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#1
Hi guys. I have been a follower of the forum for many years but this is my first post so hi!

I have been trying to get a clear answer on this but cannot.

Example;

If you are playing in D minor and switch to the V chord (A) but played it as a major chord the common scale to use is the harmonic minor. Now if I started a lead line on the A note then would it be correct in saying I am actually playing in Phrygian dominant as I am playing from the 5th note of the harmonic minor scale. Nobody ever mentions this and was wondering if I am wrong in thinking it? Especially you make a point in resolving to the A note whilst on the A major chord? Any help form any or you theory gurus would be hugely appreciated as its driving me nuts. Thanks
#2
I don't see why you would want to think of that as playing phrygian dominant when you could just stick to calling it harmonic minor; that sort of thinking seems to make stuff complicated when it doesn't need to be.

This stuff comes up in threads on modes from time to time. I think those questions have slowed down in the last year or two though.
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#3
Quote by JimDawson
I don't see why you would want to think of that as playing phrygian dominant when you could just stick to calling it harmonic minor; that sort of thinking seems to make stuff complicated when it doesn't need to be.

This stuff comes up in threads on modes from time to time. I think those questions have slowed down in the last year or two though.


You could say that about any mode though.
#4
Quote by stayfreejc
You could say that about any mode though.


That's the problem. Modes aren't all that useful- especially when you consider the fact that you can use all 12 notes in any key anyway.
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#5
Quote by stayfreejc
You could say that about any mode though.


Exactly. The point is that all modes and modal names are more or less unnecessary in most contemporary music. Just stick to major and minor.
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#6
Relative to the A, yet it's phrygian dominant, but you're not in A, you're D, so it's more correct to calling it harmonic minor.

But generally trying to modalize every chord is a very shortsighted approach. The chord tones are your guidelines, and it's really up to you to choose what notes are appropriate outside of the plain arpeggio.
#7
If you are in D minor, the scale is called D harmonic minor.

So if the progression is something like Dm-A-Dm, you are in D minor.

But if you are just playing an A major chord and use the notes in D harmonic minor over it, but it never resolves to Dm, then the scale is called A Phrygian dominant.

It's all about the tonic. If the tonic is A, then it's A Phrygian dominant, if the tonic is D, then it's D harmonic minor. Tonic is what defines the key you are in. So, if you are in the key of D minor, it is called the D harmonic minor scale.
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#8
Quote by JimDawson
I don't see why you would want to think of that as playing phrygian dominant when you could just stick to calling it harmonic minor; that sort of thinking seems to make stuff complicated when it doesn't need to be.

This stuff comes up in threads on modes from time to time. I think those questions have slowed down in the last year or two though.

Because it's a bit easier than saying "I'm playing harmonic minor with the tonal center on the fifth note!"
#9
MaggaraMarine
So for example, if I played C, Am, Dm which is all in the Key of C but played C Ionian on C, A Phygian on Am and D Phrygian over Dm would you class this as Modal as even though the chords are in C major the modes are not, yet they still go with the chords? It's not the best example and would probably sound terrible but in theory the notes fit the chords.
#11
As long as you can hear how the progression resolves, your ear should tell you that the chords belong to a key, thus belong to only one scale.
#12
So when jazz players choose different modes for each chord they play then that's surely classed as playing modally as the chords are usually not within the same key? Sorry it's a thick question. I use different scales/modes all the time but their are so many opinions on what's classed as playing modally. A lot of tutorials even use the above examples as using modes.
#14
Chord-scale theory has nothing to do with real modes. There was a sticky (here's the link) talking about actual modes in usage.

Edit: for actual modal usage it might work, but simple Dm-A-Dm is tonal, and that's where it gets over-complicated.

