#1
I know harmonic minor scales are slowly being beaten to death....and soon will end up like the Pentatonic scales.....but what songs use harmonic minor scales? I'm not too into shred (yngwie malmsteem i know does it, but i don't listen to him)...so simpler song suggestions would be nice. I was thinking, specifically, does the Mars Volta use it? It sounds like it....but then again it sounds like they don't even use music theory....
#2
A lot of minor key songs use it when they reach the V chord. Take Dire Straits' Sultans of Swing. The song is mostly in D natural minor, but when he gets to the V chord, he plays A major rather than A minor. This could be interpreted as Harmonic or melodic minor, but Harmonic minor is much more fun.
#3
i cant think of anybody other than yngwie off the top of my head, but mars volta doesnt use harmonic minor
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#4
Almost anything - Symphony X
Tonight - Elton John
Grace - Jeff Buckley
Newborn - Muse (and many others by muse but this one stands out)
Beachwood Park - The Zombies
2+2=5 - Radiohead

Very rarely do you find a pop song composed entirely in harmonic minor because the major seventh interval is usually used sparingly within natural minor or just played over the V as described above.
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#5
Quote by bangoodcharlote
A lot of minor key songs use it when they reach the V chord. Take Dire Straits' Sultans of Swing. The song is mostly in D natural minor, but when he gets to the V chord, he plays A major rather than A minor. This could be interpreted as Harmonic or melodic minor, but Harmonic minor is much more fun.


That is a prime example right there
#7
It's kinda useless to try and categorize songs as harmonic minor vs natural minor. Any song with a dominant-to-minor resolution is making use of the harmonic minor scale.

When you play over a V-i, you're not making a big change scalewise, literally just using the major 7th to accommodate the V.

Try to thin in terms of the harmony, not just the scale used for melodies. V-i is EVERYWHERE in music. Just turn on the radio and I guarantee you'll hear a V-i in less than 10 minutes, no matter what station you pick.
Last edited by cdgraves at Feb 4, 2014,
#9
Like earlier mentioned, it's often used on the V chord for a stronger cadence (which I prefer). 9 out of 10 times I play the V chord as a major or dominant seventh in my minor based songs.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Feb 5, 2014,
#10
Quote by bangoodcharlote
This could be interpreted as Harmonic or melodic minor, but Harmonic minor is much more fun.


no, it couldn't. by that vein it is also possible to argue that it could be interpreted as dorian #7 or major b3 or a bunch of other BS mode names. i doubt any knowledgeable musician would interpret a simple V-i as melodic minor, because of the conventions by which harmonic minor and melodic minor exist.

harmonic minor was created by musicians using the leading tone to return to the tonic (V-i). melodic minor was created to mitigate the augmented SECOND between the 6th and 7th scale degrees of harmonic minor (A - B#).

it simply wouldn't make sense to analyze this as being melodic minor, unless the natural 6th of the key were involved.

Quote by cdgraves
It's kinda useless to try and categorize songs as harmonic minor vs natural minor. Any song with a dominant-to-minor resolution is making use of the harmonic minor scale.

When you play over a V-i, you're not making a big change scalewise, literally just using the major 7th to accommodate the V.

Try to thin in terms of the harmony, not just the scale used for melodies. V-i is EVERYWHERE in music. Just turn on the radio and I guarantee you'll hear a V-i in less than 10 minutes, no matter what station you pick.


this is the best answer i've seen in this thread so far.

ritchie blackmore, elton john, and malmsteen didn't even come close to pioneering the use of harmonic minor in this way. musicians have been doing this for at least 400 years (yes, even before ol' J.S.B.) for exactly this purpose - creating the leading tone at cadences. in traditional analysis of music of the common practice period, to use an F major chord in the key of G minor was almost NEVER treated as a VII, but most of the time was actually a V/III. cadences back to the tonic were most often done by way of a major dominant chord (which is where the harmonic minor scale comes from, not the other way around).

thinking in this way will prove, by far, the most beneficial for you in terms of the relationship between natural minor and harmonic minor.
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Last edited by AeolianWolf at Feb 5, 2014,
#11
Quote by AeolianWolf
melodic minor was created to mitigate the augmented third between the 6th and 7th scale degrees of harmonic minor (A - B#).


