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So I've been learning a Frank Vignola jazz chord melody etude called "A Look at Minor" and I stumbled across this particle scale that sounded really nice with a minor tone.

1 (R), b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7, 1

The interval looks to then be:

R, H, W+H, H, W, H, W, W

But I couldn't find a mode or scale (that I know) that would fit the intervals. But it could be because I'm only an earlier intermediate player and so I'm likely just a bit out of my depth.

Would anyone know what scale this is or - if it's not any known scale - why it sounds 'nice'? (at the very least it's not dissonant in tone).

Thanks!

Update

So I'm doing something wrong here I believe...

Example of applying C key to the Phrygian Dominant mode

...as there is neither a natural 3rd, nor a flat 7th that would suggest this scale mode is 'dominant' in sound.

Update 2

So below is the C Harmonic Minor Scale.

I've followed what I believe to be the convention for modes which is to change the tonal center to be the next note, which equally means the first interval is shifted to the end (this is what I've seen done with the C Major Scale and all the relevant modes it has).

Now the confusion are these two comments:

The fifth mode of the Harmonic Minor scale means making the fifth note of the scale the tonic, so if we take C Harmonic Minor (C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-B) and make G the tonal center (and arrange the notes in ascending order: G-Ab-B-C-D-Eb-F), we get Phrygian Dominant.

Just to make it clear, it is called Phrygian Dominant because it is like the phrygian scale, but with a raised 3rd (which makes it a natural 3rd), thus making the seventh chord built from the scale a dominant chord.

So below I do exactly this, in long form. I see that having G as the tonal center would indeed suggest it is the 5th "mode" for the Harmonic Minor scale.

My confusion is when the comment above says that this can be called "like the Phrygian scale". This is because I don't have a flat 7th at any point. In the scale or any of its modes. My understanding is that a dominant 'chord' is constructed from a scale that has 1, 3, 5, b7 and so although the 5th mode of the Harmonic Minor scale (with G as the tonal center does indeed give me a natural 3rd, the degrees still don't appear to include a flat seventh)

enter image description here

  • F is the b7 (When G is the tonal center) as there is a tone seperating them. The Phrygian scale is 1-b2-b3-4-5-b6-b7, and the phrygian dominant is the same with the b3 being raised to a natural 3. – dudwhuknowstheory Jan 25 '17 at 20:55
  • BTW, the second mode is 1-b2-b3-4-b5-6-b7, the third mode is 1-2-3-4-5#-6-7, the fourth mode is 1-2-b3-#4-5-6-b7. – dudwhuknowstheory Jan 25 '17 at 21:00
  • OK so there's a piece of knowledge I'm missing here. You said the scale degree is b7 for Phrygian (which you say is the F note). So my thinking when applying the Phrygian 'intervals' to a scale in the key of G is that I'd only mark the 7th degree of that scale as a flat (e.g. the degree would be b7) only if the note itself was a flat (so if it was Fb then I'd mark the corresponding degree as b7). Because the note when moving from a whole step from Eb results in an F, I didn't think the associated 7th 'degree' would actually be a flat degree (is there reasoning for this?). – Integralist Jan 26 '17 at 14:17
  • Okay, so I think that the problem is that you don't really know what the degree numbers mean. The numbers correspond to the major scale: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, and the accidentals are the chromatic notes in between. For example, 1-2-3-4#-5-6-7 is to be played just like a major scale, but raise the fourth note a half step (In C: F->F#. In Eb: Ab->A and so on...). So the b7 of G means taking the 7th note of the G major scale (F#) and lowering it by a half step (F). – dudwhuknowstheory Jan 26 '17 at 14:48
  • Holy shit, I think it just clicked. Took a lot of pen & paper scribbling. I started counting the major scale intervals using semitones & this helped me understand minor intervals. Now when counting in semitones over 5th mode of C harmonic minor I could then see how F was a minor 7th degree and that the 3rd degree had now become a major 3rd degree (from a minor 3rd when i first counted the semitones for the C harmonic minor). The name Phrygian Dominant then made sense when comparing the degrees of Phrygian with 5th mode of harmonic minor. – Integralist Jan 28 '17 at 10:38
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That is the fifth mode of the Harmonic Minor scale, also called Phrygian Dominant.

EDIT (FOR UPDATE):

I am afraid that you don't understand modes yet - Modes are scales which have the same notes (but sound different because of the different relations to the tonic) - For example: C Ionian, D Dorian, E Phrygian, F Lydian, G Mixolydian, A Aeolian and B Locrian, all have the same notes, and they are the seven modes of the C Major scale. You get a mode when you take a scale and make any other note the tonic.

Modes have nothing in common, apart from the same notes - which really doesn't mean anything, apart from the fact that they some of them aren't as stable and might collapse into a different mode (For example: The locrian mode is a very unstable mode, and tends to collapse to the ionian mode a half step above it).

The fifth mode of the Harmonic Minor scale means making the fifth note of the scale the tonic, so if we take C Harmonic Minor (C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-B) and make G the tonal center (and arrange the notes in ascending order: G-Ab-B-C-D-Eb-F), we get Phrygian Dominant.

  • Thanks for the reply, I can see the harmonic minor is W-H-W-W-H-WH-H so although my order of playing them was different, it would explain why they are a match – Integralist Jan 23 '17 at 14:12
  • 1
    Just to make it clear, it is called Phrygian Dominant because it is like the phrygian scale, but with a raised 3rd (which makes it a natural 3rd), thus making the seventh chord built from the scale a dominant chord. It can also be called phrygian nat3, phrygian #3 (by some, I am against this), mixolydian b9b13/b2b6, 7(b9,11,b13) (which I support most) - and has a lot of other names, such as the gypsy scale, spanish scale, jewish scale... – dudwhuknowstheory Jan 23 '17 at 14:54
  • Hmm, ok. If I apply W-H-W-W-H-WH-H to the key of C I get 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 7, 8 which equates to C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, B, C so not a natural 3rd like you suggested but a flat 3rd. Equally the 7th appears to be natural and not flat (which if it did end being flat, then yes, along with a natural 3rd would've suggested a 'dominant' sounding scale - but neither of those accidentals have occurred). Which leads me to believe I've not mapped the C key to the intervals correctly? – Integralist Jan 24 '17 at 10:09
  • so I've added an update to my question so you can see how I'm applying the mode you've suggested to the key of C – Integralist Jan 24 '17 at 10:20
  • Update 2 has been added – Integralist Jan 25 '17 at 10:40

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