Btw, for mdc's examples:
Giant Steps is tonal.
Impressions is modal.
Last edited by NeoMvsEu at Jun 29, 2016,
#15
Quote by stayfreejc
So when jazz players choose different modes for each chord they play then that's surely classed as playing modally as the chords are usually not within the same key?
Correct. Modal jazz means the chords don't share a key, and usually each chord represents a different tonal centre or mode. Examples are Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage, or Miles Davis's Flamenco Sketches. Those tunes are not in any particular key, and neighbouring chords don't share a scale. Each chord has its own scale (or mode).
Chord-scale theory is based on that type of jazz - it doesn't really apply to pre-modal jazz based on major or minor keys. (I.e., you can apply it if you want, but it only serves to make it all more complicated .)

Likewise, when playing in D minor and you switch to the A chord, you could call the scale "A phrygian dominant" if you like - but it makes no difference to how it sounds or how you play! (So why bother?) You choose any pattern of D harmonic minor, and work from the A7 chord tones. The longer the A chord lasts, the more you will get that "phrygian dominant" sound - but eventually you're resolving back to D minor, so giving the scale a different name is a little pointless.

To be playing in A phrygian dominant, A would have to be the clear keynote (and key chord). That does happen in certain kinds of gypsy music, but not in normal western key-based music - and it only happens in jazz when that kind of pseudo-Spanish-gypsy sound is wanted (as in Chick Corea's 'La Fiesta').

IOW - as ever in these kinds of questions - this is not about what you can and can't do in music; only about what the most appropriate terms are for what it is you are doing. It always makes best sense to call it what it is - which means (a) keeping it as simple as possible, and (b) calling it what it sounds like.
Quote by stayfreejc

Sorry it's a thick question. I use different scales/modes all the time but their are so many opinions on what's classed as playing modally. A lot of tutorials even use the above examples as using modes.
Well, there's a lot of wrong information on the internet. I assume that won't come as too much of a surprise... (Maybe we're all wrong on here too?? )
Last edited by jongtr at Jun 26, 2016,
#16
jongtr
Thank you for the comprehensive response! It makes a lot more sense now!
Last edited by stayfreejc at Jun 26, 2016,
#17
OK, I"m going to cite "E Phrygian dominant & A harmonic minor as they are often encountered in the specific context of your question. Anything I say, obviously also attaches the the key/mode you're discussing.
Quote by stayfreejc
Hi guys. I have been a follower of the forum for many years but this is my first post so hi!

I have been trying to get a clear answer on this but cannot.

Example;

If you are playing in D minor and switch to the V chord (A) but played it as a major chord the common scale to use is the harmonic minor. Now if I started a lead line on the A note then would it be correct in saying I am actually playing in Phrygian dominant as I am playing from the 5th note of the harmonic minor scale. Nobody ever mentions this and was wondering if I am wrong in thinking it? Especially you make a point in resolving to the A note whilst on the A major chord? Any help form any or you theory gurus would be hugely appreciated as its driving me nuts. Thanks
OK first, before I get into trouble here, "Phrygian Dominant" is not a mode, it's a scale. However, E Phrygian dominant played backwards", it's A harmonic minor...

For that relationship, we go to the "circle of 5ths". "A" is the 4th of an E scale. But E is the 5th of an A scale. (It makes no difference whether we're discussing major or minor scales, the intervallic relationships are the same.

The idea of "Phrygian dominant " versus "harmonic minor" really comes into play in a chord progression called "the Andalusian cadence".

The most often encountered progression with that is Am, G, F, E. Note especially the F, E major to major step. If we were talking about the "Phrygian mode", the "I" chord (E) would be minor. So then i (Em), II (F) would be the Phrygian mode proper's chords.

The E major triad is E, G#, B. In A natural minor the 7th is G (natural). When you change the A minor scale to "A harmonic minor", the G becomes G#. That sets up the same "leading tone" structure which exists in a major scale. Here's C major real quick, C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. Note that B > C is only a 1/2 step.

So, in A natural minor the "v" chord would be E minor. In A harmonic minor , the "V" chords is now. E major.

