Minor scales

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Jude, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. Jude

    Jude Piano User

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    I have the gloomy feeling I'm not going to understand the answer, but anyway: why are there 3 minor scales?
     
  2. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

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    They sound different.
     
  3. nplotts1

    nplotts1 Fortissimo User

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    My best understanding as to why there are 3 forms of minor is that it has to do with how a song modulates between different keys. Also, it has to do with chord qualities. If you are in a Major key, you have 3 Major chords ( tonic 1, Sub Dominant 4, and Dominant 5) in a minor key the 4 chord is minor, but the sub mediant or 6 chord is major. 5 is also a major chord in Minor Keys, but in order to make it that way, you have to raise the 7th scale degree of the tonic. If you were to write out the minor scale, with the raised 7th, you get the Harmonic for of the Minor Scale, which seems to be the most commonly used form of the minor, atleast that I have noticed.
    If this is confusing (and I wouldn't be surprised if it is) you can look up music theory online, or if you have the chance, I would highly recomend that you take a music theory class. Music makes a lot more sense when you understand why it works the way that it does
     
  4. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    It has to do with what each of the scales is about
    Natural minor is the same notes as its major, but emphasizing its tonic (and therefore making the "home" chord minor)
    Harmonic minor adds a leading tone, giving the scale direction at the top of the scale.
    Melodic minor going up gives the scale just that minor tonic chord

    Basically different harmonic sounds and options for a composer
     
  5. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

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    Natural Minor is just the mode of the major scale that starts on the sixth. In other words, A-A in the key of C major.

    Melodic Minor is (I think) a name that came along later as musicolgists analyzed how common practice period composers wrote melodies in minor keys. They apparently liked the sound of the raised 6th and 7th going up and lowed them (going back to natural minor) on decending lines. I think (and someone will certainly correct me if I'm wrong!) Bach and co. weren't thinking of it as another form of the scale, it was just the way melodies were written in that style. It's a construction to explain their melodic writing.

    Harmonic Minor is also more modern construct to expain Common practice period usage. I had it messed up so see below!

    If this is all screwed up, tell me and I'll just erase it! I don't claim to be a theory expert!

    Jason.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2008
  6. nplotts1

    nplotts1 Fortissimo User

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    I thought it was to make the 5 chord a major chord, Using your example of Am, a 5 chord would be minor (E,G,B), because of the way Dominant chords function, they are nearly always Major chords, raising the 7th scale degree solves this problem giving you EM, the 5 chord (E,G#,B) rather than Em (E,G,B)
     
  7. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

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    Yeah, I think you're right...it's been a while since theory class.
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    There are actually more than 3. We need to count the various modes of the major scales too (like dorian: Dorian mode - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) as the chords for accompanying are in fact minor.

    This is also useful:
    Minor scale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The first development of the various keys and modes was done in early church music. Even Bach maintained this regulation.

    Here is a very good link on church scales and modes: Musical mode - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The real reason that there are so many scales is to give musicians something to practice. Just imagine how boring life would be with only C-Major! The stock market (and corporate bean counters) could probably learn something here
     
  9. Jude

    Jude Piano User

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    Dec 2, 2007
    Ok, it looks like I'm going to have to put in some time on theory, after all. At some point. For now I'll just consider the melodic and harmonic minor to be stylistic variations - anything more can probably wait until I know enough pieces so that I can hear the differences - try playing my Slovak folk songs all three ways, maybe. (Back to the scales so I'll be able to do that.) Then Rowuk's references will probably make more sense. I'm just grateful I'll never have to take a test in this stuff.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2008
  10. nplotts1

    nplotts1 Fortissimo User

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    He specifically asked about minor scales, that is why I didn't go into the modes. But since you brought them up, you have minor Blues scales, whole tone scales, Pentationc scales etc. Not to mention all of the different scales that come from places like China or Indonesia and even the Americas, that date back to the times of natvie peoples, and aboriginal tribes.
     

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