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arkmabat
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Postby arkmabat; Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:41 am If someone says to play a minor scale, are they talking about melodic minor or natural minor

Title says it all. Thanks.
slipstick
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Postby slipstick; Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:24 pm Re: If someone says to play a minor scale, are they talking about melodic minor or natural minor

Probably, or it could be the harmonic minor. You'll just have to ask them.

Steve
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jancivil
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Postby jancivil; Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:48 pm Re: If someone says to play a minor scale, are they talking about melodic minor or natural minor

no way to know without asking 'em
default is natural, however
if it's somewhere in the EDM spectrum probably natural
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fmr
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Postby fmr; Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:57 pm Re: If someone says to play a minor scale, are they talking about melodic minor or natural minor

When I was learning, the scale I was asked to play was always the harmonic. Tonally, it's the only one that makes sense, because it has the leading tone, and therefore, has a true V chord.

Anyway, the raised vi and vii are technically altered notes, sou, you can play with the vi and vii altered, or none of them, depending where and what kind of music you are playing. If it's as a technical exercize, I'd say that you are supposed to play the harmonic minor.
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Aloysius
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Postby Aloysius; Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:05 pm Re: If someone says to play a minor scale, are they talking about melodic minor or natural minor

Natural
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Bojmir Raj Raj
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Postby Bojmir Raj Raj; Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:58 am Re: If someone says to play a minor scale, are they talking about melodic minor or natural minor

Depends on the harmonization- if you want a V-i, then it's going to be harmonic minor ("te" raised to "ti", the leading tone), otherwise the default for "minor" is the natural minor without the leading tone (which make the v of natural minor into V). The melodic minor has both le and te raised, to la and ti, which makes it much more major-ish altogether, and I don't think would ever be a "default" in this day and age. Mostly in today's "electronic dance music" people probably mean noodling "sadly" up and down the white keys from A to a, so it's really playing in the Aeolian mode.
JumpingJackFlash
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Postby JumpingJackFlash; Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:27 am Re: If someone says to play a minor scale, are they talking about melodic minor or natural minor

arkmabat wrote:Title says it all. Thanks.


Depends on context and who is saying it.

It's dangerous to blindly assume a "default" without further information.
Unfamiliar words can be looked up in my Glossary of musical terms.
Also check out my Introduction to Music Theory.
someone called simon
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Postby someone called simon; Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:39 am Re: If someone says to play a minor scale, are they talking about melodic minor or natural minor

As an aside, I wonder why the 4th permutation of a minor scale doesn't have a name. The one with a sharp 6 and flat 7. the other 3 permutations do. If it does have a name, I couldn't find it.
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fmr
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Postby fmr; Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:54 am Re: If someone says to play a minor scale, are they talking about melodic minor or natural minor

Bojmir Raj Raj wrote:.../... The melodic minor has both le and te raised, to la and ti, which makes it much more major-ish altogether, and I don't think would ever be a "default" in this day and age. Mostly in today's "electronic dance music" people probably mean noodling "sadly" up and down the white keys from A to a, so it's really playing in the Aeolian mode.


The melodic minor has the vi and vii raised ONLY when it goes upwards. Anyway, there aren't three minor "scales" (the correct term is mode, anyway). There is just ONE minor mode - the "natural". The raised vii became a common alteration due to tonal needs (otherwise we would not have the dominant function - V) and the "melodic" was introduced by Bach to avoid the augmented second melodic jump when the melody was ascending up the the I, where the leading tone was a need.

So, speaking of three minor scales is ridiculous. There is one AND ONLY ONE minor mode, which acquired some common alterations during the circa 400 years it exists. Alterations, as its implied in the name, don't constitute a "new" mode.
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Gamma-UT
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Postby Gamma-UT; Sat Sep 16, 2017 6:33 am Re: If someone says to play a minor scale, are they talking about melodic minor or natural minor

someone called simon wrote:As an aside, I wonder why the 4th permutation of a minor scale doesn't have a name. The one with a sharp 6 and flat 7. the other 3 permutations do. If it does have a name, I couldn't find it.


It kinda does have a name: Dorian, and arguably was the main source of the modern minor mode. (Or, if you're 2000+ years old and Greek, Phrygian – some things got lost in translation in the Middle Ages).

But don't tell anybody. Careless mode talk on here ends in trouble.
JumpingJackFlash
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Postby JumpingJackFlash; Sat Sep 16, 2017 6:42 am Re: If someone says to play a minor scale, are they talking about melodic minor or natural minor

fmr wrote:
Bojmir Raj Raj wrote:.../... The melodic minor has both le and te raised, to la and ti, which makes it much more major-ish altogether, and I don't think would ever be a "default" in this day and age. Mostly in today's "electronic dance music" people probably mean noodling "sadly" up and down the white keys from A to a, so it's really playing in the Aeolian mode.


The melodic minor has the vi and vii raised ONLY when it goes upwards. Anyway, there aren't three minor "scales" (the correct term is mode, anyway). There is just ONE minor mode - the "natural". The raised vii became a common alteration due to tonal needs (otherwise we would not have the dominant function - V) and the "melodic" was introduced by Bach to avoid the augmented second melodic jump when the melody was ascending up the the I, where the leading tone was a need.