This is pretty important, the A harmonic minor scale from the 5th (E) to the 5th, is also the Phrygian dominant scale, because of the G#.

In your key (D minor) the Andalusian Cadence would be, Dm, C, Bb, A. Or what I like to call "Sultans of Swing". And depending on what you want to call the "I" chord, the scale would be either D harmonic minor, or A Phrygian dominant.

A better example of D harmonic minor would be The Rolling Stones, "Paint it Black". The chord progression in the verse is "i" > "V7". (I've read they do the song in D minor now that they've gotten old). They used to do it in either Fm or Em Because it's lacking the Bb > A altogether, that song has nothing to do with Phrygian dominant, in spite of the fact technically the scale is still there from the 5th to the 5th of D minor.

I hope that's clear,although I doubt if it is, and I apologize for that.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jun 28, 2016,
#18
Quote by Captaincranky
OK first, before I get into trouble here, "Phrygian Dominant" is not a mode, it's a scale. However, "played backwards", it's A harmonic minor...

For that relationship, we go to the "circle of 5ths". "A" is the 4th of an E scale. But E is the 5th of an A scale. (It makes no difference whether we're discussing major or minor scales, the intervallic relationships are the same.

The idea of "Phrygian dominant " versus "harmonic minor" really comes into play in a chord progression called "the Andalusian cadence".

The most often encountered progression with that is Am, G, F, E. Note especially the F, E major to major step. If we were talking about the "Phrygian mode", the "I" chord (E) would be minor. So then i (Em), II (F) would be the Phrygian mode proper's chords.

The E major triad is E, G#, B. In A natural minor the 7th is G (natural). When you change the A minor scale to "A harmonic minor", the G becomes G#. That sets up the same "leading tone" structure which exists in a major scale. Here's C major real quick, C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. Note that B > C is only a 1/2 step.

So, in A natural minor the "v" chord would be E minor. In A harmonic minor , the "V" chords is now. E major.

This is pretty important, the A harmonic minor scale from the 5th (E) to the 5th, is also the Phrygian dominant scale, because of the G#.

In your key (D minor) the Andalusian Cadence would be, Dm, C, Bb, A. Or what I like to call "Sultans of Swing". And depending on what you want to call the "I" chord, the scale would be either D harmonic minor, or A Phrygian dominant.

A better example of D harmonic minor would be The Rolling Stones, "Paint it Black". The chord progression in the verse is "i" > "V7". (I've read they do the song in D minor now that they've gotten old). They used to do it in either Fm or Em Because it's lacking the Bb > A altogether, that song has nothing to do with Phrygian dominant, in spite of the fact technically the scale is still there from the 5th to the 5th of D minor.

I hope that's clear,although I doubt if it is, and I apologize for that.


Excellent! Yes that is clear and a very good explanation. In fact I was playing sultans the other day and was wondering if it's harmonic minor or Phrygian dominant.
#20
Ya know mdc, my soul was literally crushed when nobody broke into singing, "one pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small", after about 45 seconds of that.....
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jun 28, 2016,
#21
Hehe. I had the inclination to blitz this thread with some Phrygian and Minor. I just love that song.
Last edited by mdc at Jun 28, 2016,
#22
Quote by stayfreejc
In fact I was playing sultans the other day and was wondering if it's harmonic minor or Phrygian dominant.
Either - but only on the A7 chord. (The key is D minor.)
In fact, on the original at least, Knopfler tended to stick to chord arpeggios. In just one of his fills on the A7 chord, he implied harmonic minor, by adding Bb to his phrase, but in three later ones he used B natural, suggesting D melodic minor. Otherwise, on every A chord, he played A7 arpeggios, often with a D in passing. IOW, it seems he wasn't thinking scales at all, just chord tones, and any passing notes that seemed to work at the time.
Last edited by jongtr at Jun 28, 2016,
#23
Quote by jongtr
Either - but only on the A7 chord. (The key is D minor.)
In fact, on the original at least, Knopfler tended to stick to chord arpeggios. In just one of his fills on the A7 chord, he implied harmonic minor, by adding Bb to his phrase, but in three later ones he used B natural, suggesting D melodic minor. Otherwise, on every A chord, he played A7 arpeggios, often with a D in passing. IOW, it seems he wasn't thinking scales at all, just chord tones, and any passing notes that seemed to work at the time.
I honestly don't klnow what else Knopfler would be thinking of except "chord tones".

