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I have written and recorded a song, and needed to give a written analysis of sorts for a grant. I'm just not sure what to call this scale.

Its a harmonic minor with an added 6th. Specifically the notes used in the melodies are A,B,C,D,E,F,F#,G#

Harmony does this
F, E7 F/A, E7/G#, A-, A-/B, C, D7/F#

Thanks for the help!

  • Why do you need to name this scale? Minor key tonalities often use both a minor 6th and a major 6th (F and F♯ in A minor, respectively). – David Bowling Feb 16 '18 at 6:09
  • I don't need to but, need to provide a short analysis of the composition and wasn't sure if there was a name for this that I wasn't aware of. – user48153 Feb 16 '18 at 6:22
  • Take a look at this related question and its answers. – Matt L. Feb 16 '18 at 7:43
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Personally, I second David Bowling in that you do not need to name the 'scale' in question. However, if you do want to put a name to it, Wikipedia (referencing books by David N. Baker and Roni Ben-Hur) calls it the Bebop Melodic Minor scale.

Without giving it a name (AFAIK) the Jazz pianist Barry Harris would teach that scale.

Also, the Arpeggio & Scale Resources: A Guitar Encyclopedia by Rich Cochrane calls it the The 1min + 2min + 7° scale.

  • 2
    Good catch with Bebop Melodic Minor. Mark Levine calls it this in his The Jazz Theory Book too. – David Bowling Feb 16 '18 at 19:53
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I would just say that your song is in the tonality of A minor. Pieces aren't usually restricted to religiously using a certain scale; especially in the minor. Your piece could be seen as being a mixture of A harmonic and melodic minor. I know of no specific name for this scale.

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Only way to justify it is to state it's in A minor! That's what so many pieces, past and present, are in. There's no 'rule' - or even theory - that says things in a minor key have to use only notes from one of those scales associated, be it natural, harmonic or melodic minor.

The very nature of minor pieces is that sometimes they'll call for extra notes, thus the three main minor sets of notes - we call them scales - have appeared. Those notes could all be put into one scale, but that messes with our theory system a little... So, they are shown as three (possibly four with jazz melodic) scales. And there's nothing wrong with mixing and matching.

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