So, speaking of three minor scales is ridiculous. There is one AND ONLY ONE minor mode, which acquired some common alterations during the circa 400 years it exists. Alterations, as its implied in the name, don't constitute a "new" mode.


I would agree there is only one minor key (or "mode", but that word carries other meanings so can cause confusion). But that one thing includes the notes from all of the minor scales. I'd be careful saying the raised sixth and sevenths were simply additions or modifications to the natural minor as that gives undue prominence to the natural minor and implies the sharpened notes are inferior or less important/significant. In classical use (as you know), the leading note normally outnumbers the subtonic fairly significantly.

The "scale" is a theoretical construct. And in modern teaching, there are different minor scales. But yes, one must remember that this is not how classical composers would have composed their music.
It's rather like saying the Lydian mode uses the white notes starting on F. In simplistic theory that's essentially true, but in practice it was almost always used with Bb.
Unfamiliar words can be looked up in my Glossary of musical terms.
Also check out my Introduction to Music Theory.
slipstick
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Postby slipstick; Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:18 am Re: If someone says to play a minor scale, are they talking about melodic minor or natural minor

JumpingJackFlash wrote:I would agree there is only one minor key

Uh? You mean A minor and C minor and G minor and the rest are all the same key? Is this new? I'm pretty sure my music theory teacher didn't know about it.

Steve
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fmr
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Postby fmr; Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:31 am Re: If someone says to play a minor scale, are they talking about melodic minor or natural minor

slipstick wrote:
JumpingJackFlash wrote:I would agree there is only one minor key

Uh? You mean A minor and C minor and G minor and the rest are all the same key? Is this new? I'm pretty sure my music theory teacher didn't know about it.

Steve

NO. "Keys" and "mode" are different things. When we say a music is in the "key" of G minor, actually we are saying it is using the minor mode with the tonic in G. The "minor" here is always the same, only the tonic varies. If you have something in G minor and you play it a major second above or below, it actually sounds the same, except that you are changing tonality (key) from G minor to A minor or F minor.

Of course, this doesn't take into account the timbral differences that may exist in the instruments (registers, etc.). But melodically and harmonically it sounds the same.

That's why some say that when music changed from modal to tonal, we actually "lost", because we had eight modes, and we became constrained to only two.

But I digress. and we risk to enter in the nebulous, complicated and polemic universe of the modes, that quickly lead to flamed posts :hihi:
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fmr
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6045 posts since 16 Mar, 2003, from Porto - Portugal

Postby fmr; Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:43 am Re: If someone says to play a minor scale, are they talking about melodic minor or natural minor

JumpingJackFlash wrote: I would agree there is only one minor key (or "mode", but that word carries other meanings so can cause confusion). But that one thing includes the notes from all of the minor scales. I'd be careful saying the raised sixth and sevenths were simply additions or modifications to the natural minor as that gives undue prominence to the natural minor and implies the sharpened notes are inferior or less important/significant. In classical use (as you know), the leading note normally outnumbers the subtonic fairly significantly.

I agree that it could be read that way, but I also said that the vii degree is usually used altered BECAUSE it is needed for the sake of tonality, to have the "Dominant" function (the harmonic V). And my first post was to say that, if nothing is said, it is safe to assume that the requested "scale" (I am becoming sick of this word) is the harmonic.

But I'm certain that you agree the raised vi is just a consequence of the raised vii and usually doesn't exist without it (while the raised vii may and many times does exist without the raised vi). And, no matter we like it or not, they are alterations, even if the leading tone is an almost obligatory one in tonal music, otherwise we create a tonal/modal ambiguity.
Fernando (FMR)
JumpingJackFlash
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1215 posts since 10 Oct, 2004

Postby JumpingJackFlash; Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:12 am Re: If someone says to play a minor scale, are they talking about melodic minor or natural minor

slipstick wrote:
JumpingJackFlash wrote:I would agree there is only one minor key

Uh? You mean A minor and C minor and G minor and the rest are all the same key? Is this new? I'm pretty sure my music theory teacher didn't know about it.


Well, in a way they're the same but just transposed...

But what I actually meant was; for any given tonic, there is only one minor key. For example, there is no such thing as the key of A melodic minor, and the key of A harmonic minor... There is only the one key of A minor.

fmr wrote:But I'm certain that you agree the raised vi is just a consequence of the raised vii and usually doesn't exist without it (while the raised vii may and many times does exist without the raised vi).


Agreed.

fmr wrote:And, no matter we like it or not, they are alterations, even if the leading tone is an almost obligatory one in tonal music, otherwise we create a tonal/modal ambiguity.


I'm still not keen on the word "alterations".
Which came first? - That's a complex question but in practice, I'd bet it was probably the leading note (and it would have been heard in secular music long before the church theorists got hold of it).

Yeah, they're alterations in the sense that they are different versions of the same scale degree, but it works both ways; the "natural minor" could be considered an alteration of the "harmonic minor" just as much as the other way round.

Also, I would say that NOT having the leading note creates tonal ambiguity. If it's there, it leaves very little doubt what the key is. But if it's not... well, it's more modal than tonal. But that is perhaps a separate debate.
Unfamiliar words can be looked up in my Glossary of musical terms.
Also check out my Introduction to Music Theory.
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