"Phrygian modality" simply can't be fully attained, if you put a D minor chord in the score. However, the Andalusian cadence affords the opportunity to mimic it, as long as you stay on the "V & IV" chords of D minor (harmonic).

If we take your example of "fiddling about" with chord tones on the A7, you'll find A7sus4, resolves to i (Dm) or it can simply lead back to "VI" (Bb) as the 3rd of the chord.

That's what gives the Andalusian cadence its character, mystique, .and Spanish / Byzantine sound, noodling around from "I> II", or "V > VI", whatever you want to call it.

In fact, I thought it was you who put up the example of a pure Phrygian dominant modal piece about a bullfight, by whatshisname from PBS fundraisers! (Andre Rieu, or something like that)
#24
Quote by stayfreejc
So when jazz players choose different modes for each chord they play then that's surely classed as playing modally as the chords are usually not within the same key? Sorry it's a thick question. I use different scales/modes all the time but their are so many opinions on what's classed as playing modally. A lot of tutorials even use the above examples as using modes.


Modality is a property of the piece's harmony, not improv done over the harmony. A soloist can take a modal approach to literally anything, but that doesn't mean the piece as a whole is modal. Tonal harmony can also have modal elements, or form can have modal sections.

Modality is not a strict black/white concept. The concept is just another tool for musicians to use, and I can't think of anything that's ever been built with only one tool.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jun 28, 2016,
#25
Quote by cdgraves
. The concept is just another tool for musicians to use, and I can't think of anything that's ever been with only one tool.
Oh, I don't know. Americans Indians were known to have killed and scalped someone with the same tomahawk! (But yeah sure, I suppose that's an extreme example... ).
#26
Quote by Captaincranky
Oh, I don't know. Americans Indians were known to have killed and scalped someone with the same tomahawk! (But yeah sure, I suppose that's an extreme example... ).


let's be nice now, some people who post here are part Native... anyway the practice was hardly unique to native Americans, and the scalpings in American history were largely at the behest of Europeans who had allied with Natives to displace English settlers.
#27
Quote by cdgraves
let's be nice now, some people who post here are part Native... anyway the practice was hardly unique to native Americans, and the scalpings in American history were largely at the behest of Europeans who had allied with Natives to displace English settlers.
I wasn't making a value judgment, simply noting the methodology....
#28
Who disturbs Jet from his eternal slumber?

Read my mode thread boys.

You're just playing in D harmonic minor. If you want to get technical and use that chord scale name, in relation to A, yes it is A Phrygian dominant but this is unnecessary. The most efficient thought process is:

Oh wow, a chord progression that revolves around D minor. I'm going to use D harmonic minor then.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#30
Quote by Jet Penguin
Who disturbs Jet from his eternal slumber?

Read my mode thread boys.

You're just playing in D harmonic minor. If you want to get technical and use that chord scale name, in relation to A, yes it is A Phrygian dominant but this is unnecessary. The most efficient thought process is:

Oh wow, a chord progression that revolves around D minor. I'm going to use D harmonic minor then.
OK, first off, I'm not claiming any enduring modality to the Andalusian Cadence. But in point of fact, the natural minor is a better choice of improvising scale, until you hit the "IV".

