ascending and descending

3 MELODIC MINOR - same as the natural minor but you RAISE THE 6th AND 7th ASCENDING ONLY and descending your write as your NATURAL minor


IF your talking about Harmonic writing in counterpoint and four part writing and voice leading THEN think of your scales as a harmonic minor because you will want to raise you 7th to get " A Strong Sense of the minor scale being used"

but i doubt your at that point yet from what i gather
Last edited by Yayo.Eric at Jun 11, 2010,
#19
Quote by tenfold
lol. simply no.



basic minor scales?
if your being taught for the first time you will see these three most often and i can garenteee this kid hasnt even come across a melodic minor scale yet

so dont confuse him with 1000 different scales cause you want to measure your theory penis

try being a good teacher, things take time if you overload someone they will have no clue whats going on
#22
Quote by tenfold
Sounds wrong to me. There's many types of minor scales, and the normal type people talk about isn't harmonic minor, it's natural minor. I'd probably find someone else.

in most of the analysis stuff I did in college theory, we always had to do the melodic minor. i guess it's supposed to be harder or something, but not really, major scale with a lowered third, and natural descending. i never understood why everytime we got a worksheet we would have to do every scale in melodic minor unless otherwise directed. i guess it has the most different kinds of notes than a natural or harmonic minor scale...i don't really know. probably because it uses the natural form and raised 6th and 7th and maybe they figure if you know the melodic minor scale then you know the natural and harmonic because they're both pretty much contained inside the melodic minor scale.
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#23
when i first studied minor scales, i thought the natural to be the standard. now, i try not to set any one of the minor scales as a "default".

that said, if asked, i'd probably write a natural minor unless otherwise specified.
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#24
A friend and I used to argue constantly about this back in the day, she's a classically and jazz trained pianist and used to always insist when we talked about relative min and maj that a relative minor is not exactly the same as a major, as in that A minor did have sharp in.

Eventually i worked out that she was thinking in Harmonic Minor and I was thinking in Natural Minor, due to the fact that she was trained in classical theory and I was, at the time, self taught. Strange stuff.
Last edited by ImaHighwayChile at Jun 11, 2010,
#25
Quote by tenfold
lol. simply no.

Quote by tenfold
Also, if you give them incorrect info, it haunts them for a lifetime.

If you look at it as a minor system... you would use those three. So why not? If you go up in melodic you come down in natural (unless its fixed in melodic)... So how does what he say encourage you to laugh and just say no?

He wasn't peddling drugs or anything or offering sexual services. So how is it incorrect info that would haunt the guy for life? I see nothing wrong with this. And it seems the TS is being taught in a classical way... so it makes sense to me why it is being taught like that... you die hard theory snobs with your Piston books open constantly would have to agree... even if it is not the way you prefer to see it... it nonetheless is a systematic way of being taught... and a few of my friends studying this shit are taught in the same way... or have been taught in the same way and therefore teach it that way too.

I see it as differentiating the natural minor from the harmonic and melodic as technically, note wise, the natural minor is no different to the major scale other than starting note and resolution... resolution happening better within the harmonic and melodic sense.

So TS... cut your teacher some slack... learn whatever he/she is teaching you... understand their perspective before running to a forum of varied opinions. If you believe your teacher is wrong, then so be it... doesn't mean that you are not going to learn a thing from them... cos I can assure you... whatever you get from your teacher will be more than you'll get from this here forum. My opinion though... it stinks like everyone elses.
#26
Treating the harmonic minor as the default isn't really wrong, just a different perspective. Lots of classical theorists swear by harmonic minor while us guys playing guitar don't prefer it as much. Now whether it's the 6th mode of the major scale, that's completely wrong and there's no excuse for that.

But humor him and be respectful. He's just doing his job. Being a know-it-all student makes things far harder for him.
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#28
harmonic minor is typically what you're going to be dealing with. end of story. it's not the sixth mode of the major scale. why your theory teacher (it sounds like a beginning theory class) is even talking about modes is kind of bizarre. but everything else he or she says, i'd agree with.
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#29
Hi There, Its probably less confusing if we say the 6th of the scale will be the "Relative" minor of the major scale...Play them and you ear will agree they are harmonic. Here is the dictionary expanation:

har·mon·ic   /hɑrˈmɒnɪk/ Show Spelled[hahr-mon-ik] Show IPA
–adjective
1. pertaining to harmony, as distinguished from melody and rhythm.
2. marked by harmony; in harmony; concordant; consonant.
3. Physics . of, pertaining to, or noting a series of oscillations in which each oscillation has a frequency that is an integral multiple of the same basic frequency.

G=EM C=AM D=BM A=F# Etc.

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