In this lesson we’re going to look at the basic 3nps forms of the Harmonic minor modes. We’ll aim to identify what makes these modes unique so we are able to use them in our playing.
Similar to how the modes of the major scale refer back to the major scale as a point of reference, the harmonic minor modes refer back to the major scale modes too.
Thoughts On Visualising The Modes
There are many ways in which you can visualise the modes in order to remember them and get them to sit under your fingers. Quite often you’ll see that players like to refer to an already familiar shape with simple modifications. I personally prefer to think of each set of modes having their own unique shapes for each scale degree.
Referencing other modes with modifications only confuses me since your mind is having to cross reference. However if you find that easier then definitely use that as a guide. For naming conventions we’ll use the commonly known harmonic minor mode names.
Just like the major scale is the ‘root scale’ for it’s corresponding modes. The harmonic minor scale is the same thing for it’s own respective modes. Harmonic minor and it’s modes have a very exotic sound, think middle eastern / Egyptian.
As the name suggests, mode 2 is like the locrian mode only with a sharp sixth note.
Mode 3 is similar to the major scale, only with a raised 5th scale degree
Mode 4 is similar to the dorian mode, only with a raised 4th scale degree
Phrygian Dominant (or #3)
Phrygian Dominant is a favourite among many players because of it’s easy to use nature. The half step between the first scale degree immediately imbues it with a dark and mysterious sound. Unlike regular phrygian, the raised 3rd degree is what really brings out this modes sound.
This modes takes the Lydian mode from the major scale and raises the second note.
This mode is an interesting one since it’s known by a few different names. While the name isn’t too important it’s also known by Ultra locrian and altered bb7.
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