So then in D minor: "i" the C# of Phrygian Dom. clashes as a leading tone to Dm. (We play C natural), Next C major, (do we really want to play a G# over this chord)? So again, we're improvising with D (natural) minor, Next Bb. I'm not even sure what C# by itself would sound like on top of that. And here we are at A major. You got Bb, D, & F (from Bb), and you add A, C#, & E from A major. All 1/2 tone steps. And that's where we can use D harmonic minor of "Phrygian dominant", or whatever else we choose to call it.

It is the Phrygian dominant scale at this point, we are playing a Phrygian "motif, "device", "hook", "riff", call it whatever you want. But yes, I agree the key is still D minor, yet the scale can, (or does) change from the natural minor to the harmonic minor as you cycle through the chord progression. At least to my my way of thinking, which is to shoot for the least dissonance. It's probably a pop, country, folk prejudice. I like my I. IV. V to be fluid, not sounding like a minor 13th chord played by an out of tune symphony orchestra.
#31
^ I think you're misinterpreting.

Harmonic minor scale collections come from the tendency to make the dominant (V) a major chord instead of the natural minor chord for harmonic voice leading. It really doesn't have much to do with anything else. Overall, it is still minor, but with a harmonic "correction" over V.

He's only talking about harmonic minor with only the A chord, the dominant in D minor, as context. Over the A chord, he says use D harmonic minor.
Last edited by NeoMvsEu at Jun 28, 2016,
#32
Quote by NeoMvsEu
^ I think you're misinterpreting.

Harmonic minor scale collections come from the tendency to make the dominant (V) a major chord instead of the natural minor chord for harmonic voice leading. It really doesn't have much to do with anything else. Overall, it is still minor, but with a harmonic "correction" over V.

He's only talking about harmonic minor with only the A chord, the dominant in D minor, as context. Over the A chord, he says use D harmonic minor.
OK, I'm not misinterpreting anything.. D harmonic minor scale is also A Phrygian dominant from the 5th to the 5th. Ergo, when you stack 2 major chords a 1/2 tone apart, you get a Phrygian "motif". You can improvise on those 6 chord tones. I understand it's not modal if you resolve to Dm. If you don't you can make it stay modal.

This is the same infinite argument that, "White Rabbit", One More Cup of Coffee", and "Sultans of Swing" always generate.

With the Andalusian cadence hits the 2 major chords 1/2 half step apart, you can think of it a "modal expression", a "Modal Segment", et al, ad nauseum, and that's the only point where you can successfully (without unnecessary dissonance), use that "voice leading note" other that the resolution back to "i".

So, one more time. the Andalusian cadence in "A harmonic minor": Am (use the A natural minor scale to improvise, it gives you a B7th (G)), G (use the A natural minor scale to improv) , F (use the A natural minor scale to inprov), E! use the harmonic minor scale to improv) It contains a major 3rd for the E chord, and the very same G#, becomes the leading tone back to Am,

Now, we've ventured very briefly into modal territory, and gotten back to our comfortable "key", with nary a scratch.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jun 29, 2016,
#33
Quote by Captaincranky
I honestly don't klnow what else Knopfler would be thinking of except "chord tones".
I completely agree. When I talked about what he played "implying" harmonic or melodic minor, I didn't mean he did it deliberately - even if he knew what harmonic and melodic minor were. (I wouldn't be surprised if he did know what harmonic and melodic minor were, but there's no evidence of it in his playing on Sultans. It's around 95% chord tones, and 5% intuitive passing notes.
Quote by Captaincranky

In fact, I thought it was you who put up the example of a pure Phrygian dominant modal piece about a bullfight, by whatshisname from PBS fundraisers! (Andre Rieu, or something like that)
You have me confused with someone else.
#34
Quote by Captaincranky
OK, I'm not misinterpreting anything.. D harmonic minor scale is also A Phrygian dominant from the 5th to the 5th. Ergo, when you stack 2 major chords a 1/2 tone apart, you get a Phrygian "motif". You can improvise on those 6 chord tones. I understand it's not modal if you resolve to Dm. If you don't you can make it stay modal.

