zhille
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Join date: May 2007
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#1
Hi, I guess everyone hear heard something about Harmonic Minor Scale before...and fans of Y. Malmsteen get their heads filled with it on a regular basis, since it's Mr Malmsteens favorite scale.

Now, I doubt that most of you, except people that study music, of course(hehe..I don't), have ever heard of a HARMONIC MAJOR. So I'll try to explain, and present to you in an understandable manner, this very interesting scale worth knowing. This scale can sometimes be found in use in south-eastern and eastern European music and just rarely in western music.

Before anything, please excuse my sometimes bad English grammar, and mis-spells, English is not my native language.

=============================================
The Harmonic Major Scale
=============================================

The Harmonic Major is made by LOWERING THE SIXTH (VI)scale degree of a regular Major scale by one half step (one fret lower). It's often referred to as a combination of Major and Minor because it's having characteristics of both of them: half step between III and IV(characteristic for Major) and a half step between V and VI (characteristic for Minor)

The scale is thus containing half tone intervals between the III and IV, V and VI degrees. By lowering the sixth we also made a ONE AND A HALF STEP - W+h (skip two frets, for example - 4h7 in tab markup) )interval between the VI and VII degree. This is how the structure of a Harmonic Major looks like:

I W II W III h IV W V h VI W+h VII h VIII=I

The "W" letter stands for a whole tone between the respective scale degrees(skip one fret and play the next note e.g. 5h7), and the "h" stands for half tone between the scale degrees(play the note on the next fret - 5h6). W+h stands for the "infamous" one and a half step interval (skip two frets - 5h8).

Let's make an example, I will be doing this in C Major, for beginners, not to get confused by sharps and flats.

This is C major as we all know it:

C W D W E h F W G W A W B h C

And to make a Harmonic Major scale out of a regular major scale, as said before, we need to lower the sixth note(in this case - A) by one half-step (1 fret lower on the neck). Here is how it looks like

C W D W E h F W G W Ab (W+h) B h C

Notice the A became Ab(A flat) and how the interval structure changed. You made your first Harmonic Major scale, or as we call it here in Serbia "Moldur" the Minor-Major scale!

You can play the C Harmonic Major over a C major chord(C, Cmaj7, CMaj9..) with a flat 6th or a flat 13th (b6, b13). The sound is weird, jazzy, and needs some time to accustom.

Here it is in practice(C Harm.Maj) these are just routine fingerings, try to make up your own, in the style that suits you and your fingers. Transpose the patterns one or two octaves up, and see if you can get your own patterns...etc. I am doing this article away from my guitar, and I haven't used tablatures for some time, so if anyone runs into some mistake, PLEASE let me know!

The root(starting)note here is C, you can move the pattern back and forward on the neck and just name the scale for it's root note, if you start pattern 1 from the 7th fret on the A string, your starting note is E, and thus your scale is E Harm.Maj.

Pattern 1 Pattern 2 Pattern 3...
e||-------------------|-----------------------|-------------7-8-|
B||-------------------|-----------------------|-------6-8-9-----|
G||-------------4-5---|-----------------------|-5-7-9-----------|
D||-------3-5-6-------|-----------------9-10--|-----------------|
A||-3-5-7-------------|---------8-10-11-------|-----------------|
E||-------------------|-8-10-12---------------|-----------------|
C Harmonic Major


==================================================
Scale chords and Modes of the Harmonic Major Scale
==================================================

This will be a little more theory-demanding, because Harm. Major contains some unusual intervals in it's modes and it's seventh chords, so I suppose you know your intervals and seventh chord types. If you are new to theory, you'll just need the basic triad, which is the first thing after the scale tone number in the scale chord part(I - Major, for example).
Let's do the modes first:


Modes of the Harmonic Major
==================================================
-Starting from the first degree, we have the ordinary Harmonic major, so I won't spell that, I talked about it all the time .

-Starting from the second scale degree, we get a LOCRIAN #2#6 mode, and it's formula is:

Locrian #2#6 : 1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - b5 - 6 - b7

-Starting from the third, we get a PHRYGIAN b4 mode:

Phrygian b4 : 1 - b2 - b3 - b4 - 5 - b6 - b7

-Starting from the fourth, we get a Jazz Minor#4, often refferred as the Lydian Diminished mode:

Lydian Diminished/Jazz Minor #4 : 1 - 2 - b3 - #4 - 5 - 6 - 7

-Starting from the fifth, we get a Myxolydian b2 mode:

Myxolydian b2 : 1 - b2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - b7

-Starting from the sixth, we get the Lydian Augmented #2 mode:

Lydian Diminished : 1 - #2 - 3 - #4 - #5 - 6 - 7

-The sixth mode of the Harmonic Major is one of the interesting ones, because it does not have a standard name. Most of the people call it Locrian bb7(double-flat seventh)so, starting from the seventh scale degree, it looks like this:

Locrian bb7: 1 - b2 - b3 - 4 - b5 - b6 - bb7


Scale chords in the Harmonic Major Scale
==================================================
Here are the triads which appear on every scale tone in the Harm. Major, followed by its corresponding mode, a basic seventh chord, and an altered seventh chord for use with the scale/mode. Those altered sevenths really put out it's corresponding mode's characteristics, because they contain the typical interval for that mode. Hope you people manage though chord symbols...I tried to use the most standard symbols.

