I know what the Harmonic Minor Scale is and all that jazz, but my question is how do I use it? Say my song is in D minor. Now do I apply the Harmonic Minor Scale to D minor, or F Major? And YES, I realize this is the same key with the same notes, but depending on which scale I start from(either D or F), applying the Harmonic Minor Scale will change the notes. Thank you.
Quote by scguitarguy
I know what the Harmonic Minor Scale is and all that jazz, but my question is how do I use it? Say my song is in D minor. Now do I apply the Harmonic Minor Scale to D minor, or F Major? And YES, I realize this is the same key with the same notes, but depending on which scale I start from(either D or F), applying the Harmonic Minor Scale will change the notes. Thank you.

If your playing D harmonic minor, just play natural minor with the raised leading tone (C#). F will not be functioning as the tonic with D harmonic minor use.
I appreciate the reply but that really didn't answer my question. haha you've confused me even more
I guess basically what I'm asking is, if my progression is D minor, and I want to play the harmonic minor scale as my lead, what would the notes be in that scale?
if its in d minor, play the harmonic minor starting on d, whats hard about this? lol although i tend to move in and out of harmonic and normal as too much of that can sound kinda crappy
Quote by scguitarguy
I guess basically what I'm asking is, if my progression is D minor, and I want to play the harmonic minor scale as my lead, what would the notes be in that scale?

Formula for harmonic minor is (1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 7)

So, D, E, F, G, A, Bb, C#
Quote by scguitarguy
I appreciate the reply but that really didn't answer my question. haha you've confused me even more

The harmonic minor scale was created to give composers a major dominant chord within a minor key. This is accomplished by raising the seventh degree of the minor scale (Harmonic minor is: 1-2-b3-4-5-b6-7). The simplest example is A minor (A-B-C-D-E-F-G), which, when the seventh degree is raised, gives us the notes: A-B-C-D-E-F-G#

Just take whatever minor scale you're using and raise the seventh degree by one semitone.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Last edited by Archeo Avis at Mar 20, 2008,
Thank you. That was made out a lot harder than it needed to be. I guess I didn't explain myself well enough
Ok I see. So basically instead of just playing the D minor scale (D-E-F-G-A-Bb-C), I'm playing D-E-F-G-A-Bb-C#. What a miniscule difference...
Quote by scguitarguy
Ok I see. So basically instead of just playing the D minor scale (D-E-F-G-A-Bb-C), I'm playing D-E-F-G-A-Bb-C#. What a miniscule difference...

you'd be surprised as to how big of a difference it can make
Quote by scguitarguy
Ok I see. So basically instead of just playing the D minor scale (D-E-F-G-A-Bb-C), I'm playing D-E-F-G-A-Bb-C#. What a miniscule difference...

It's a huge difference. By raising the seventh degree, you allow a major chord to be built off of the dominant scale degree, which gives a much stronger resolution than the natural minor scale (so much so that the Harmonic minor scale is largely the basis of jazz and classical harmony, hence the name) You also create an augmented second interval between the sixth and seventh scale degrees, giving the scale an angular and dissonant quality (which is exactly why it generally isn't used when creating melodies (which is why we have the melodic minor scale))
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Last edited by Archeo Avis at Mar 20, 2008,
[quote="Archeo Avis(which is exactly why it generally isn't used when creating melodies (which is why we have the melodic minor scale))

Since we're on the topic, I just thought I'd ask what the melodic minor scale was, and how it's used. I tried reading an article on here, but I get confused on the change between ascending and descending.
Quote by bigtimber112
Since we're on the topic, I just thought I'd ask what the melodic minor scale was, and how it's used. I tried reading an article on here, but I get confused on the change between ascending and descending.

The melodic minor scale is a minor scale with raised sixth and seventh degrees (or a harmonic minor scale with a raised sixth, or a major scale with a flatted third) It's written: 1-2-b3-4-5-6-7. In common practice, it was played as shown ascending, and with flatted sixth and seventh degrees while descending, but this is very rarely done anymore. It is very rarely (if ever) used to build progressions because it is incredibly harmonically weak, and damn near impossible to establish any sort of tonality with.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Quote by Archeo Avis
The melodic minor scale is a minor scale with raised sixth and seventh degrees (or a harmonic minor scale with a raised sixth, or a major scale with a flatted third) It's written: 1-2-b3-4-5-6-7. In common practice, it was played as shown ascending, and with flatted sixth and seventh degrees while descending, but this is very rarely done anymore. It is very rarely (if ever) used to build progressions because it is incredibly harmonically weak, and damn near impossible to establish any sort of tonality with.

Thanks, that definitely cleared things up a bit.

The thing that I realized is that this scale has the weakest resolution I've seen out of any scale. Is this because of the four whole tones in a row? I'm finding the scale difficult to use, at least with my style.
Is this because of the four whole tones in a row?

I would imagine that would play a large part, yes. Semitones are useful in allowing the listener to gauge a songs "place" within a scale, and too much symmetry makes the scale tonally ambiguous. There are a few stable progressions that can be built from the melodic minor scale (V-i, for instance) but all of them can be better said to be derived from the harmonic minor scale.

The sequence of whole tones doesn't have to be tonally ambiguous, though. A mode of the melodic minor scale, aeolian dominant (also called mixolydian b6, or melodic major (because it is the exact opposite of the melodic minor scale, being a major scale with a flatted sixth and seventh instead of a minor scale with a raised sixth and seventh), can be used to build harmonically stable progressions. In this case, the iv chord actually functions as the dominant chord, and the v chord will actually displace the tonic). The scale itself has a very peaceful and exotic quality to it.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Quote by Archeo Avis
I would imagine that would play a large part, yes. Semitones are useful in allowing the listener to gauge a songs "place" within a scale, and too much symmetry makes the scale tonally ambiguous. There are a few stable progressions that can be built from the melodic minor scale (V-i, for instance) but all of them can be better said to be derived from the harmonic minor scale.

The sequence of whole tones doesn't have to be tonally ambiguous, though. A mode of the melodic minor scale, aeolian dominant (also called mixolydian b6, or melodic major (because it is the exact opposite of the melodic minor scale, being a major scale with a flatted sixth and seventh instead of a minor scale with a raised sixth and seventh), can be used to build harmonically stable progressions. In this case, the iv chord actually functions as the dominant chord, and the v chord will actually displace the tonic). The scale itself has a very peaceful and exotic quality to it.

I guess I'll just have to play around with it. As for the modes of the scale, I'm still just studying the major scale and minor scales (all three I guess, at this point) and focusing on basic diatonic harmony and the circle of fifths. I'd rather put modes off to the future, for now, but I appreciate the reply.
I'd rather put modes off to the future, for now, but I appreciate the reply.

A wise decision. Modes are useful for helping you to understand the relationships between notes, but modal music itself is very rigid and limiting. I would recommend that anyone interested in theory have a firm grasp of the major scale and diatonic harmony before even thinking about learning modes.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Quote by Archeo Avis
A wise decision. Modes are useful for helping you to understand the relationships between notes, but modal music itself is very rigid and limiting. I would recommend that anyone interested in theory have a firm grasp of the major scale and diatonic harmony before even thinking about learning modes.

Thanks, I'll remember that.