This is the same infinite argument that, "White Rabbit", One More Cup of Coffee", and "Sultans of Swing" always generate.

With the Andalusian cadence hits the 2 major chords 1/2 half step apart, you can think of it a "modal expression", a "Modal Segment", et al, ad nauseum, and that's the only point where you can successfully (without unnecessary dissonance), use that "voice leading note" other that the resolution back to "i".

So, one more time. the Andalusian cadence in "A harmonic minor": Am (use the A natural minor scale to improvise, it gives you a B7th (G)), G (use the A natural minor scale to improv) , F (use the A natural minor scale to inprov), E! use the harmonic minor scale to improv) It contains a major 3rd for the E chord, and the very same G#, becomes the leading tone back to Am,

Now, we've ventured very briefly into modal territory, and gotten back to our comfortable "key", with nary a scratch.
1) you want to lowercase your b, because B7 = B D# F# A, not a flat 7.
2) This is so complicated. Why can't we make music simple
#35
Quote by jongtr
...[ ].....You have me confused with someone else.
Well, it looks like if you want something done, you have to do it yourself.

First, here's a long winded explanation of the "Adalusian Cadence" from none other than Wikipedia, (Spoiler alert. It begins with the term, "Descending Phrygian Tetrachord": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andalusian_cadence

Here's "Espana Cani" performed by Andre Rieu and orchestra, of course:


And finally, here's "Espana Cani" from our own UG archives. Take note of the "MM" chord changes, and the fact it doesn't mechanically go back from FE to Am. Thus, it can't be announced after the F > E chord movement...., "EUREKA this is in A minor"

In fact, it looks like the song actually winds up in D major!

INTRODUCCION: E .. F ... G - F - E

E F E
Oye mi cantar.
F E
Para ti lo eché a volar.
G7
Para ti,
C F
España bajo el sol andaluz,
A# E
cuna de la raza cañí,
Am
donde hay que beber pa olvidar
E .. F ... G - F - E
y ser feliz.


A
Soy gitano de Granaa (Granada)
A# A
nacío en el Albaicín,
A# A
un barrio popular,
A# A
tan blanco lo mismo que un jazmín.
A
Yo camelo a una mujer,
A# A
gitana también igual que yo.
A# A
Hermosa pa el querer,
A# A
morena de piel y de color.


A A#
Distingo el paladar
A A#
del vino de Jerez,
A Gm
las palmas a compás,
F A#
el toro de Mirabrás.
A Gm
Y el cante de un calé
F A# A
por zambra y soleá.


A....

D A
Tú no sabes lo que te quiero,
D
España del alma mía.
A
Si me apartan de ti me muero,
D
pues vivo de tu alegría.


F#.. F#-G-F#
Soy cañí porque así me hizo DIos.
A... A-A#-A
Mi rubí es la luz de mi amor.
D A
Ay que sí, mira, mira, mirame.
D
Yo por tus ojitos no sé lo que hacer.
A
Tiene mi reina labios de coral
D G .... A ... A - D
que de noche y día quisiera besar.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jun 29, 2016,
#36
descending diatonic Phrygian, more likely.

That chord chart is BS. Sorry, A, A#?

That C-Db-Eb-Db-C at the beginning is your Andalusian stuff, but it resolves to F MAJOR, which is the dominant of Bb.

That's a huge Phrygian dominant section in F, but once it goes to Bb minor/major, it's no longer really modal. Same with the shift from C (V/V) to F (V).
#37
You no what, I enjoyed guitar so much more when all I knew was the pentatonic scale.
Last edited by stayfreejc at Jun 29, 2016,
#38
You should probably just play instead of worrying about naming things.

Unless you actually are concerned about calling things the right name.
#39
NeoMvsEu
I no. I have a massive OCD problem when it comes to certain guitar stuff
#40
Fair. But theory knowledge does not come before the music. Theory can only describe music after it's been made, so I suggest you start with ideas you have in your head and then ask questions once you have them
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