I - Major
| Harmonic Major | Maj7 | Maj7#5

II - Diminished | Locrian#2#6 | Dim | m7b5

III - Minor | Phrygian b4 | m7 or 7 | 7#5 | 7#5#9 (Phrygian b4 practically has both b3 and 3 (b4=3) so you can play a dominant seventh (7) chord too)

IV -Minor | Lydian Diminished(Jazz Minor #4) | mMaj7(minor triad with a Maj7) | m6

V - Major | Myxolydian b2 | 7b9 | 6(b9) |

VI - Augmented | Lydian Aug. #2 | Maj7#5

VII - Diminished | Locrian bb7 | Dim | Dim7

==================================================
I hope this was informative and understandable, try to practice this scale a bit, and if you find it nice, I will be glad . Any feedback would be great!
I am Žile, I'm from Serbia, and I like guitars... and beans of course...never underestimate well cooked beans!

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Last edited by zhille at Jul 23, 2007,
rcw110131
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2006
2,372 IQ
#3
From this, just lower the second degree a half step and viola, the 10000000-times better sounding Double Harmonic (or Byzantine) scale.
zhille
Official Serb, rawr
Join date: May 2007
253 IQ
#4
Quote by rcw110131
From this, just lower the second degree a half step and viola, the 10000000-times better sounding Double Harmonic (or Byzantine) scale.

Yeah! That's one hell of a scale ...has two harmonic tetrachords so cool you can't miss it .

This lesson was written to point out there actually IS a harmonic major, as some theoreticians call it.

By the way, I hope the lesson is readable and understandable...
I am Žile, I'm from Serbia, and I like guitars... and beans of course...never underestimate well cooked beans!

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SethMegadefan
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Join date: Dec 2004
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#5
Quote by zhille
By the way, I hope the lesson is readable and understandable...

Don't worry, it was understandable. I actually haven't heard of this scale either, and it's awesome to know of its existence. It's a bit short, but it's still a cool article, no doubt. Nice job.
zhille
Official Serb, rawr
Join date: May 2007
253 IQ
#6
Quote by SethMegadefan
Don't worry, it was understandable. I actually haven't heard of this scale either, and it's awesome to know of its existence. It's a bit short, but it's still a cool article, no doubt. Nice job.

yes it's short because I did not want to bug the readers.

You have it all explained in detail, except the scale chords, because this is a scale only lesson. I might re-do it to include the scale chords.

Tell me your opinion.
I am Žile, I'm from Serbia, and I like guitars... and beans of course...never underestimate well cooked beans!

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SethMegadefan
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Join date: Dec 2004
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#7
^Actually yeah, scale chords would be awesome. That'd be a great addition to the article. If it wouldn't be too much trouble to put them in, I'd love to see them.
zhille
Official Serb, rawr
Join date: May 2007
253 IQ
#8
Quote by SethMegadefan
^Actually yeah, scale chords would be awesome. That'd be a great addition to the article. If it wouldn't be too much trouble to put them in, I'd love to see them.

OK, I'll get to it as soon as I find time.
I am Žile, I'm from Serbia, and I like guitars... and beans of course...never underestimate well cooked beans!

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notoriousnumber
UG Fightmaster
Join date: Oct 2005
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#9
Interesting, I havent got a guitar on me now, but when I get back to mine Ill definitely try this out. Tidy up some of the formatting and this will be a great article, plus add some stuff about that double harmonic as well.
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zhille
Official Serb, rawr
Join date: May 2007
253 IQ
#11
ARTICLE UPDATED, ADDED MORE STUFF!

Quote by notoriousnumber
Interesting, I havent got a guitar on me now, but when I get back to mine Ill definitely try this out. Tidy up some of the formatting and this will be a great article, plus add some stuff about that double harmonic as well.

LOL, I didn't even notice, the text editor messed up my spacing between the letters. I had to apply a different formating to the scale. I hope people don't get confused.

Other thing...I won't add anything about the Double Harmonic, sorry, because that is a completely different scale, not much, but different, and I will maybe write an article about it, because I use it pretty much. But thanx for noting.

Quote by SethMegadefan

^Actually yeah, scale chords would be awesome. That'd be a great addition to the article. If it wouldn't be too much trouble to put them in, I'd love to see them.

