How Music Works
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Playing with Scales

Playing with Scales

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(8.10)  Harmonic Minor Scale Modes

The Harmonic Minor scale can also be used for improvisation, although less often than the Major or Melodic Minor scales, because its role in music is more for creating harmonies than melodies.

However, we should cover it briefly.  As with the Melodic Minor, it can also be arranged in seven different modes, whose names are based on modified forms of other scales.  The names of these modes are not standardised, so you may see other variations in use.

You may remember that we have seen the fifth mode before, although under a different name.  Phrygian Major is exactly the same as the Spanish scale, with the distinctive b2, b6 and b7 degrees.

Don't lose sight of the fact that ANY scale type can be used for improvising, so long as it contains the notes of the chord(s) you are working with.

There is no system of modes in general use for the other scale types, but there is no reason why you can't expand any of them into modes if there is one you are particularly interesed in.

Even in standard form, there are still plenty of other scale types to work with.  It might be useful if you revisit them now, in the earlier tutorial, and explore which chord types each one could improvise over.

In most ChordWizard products, the Relations View or the popup Relations tool can instantly show you the full set of relationships between all chord types and all scale types.

 

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