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Unread 01-04-2009, 02:05 PM   #26
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Some random thoughts

Cvinos, I think that the melodic minor is not how you wrote it.

The melodic minor ascends as a natural minor with a raised sixth and seventh and descends as a natural minor. That is precisely the reason that it is useful to think of all scales as derived from the Major. What matters is the interval between a note of the scale and the root. As you have written the scales it is confusing. What does the 3 mean in your melodic minor? If it is not flat, then OK, it is just the third of a minor which we can understand as being a minor third from the root. But then why did you sharp the 7th and not the 6th? (Maybe that is just a typo).

Point 1: you must end up with the same total amount of half steps (the span of an octave).

Major: W W H W W W H (5 W's, 2 H's, total 12 half steps)
Minor: W H W W H W W (5 W's, 2 H's, total 12 half steps)

The Harmonic Minor is a Natural Minor with a raised 7th degree (useful in
classical music because of the strength of the leading tone in resolving tensions... go ahead and play a Major without the last note.. its difficult!).

Harmonic Minor: W H W W H W+H H (same total)
From the Major: 1 2 3b 4 5 6b 7.

The Melodic Minor ascends as a Natural Minor with a raised sixth and seventh (giving it a strong major flavor, you can think of it as a Dorian mode with a raised seventh as well, or, conversely, as a Major with a flatted third) and descends like a Natural Minor (caution, keep in mind that it is descending, or falling from the higher octave, so don't get confused like I do).

Melodic Minor:
Ascending: W H W W W W H (12 Half Steps)
From the Major: 1 2 3b 4 5 6 7
Descending: W W H W W H W (12 again, read it backwards and it is the minor described above).

Looking at an actual scale will help make it more concrete and will help make points 2 and 3.

A Major: A B C# D E F# G# A
A Minor: A B C D E F G A (Major with flat 3, 6, and 7)
A Harmonic Minor: A B C D E F G# A (Minor with raised 7, or Major with flat 3,6)

A Melodic Minor:
Ascending: A B C D E F# G# A (minor with rasied 6, 7, or major with flat 3)
Descending: A G F E D C B A

Point 2: Notice that what makes scales different (ie, what makes them 'tick') is the placement of the half steps. It follows that there is no problem in thinking of the major scale as the base scale and to think of other scales as modifications of the major. Why not? Suppose you tell me that we miss out if we do not use the harmonic as a base scale, that there are some scales we will not arrive to. But then it is just a matter of skipping a step. First I go from Major to Harmonic Minor by flatting the third and sixth, and then we are ready to make any modification that you want in order to get a new scale.

Thus I could make any one of the modes my 'base' scale and we would not lose anything as long as we agree what the base is. This is because what ultimately matters to the ear is the distance between any particular note and the root.

For Example:
Suppose I make the Dorian my 'base' scale and you say you want to get to a Harmonic Minor (recall the Harmonic Minor was a Minor with a raised seventh). It is easy, we take the Dorian and flat the sixth and raise the seventh and we are home free. Why? The Dorian is like a Minor with a raised sixth (which is why people like Santana use it so much.. it is sad with a happy moment). Then to make it a Harmonic Minor on the same root I just have to flat the sixth to bring it back to a minor, and then raise the seventh to make it harmonic (and lead in a 'major'' sense back into the root).

Points 1+2 give Point 3: It follows that you can 'disagree' with the original post in any of seven ways by picking a different mode as the base!

To develop this intuition it is important to do two exercises. First, to jump between modes for a particular root. Second, to find the modes of a particular root. This is also helpful when improvising or writing music.

Example of the First (finding the mode relative to the same root):
You are in E Dorian and I ask you to form an E Mixolydian.
Easy! We know that the Dorian is like a Minor with a raised sixth (the happy moment) and that the Mixolydian is like a Major with a flat seventh (a sad moment) so we just take our Dorian and raise the 3rd to give it the necessary major flavor. We inherited the raised 6th from the Dorian and in addition we raised the third so now we have the major 3rd (raised relative to minor), major 6 (raised relative to the minor) and the flat seventh we need for the Mixolydian.

ie,

E Dorian: E F# G A B C# D E (W H W W W H W, 12 total, compare to the Minor and notice the extra step at the 6th note)

E Mixolydian: E F# G# A B C# D E (W W H W W H W, 12 total; just take an E Major and flat the seventh).


Example of the Second Exercise:

Suppose you are in the key of E minor (overall somber sounding) and you want to have a brighter solo, say, in a Lydian mode which is like a major with a raised fourth (and sounds 'exotic' for this reason). But which is the Lydian of E minor?

It is easy if you recall that Lydian happens to be from F to F with no sharps or flats. So go to your A minor and ask, how many do I have to count to get to F? A, B, C, D, E, F....6 counts. For any minor, the Lydian is the 6th mode, meaning you keep the original notes, but start and end on the sixth. Thus, the Lydian in your E minor song would be (counting in E minor) E, F#, G, A, B, C... voila, we are done.