Here you go, it's a bit theory demanding with all the "b"-s and the "#"-s and weird mode names, but it's understandable IMO.
I am Žile, I'm from Serbia, and I like guitars... and beans of course...never underestimate well cooked beans!

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Last edited by zhille at Jul 23, 2007,
SethMegadefan
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#12
Quote by zhille
Here you go, it's a bit theory demanding with all the "b"-s and the "#"-s and weird mode names, but it's understandable IMO.

It's an awesome addition, though. Thanks a LOT.
Johnljones7443
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2005
559 IQ
#13
Quote by zhille
Starting from the third, we get a PHRYGIAN b4 mode: Phrygian b4 : 1 - b2 - b3 - b4 - 5 - b6 - b7


You'd never call this scale Phrygian b4 or spell it with a b4. In the case of having a minor third and major third in the same scale (a la altered) the major third defines the tonality and the minor third functions as an augmented 2nd, thus we get: 1 - b2 - #2 - 3 - 5 - b6 - b7 which you can look at as being the alt. scale with a nat.5 and the #5 functioning as a b6.

It also better defines the function of the scale and the quality of chord you would play it over (dominant) - as you'd never play this over a m7 or m7b9 as Phrygian would suggest (although susb9 is a really nice choice).

Quote by zhille
I - Major| Harmonic Major | Maj7 | Maj7#5 (note that #5 = b6!)


Note that in this case #5 does not = b6. The scale already has a perfect 5th so we hear the augmented 5th as a minor 6th.

There is a big difference between Δ#5 (1 - 3 - #5 - 7 from Ionian +) and Δb6 (1 - 3 - 5 - b6 - 7 from Harmonic major).

zhille
Official Serb, rawr
Join date: May 2007
253 IQ
#14
Quote by Johnljones7443
You'd never call this scale Phrygian b4 or spell it with a b4. In the case of having a minor third and major third in the same scale (a la altered) the major third defines the tonality and the minor third functions as an augmented 2nd, thus we get: 1 - b2 - #2 - 3 - 5 - b6 - b7 which you can look at as being the alt. scale with a nat.5 and the #5 functioning as a b6.

It also better defines the function of the scale and the quality of chord you would play it over (dominant) - as you'd never play this over a m7 or m7b9 as Phrygian would suggest (although susb9 is a really nice choice).


Well, if you're feeling contributive, help me to find an appropriate solution to this mode...I was a little confused so that looked reasonable PM me if you are willing.


Note that in this case #5 does not = b6. The scale already has a perfect 5th so we hear the augmented 5th as a minor 6th.
There is a big difference between Δ#5 (1 - 3 - #5 - 7 from Ionian +) and Δb6 (1 - 3 - 5 - b6 - 7 from Harmonic major).

Hey, thanx for the crit.

On that #5 issue I just wanted to say that #5 note was the same as the b6 note enharmonically, not related to the chord, nothing more. I'm gonna edit that.

Thanx again!
I am Žile, I'm from Serbia, and I like guitars... and beans of course...never underestimate well cooked beans!

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Csquared1001
UG Freak
Join date: Jul 2005
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#15
isn't that the same as the A harmonic minor as A minor is to C major?


A w B h C w D w E h F w+h G#

sharpened 7th

there the same thing basically
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Johnljones7443
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#16
^No, C harmonic major is C - D - E - F - G - Ab - B, A harmonic minor is A - B - C - D - E - F - G#. They are very different.
Csquared1001
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Join date: Jul 2005
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#17
Oh wait theres no A in the harmonic major

so the only difference between the two(note wise) is the lack of a A/G where as the A harmonic minor has G# replacing G and this one has G# replacing A so it still has G

yeah didn't see that before. but hey is was 1 in the morning. cool scale
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gonzaw
UG's Secret Agent
Join date: Mar 2007
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#18
You could say that the harmonic major scale is made from a major tetrachord and a harmonic tetrachord (instead of the harmonic minor scale which is made from a minor tetrachord and a harmonic tetrachord)

Quote by Csquared1001
Oh wait theres no A in the harmonic major

so the only difference between the two(note wise) is the lack of a A/G where as the A harmonic minor has G# replacing G and this one has G# replacing A so it still has G

yeah didn't see that before. but hey is was 1 in the morning. cool scale


Use parallel keys, or scales for instance...

You have Cmajor C D E F G A B C
And you have Cminor C D Eb F G Ab Bb C

C harmonic minor is C D Eb F G Ab B C
C harmonic major is C D E F G Ab B C

Now, C D Eb F is a minor tetrachord, while C D E F is a major tetrachord, so we take those degrees out.
Notice how G Ab B C is present in both? This is what gives them the "harmonic" name, the harmonic tetrachord (I think it was called phrygian tetrachord too)...
Last edited by gonzaw at Jul 18, 2008,