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I want to use the iim7-5. What's the difference between using it from C Natural minor and C harmonic minor?

  • 2
    Can you please edit your title to ask the question. It is not helpful to just have "modal interchange chord." Thanks.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Mar 25 '18 at 12:16

You've realized yourself that there can be several options for scales from which a chord is borrowed. A IIm7(b5) chord in a major key is usually considered to be borrowed from the parallel minor key, and not from a particular minor scale. So it's your choice which of the possible minor scales (natural or harmonic) you would use to improvise over that chord. There is no correct or wrong choice, it's a matter of taste and interpretation.

Note that you might as well use the harmonic major scale over that chord. It is actually a very natural choice because it only changes one note from the major scale (6 -> b6) to make the IIm7(b5) chord fit in. The minor scales also change the third of the major scale (natural minor as well as harmonic), and the seventh (natural minor), even though these notes are not part of the IIm7(b5) chord.

  • Wow Thanks for your answer ! It really helped me a lot ! Mar 26 '18 at 11:38

The minor scales all start with the same five notes - in Cm, they're C D Eb F G. Then there are changes. C harmonic has Ab and B, but C natural has Ab and Bb.

The iim7b5 will have D F Ab and C, as it starts on D, the m3 is F, 7 is C and b5 is Ab. So, the notes that will work better are from C natural minor, with the Ab. C harmonic with its B will be fine - until you play the Bb note - when it'll clash.

  • What do you mean by "C harmonic with its A nat. will be fine - until you [play the A note - when it'll clash " ? I don't think The C harmonic minor has natural A, it has natural B..but what I'm asking is if I use the Dm7-5 (iim7-5) in C Maj key chord progression somthing like "C maj - Am7 - Dm7-5 - DbM7" will the Dm7-5 be from the C Natural minor or C Harmonic minor ? There is many chords like this (modal interchange chords that are same in multiple modes or minor scale ) that is making me confused what mode or minor scale I'm acctually borrowing the chord from... Mar 25 '18 at 10:35
  • 1
    I was writing rubbish! Now edited to hopefully make sense. But what you asked wasn't too clear. If you're in C major, there's no reason to consider C minor when talking about iim7b5. That is a fairly common chord used in key C major. I suppose it could be construed as 'borrowed from Cm', but why bother. You seem to be mixing scales and keys. Be careful. There are several minor scales from C, but only one minor key - C minor. Incidentally, Dm7b5 is also Fm6...
    – Tim
    Mar 25 '18 at 15:33
  • I don't understand why you think that the notes from natural minor will work better than the ones from harmonic minor. "until you play the Bb note" ... who will in harmonic minor? I don't see what clash you refer to.
    – Matt L.
    Mar 25 '18 at 17:56

There is no difference in the ii7-5 chord between C natural or C harmonic minor, since both contain an Ab. The only difference would come in the C melodic minor, which would raise the Ab to an A-natural. In that case, there would be no difference between that chord and a regular iim7 in C major. That being said, it does not really matter where you are borrowing a chord from if it works. My composition professor gave me very good advice and told me not to try to analyze my own music.

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