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Harmonic Minor


The harmonic minor differs from natural minor in that the seventh step i raised a semi tone. Again we have 7 different chord functions (or modes) for each key in the scale. Here they are listed in the key of a.

Mode I

Plain harmonic minor. The scale is as follows

a b c d e f g^{\s} a

As guitar tabs

1:b1,c1,d1; 2:f1,g#1,a1; 3:c1,d1,e1; 4:g#1,a1,b1; 5:d1,e1,f1; 6:a1,b1,c1;

The four tone arpeggio is

a c e g\s

That is a minor with a raised 7 - the chord is named "minor major seventh" and is denoted m^{\maj7} for A we get Am^{\maj7}

Mode II

This mode resembles the Locrian mode for natural modes but with a raised 6'th step. In the key of a we get

a b^{\b} c d e^{\b} f^{\s} g

As guitar tab

1:bb1,c1,d1; 2:f#1,g1,a1; 3:c1,d1,eb1; 4:g1,a1,bb1; 5:d1,eb1,f#1; 6:a1,bb1,c1;

As with Locrian mode we have minor seventh with a lowered fifth, what is sometimes called a half diminished chord. The arpeggio is

a c d^{\s} g

The chord is denoted m^{7\b5}.

Mode III

This is the parallel to Ionian mode or a plain major scale. Though in the harmonic minor modes the fifth step is raised one semi tone making the chord augmented. In the key of a we get

a b c^{\s} d f f^{\s} g^{\s}

As guitar tabs

1:b1,c#1,d1; 2:f#1,g#1,a1; 3:c#1,d1,f1; 4:g#1,a1,b1; 5:d1,f1,f#1; 6:a1,b1,c#1;

And the four tone arpeggio

a c f g^{\s}

As noted we have what is called an augmented major seventh chord noted as +^{\maj7}.

Mode IV

This is the parallel to the Dorian mode. But with raised 4th step. In the key of a

a b c e^{\b} e f^{\s} g

As guitar tabs

1:b1,c1,eb1; 2:f#1,g1,a1; 3:c1,eb1,e1; 4:g1,a,b1; 5:eb1,e1,f#1; 6:a1,b1,c1;

It functions as a straight minor seventh chord. The arpeggio is

a c e g

Mode V

Parallel to Phrygian mode. It is named Phrygian Dominant. As far as I know this is the only of the harmonic minor modes besides harmonic minor that has a name. In the key of a we get

a b^{\b} c^{\s} d e f g

As guitar tabs

1:bb1,c#1,d1; 2:f1,g1,a1; 3:c#1,d1,e1; 4:g1,a1,bb1; 5:d1,e1,f1; 6:a1,bb1,c#1;

It differs from Phrygian mode in having a raised third making it a major chord. The four tone arpeggio is

a d^{\b} e g

This is a dominant seventh chord, noted with super scripted 7, for A we get A^{7}.

Mode VI

The parallel to the Lydian mode. Compared to this it has a raised second sted. In the key of a

a c c^{\s} e^{\b} e f^{\s} g^{\s}

As guitar tabs

1:c1,c#1,eb1; 2:f#1,g#1,a1; 3:c#1,eb1,e1; 4:g#1,a1,c1; 5:eb1,e1,f#1; 6:a1,c1,c#1;

The function is a major seventh. In the key of a we get the arpeggio

a c^{\s} e g^{s}

The notation for A is A^{\maj}

Mode VII

This is the parallel to the Mixolydian mode. Compared to it this mode has a lowered second step, lowered fifth step and a lowered seventh step. In the key of a we get

a b^{\b} c c^{\s} e^{\b} f f^{\s}

As guitar tabs

1:bb1,c1,c#1; 2:f1,f#1,a1; 3:c1,c#1,eb1; 4:f#1,a1,bb1; 5:c#1,eb1,f1; 6:a1,bb1,c1;

The arpeggio in the key of a

a c e^{\b} f^{\s}

With both lowered fifth and seventh we get a diminished 7 chord, as A noted as A^{o7}. This can be spread out over the freatboard of a guitar in this pattern:

1:f#1,a1,c1,eb1,f#2; 2:c1,eb1,f#1,a1,c2; 3:a1,c1,eb1,f#1,a2; 4:eb1,f#1,a1,c1,eb2; 5:c1,eb1,f#1,a1,c2; 6:f#1,a1,c1,eb1,f#2;
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