Typo? augmented 2nd. Great post though!
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#12
Quote by AeolianWolf
no, it couldn't. by that vein it is also possible to argue that it could be interpreted as dorian #7 or major b3 or a bunch of other BS mode names. i doubt any knowledgeable musician would interpret a simple V-i as melodic minor, because of the conventions by which harmonic minor and melodic minor exist.

harmonic minor was created by musicians using the leading tone to return to the tonic (V-i). melodic minor was created to mitigate the augmented third between the 6th and 7th scale degrees of harmonic minor (A - B#).

it simply wouldn't make sense to analyze this as being melodic minor, unless the natural 6th of the key were involved.


this is the best answer i've seen in this thread so far.

ritchie blackmore, elton john, and malmsteen didn't even come close to pioneering the use of harmonic minor in this way. musicians have been doing this for at least 400 years (yes, even before ol' J.S.B.) for exactly this purpose - creating the leading tone at cadences. in traditional analysis of music of the common practice period, to use an F major chord in the key of G minor was almost NEVER treated as a VII, but most of the time was actually a V/III. cadences back to the tonic were most often done by way of a major dominant chord (which is where the harmonic minor scale comes from, not the other way around).

thinking in this way will prove, by far, the most beneficial for you in terms of the relationship between natural minor and harmonic minor.


what he said....
The melodic minor...is the just the aeolian and harmonic combined.
Play the harmonic minor ascending and aeolian decending.

So you get used to doing that. You dont always decend in the aeolian.
You play -2 (Phrygian). it's still going to resolve to the root.

You can basically do the samething with the ionian, mixolyian, and lydian.
acsending ionian, Then decsend in mixolian. acsend back up with ionian then
decend with lydian. It's slight shifting of one note. Of course you dont always play
scale striaght up and down.

when you raise the 4th into a +4. it acts like the leading tone to 5th.
it wont make sense unless the major 3rd is involved.
It's the samething going from the 6th to 7 and octive.

When you desecend from the -7. You drop the 6th into the -6 to the 5th.
It's the samething when decending from the -3. Drop the 2 into a -2 to the root.
Last edited by smc818 at Feb 5, 2014,
#13
There was a thread a while ago when somebody was posting about this great "harmonic minor riff" they had ... and it wasn't a bad riff. But it didn't have a 7th in it. It was just minor.

I think guitarists get obsessed with the harmonic minor because they tend to think in shapes, and the slapdash way people learn theory doesn't help.

All of this needs to be grounded in your ear. Can you hear what a leading tone sounds like? Can you hear why a V-i cadence is stronger than a v-i cadence? If not, focus on your ear. If you can't HEAR theoretical concepts in practice, then you don't really know them. (Imagine trying to write poems in a language you don't speak. Sure, you can use google to tell you what words mean, and you can study grammar guides to get the words in the right order, but you're not really going to create great poetry unless you really know how to speak the language, right? Yet this is what so many musicians do with theory).
#14
Quote by MattyBoy 1337
Typo? augmented 2nd. Great post though!


oh shit you're right! let's go back and fix that before anyone else notic--****.
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#16
Quote by smc818
what he said....
The melodic minor...is the just the aeolian and harmonic combined.
Play the harmonic minor ascending and aeolian decending.


Nope, just like a major scale is not "just" a minor scale with a different starting point

Due to harmonic minor, a new "issue" occured where there was now a bigger interval than a major second leap between notes, as so pointed out by Aeolian wolf.

This was harder to sing for some as well as creating arguably too much voice separation when one voice leaps up so much already so far up from the tonic.

To fix this the note before the raised 7 (natural major 7) was also raised from a minor 6th to a major 6th.

Thus melodic minor was born.

Music started out with the voice, which is also why counterpoint "rules" exist, to make easier use of multiple people singing and to give a less convoluted texture with multiple voices. Which is also easier for vocalists, because it's hard to sing intervals that are close together for two people.

Just try singing the harmony on top of a vocalist, it is quite hard to Not follow the main melody, and even harder with SATB (4 voices) especially if voices crossover and when voices harmonise dissonant at points....(due to people's voice naturally wanting to go consonant to whatever music they sing to)

Which comes back to the "rules" off counterpoint

Once you get more experienced in theory and/or music you will find most conventions make sense and are almost naturally formed as a result of composers becoming aqquainted with how music actually comes across to the (unbiased) listener.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Feb 6, 2014,