So grab your solo section and emphasize the C as a root in your phrasing, E, F#, and G and you have a major sounding moment without leaving the original key.

Knowing all this also helps you make key changes. For example, Mr. Ludwig Beethoven is often in C major but he occasionally throws in an F# (a chromaticism.. it does not belong to the C major scale). Then he emphasizes this more and more by repeating the V of C major and then suddenly you are in G Major (which is like C major but with a sharp F).

Cvino's teacher is perfectly right. Once you learn your major and minor positions, finding your modes is trivial since you stick to the same patterns but just start and end on different notes. Want to sound Egyptian? Take that original Minor position, flat the second (making it phrygian) and raise the 3rd. You can make it sound even more weird (at the risk of losing a tonal center) by also raising the fourth... but then you can raise that second back to normal and also raise the sixth and seventh and BAM! just like that you are in a Lydian mode. Doing this elegantly is difficult.

Last thing which I find interesting. In ancient times music was extremely important as a coordinating (and inspiring) device in battle. Different modes were used to signal different movements. Do you wonder why metal music places such an emphasis on the Phrygian mode? (The phrygian mode being a minor with a flatted second as well... like in Metallica's ...And Justice For All album)

It is said that Alexander the Great would be having dinner and if the musicians switched to the phrygian mode it would so inflame him that he would automatically reach for his sword! (reference: Machiavelli's Art of War, but caution he is mischievous and makes a lot of stuff up).

What is the deal with the Phrygian? Well, take a look at the relationship between the Major mode (happy sissy tea party sounding) and the Phrygian (manly war beast sounding).

Major: W W H W W W H (ie, C D E F G A B C)

Phrygian: H W W W H W W (ie, E F G A B C D E or in C: C Db Eb F G A B C... take C minor, flat the second)

What do you notice? That the Phrygian mode is the exact reverse of the Major mode!!!

W W H W W W H for Major
H W W W H W W for Phrygian

It is like its opposite! (If this is not exciting for you I do not how to help you).

The Locrian mode (B to B) sounds really weird because it is basically like a Phrygian with a flatted 5th. To see this (and to drive home my feeling that the 'base scale' is irrelevant) take a B minor (B C# D E F# G A B) and turn it into a Phrygian by flatting the second step (B C D E F# G A B) and then make it a Locrian by flatting the fifth (B C D E F G A B) which is exactly how we think of the Locrian mode. This is why the Locrian sort of stand alone (because of it's diminished fifth)

Another way to think of the modes is to classify the modes as modifications of major and minor into 3 groups.


Modifications of Minor:
Aeolian (minor itself), Dorian (minor with raised 6th), Phrygian (minor with flat 2nd)

Modifications of Major:
Ionian (major itself), Myxolydian (major with flat seven), Lydian (major with raised fourth)

Stand alone:
Locrian (minor with flat second and fifth, or, to be obnoxious about it, major with flat 2, flat 3, flat 5, flat 6, flat 7).

Notice that we can classify the modifications in yet another way. Some modify the scale into its 'opposite' direction (I'm being very imprecise with my language). For example, the Myxolydian makes the major minorish by flatting the seventh, and the Dorian makes the minor majorish by raising the sixth. Other modifications just make them 'weird' like flatting a second for the Phrygian or raising a fourth for the Lydian.

I my procrastination has proved useful to at least one of you!!
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Unread 12-31-2009, 02:36 PM   #27
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THANK YOU!!! I've been "playing" guitar for most part of my life and never got this shite into my head. It actually made sense now.

mmmmmh... djent pie
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"Solos and indeed, life, are not complete without the use of melodic minor arpeggios on a daily basis." - Confucius
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Unread 12-31-2009, 02:59 PM   #28
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Man, its cool to come back and see how many people actually found this useful.

If you list your gear in your signature, you're a prick.
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Unread 01-01-2010, 11:40 AM   #29
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I hope, when i actually this inside my head i can feel more like a musician instead of just a guitarplayer

mmmmmh... djent pie
Balsawood 7, the way of life
"Solos and indeed, life, are not complete without the use of melodic minor arpeggios on a daily basis." - Confucius
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Unread 01-26-2010, 04:25 PM   #30
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yeah man post those augmented, diminished, and dominant chords. and also some tips and what chords to play with what notes in melody and a scale

yeah man post those augmented, diminished, and dominant 7th chords. also give some tips on what chords to play under the notes of a melody. chord inversions would be nice too. send this to me if you can. thanks

Last edited by xlambxofxruinx; 01-26-2010 at 04:33 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Unread 01-28-2010, 02:54 PM   #31
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good stuff. post some stuff explaining what chords to play with what notes in melodies. and chords inversions would be cool as well
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