Mudcat Café message #41553 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #6800   Message #41553
Posted By: Peter T.
13-Oct-98 - 04:35 PM
Thread Name: Modes?
Subject: RE: Modes?
Dear Barbara, Well, according to this tome I have in front of me, which makes me an instant expert (Aldwell and Schachter, Harmony and Voice Leading, 1989) in the natural (or “pure”) minor scale (like your standard Amin of C) the 7th tone is not called the “leading tone” (which is usually the third on the dominant V, trying to resolve up to the octave) but the subtonic, because it has no drive towards the octave. When the minor scale descends, the lack of a leading tone is not a problem, since it is going away from the octave note; but when it does ascend this is a problem, and the 7th must be raised a half step. This is called the harmonic minor. Raising the seventh has its own problems, because the gap between the 6th and the 7th can sound too big for melodic flow, so if you are going to play the 6th before the 7th, then you raise the 6th as well as the 7th, and you get the melodic minor (presumably because it sounds more melodious). When these scales descend the accidentals for the 6th or the 7th or both, depending on which you are using are cancelled and you are back to the natural minor you started out with. I too took all that in music class a hundred years ago, and forgot it, and not only that, but I never connected it to modes.

I always thought a harmonic minor was like Clementine's father. Yours, Peter