I know two basic variations of minor and major scales, and these are melodic and harmonic. My question is, are there melodic and harmonic variations of modal scales? Like Dorian harmonic? or Mixolydian melodic? Can I just raise their degrees to achieve it, or maybe something like that does not exist in music theory?

Let's say we have: A Aeolian: A B C D E F G and A Dorian: A B C D E F♯ G

Now A minor harmonic would be: A B C D E F G♯ (7 degree raised)

Will A dorian harmonic be: A B C D E F♯ G♯ (7 degree raised?)

I know how to make harmonic and melodic from minor scale, but how to do this with other scales? (all modal scales like Dorian, Mixolydian etc.)

  • Are B and H getting mixed up here? A Aeolian has a white B,(on piano) just as A Dorian does. Might be more easily understood leaving 'H' out of the equation. – Tim Dec 29 '18 at 11:00
  • If we define "harmonic" as "raised 7th scale degree", then Mixolydian harmonic would sound just like Ionian, and Lydian harmonic might sound pretty awkward (with its 7th scale degree raised a further semitone from before, that note will sound just like the tonic). – Dekkadeci Dec 29 '18 at 11:02
  • Sorry Tim. I'm from Poland and we use H here instead of B :) My mistake. It was supposed to be B. – Raven322 Dec 29 '18 at 12:17
  • Dekkadeci I can see your point. But there is something like major harmonic. What would other modal scales look like then in harmonic structure? – Raven322 Dec 29 '18 at 12:18
  • Look across the screen to the right. There are questions which may provide answers to your question. – Tim Dec 29 '18 at 15:02

Yes, there are. Primarily the Melodic minor scale is used to generate a family of modes by starting on different notes, just like diatonic modes and the Major scale. These are used in Jazz and descend as they ascend. The classical use of Melodic goes up with a raised 6th and 7th but goes down on the standard minor. I've seen different names for these modes in different books, one gives...

Phrygian #6

Lydian Augmented

Overtone scale

Mixolydian b6

Locrian #2

Altered scale

The Melodic minor with same descending and ascending patterns is often called the Jazz minor scale.

  • These modes you mentioned, Phrygian #6 for example are an equivalent of what, exactly? I see that Mixolydian b6 is the same as plain minor. – Raven322 Dec 29 '18 at 15:43
  • Mixolydian b6 is not the same as any minor scale, as its third scale degree is still raised. – Dekkadeci Dec 29 '18 at 16:04
  • Oh, ok. Can you tell me what is it when I take A minor melodic (6 and 7 degree raised) and start playing it from second degree, that is from B, do I play A melodic Locrian? A B C D E F# G# <- A minor melodic B C D E F# G# A <- A Locrian melodic? – Raven322 Dec 29 '18 at 16:13
  • @Raven322 - No, you're not playing A Locrian melodic. You're not even playing Locrian melodic. You're playing a variation on a Phrygian scale (I believe Phrygian #6). Note that Locrian has a flattened fifth scale degree, which "B C D E F# G# A" does not have. – Dekkadeci Dec 29 '18 at 16:46
  • I meant if we're playing B Locrian melodic. I just don't know how to make scales other than major and minor melodic or harmonic. Which degrees raise or what. – Raven322 Dec 29 '18 at 16:56

Bach often uses choral melodies that are in one of the modes. But he harmonises them as major or minor but not with the same tonic as the tonic of the mode. An example: An E Phrygian melodi which starts and end on E he will harmonise as A minor; so the start chord and end chord is A minor while the melodi is on E. There is an interesting YouTube video on that. I will find the link later on.

  • That's interesting, but I'm not sure if I asked correctly. Let's say we have: A Aeolian: A B C D E F G and A Dorian: A H C D E F# G Now A minor harmonic would be: A B C D E F G# (7 degree raised) Will A dorian harmonic be: A H C D E F# G# (7 degree raised?) – Raven322 Dec 29 '18 at 10:51
  • @Raven322 - Based on the major harmonic scale you referred to in another comment, the answer would probably be no. It, in fact, may still be the same as the regular harmonic minor scale. – Dekkadeci Dec 29 '18 at 16:06
  • So is there any way to make Dorian scale harmonic? or melodic? Or is it exclusive for minor and major only? – Raven322 Dec 29 '18 at 16:17

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