Came across a chord progress Em C Am B under "Em backing track".

With mention -

Use E minor scale and harmonic minor on B to jam along with it

But Em has following chords -

Em F# G Am Bm C D

And B harmonic minor has these -

Bm C# D Em F#m G A#

So confused over choice of B Major instead of Bm in Em backing track.

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    I'm not even 100% convinced B harmonic minor can be used to solo over this the moment I saw a C chord in the chord progression (note that no B minor scales contain C natural). Now I don't know what the blurb writer could mean. – Dekkadeci Mar 9 '19 at 13:43
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    What do you mean when you state 'Em has the following notes - Em F# G etc'? Those are chords not notes, and there's no F# chord in Em, it's F#o Sounds like the source is confused, too. B harm minor notes are not a good fit. – Tim Mar 9 '19 at 14:31
  • Thanks Tim, did the correction – fortm Mar 9 '19 at 14:36
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    It does not mean use B harm. minor notes over B. Badly phrased. It means, as David states, E nat. minor for 3 chords, and E harm. minor over B chords. – Tim Mar 9 '19 at 14:39

I will venture to guess that the source is suggesting the use of E natural minor over the chords Em C Am, but E harmonic minor over the chord B.

The E natural minor scale contains the notes E, F#, G, A, B, C and D. Looking at this collection of notes you can find an Em (E-G-B), a C (C-E-G), and an Am (A-C-E). But the chord B (B-D#-F#) is not found in the notes of E natural minor.

In the key of E minor, B is the V chord (the "five chord"). The diatonic chord would be Bm (B-D-F#), but this chord doesn't lead as strongly back to the I chord (the Em). For this reason, the diatonic Vm chord is often altered by making it a major chord. This alteration raises the third of the Bm to create B (B-D#-F#), and the corresponding altered scale is the E harmonic minor scale: E F# G A B C D#.

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B is the dominant of E (major or minor) and is therefore a very acceptable chord in an Em-based song. And the progression Em - C - Am - B is a minor variation of perhaps the most cliched progression in popular music (but it was only cliched because it was useful!)

DOES the track play B or Bm? Perhaps it's just a misprint.

Is 'Use E minor scale and harmonic minor on B to jam along with it' EXACTLY what the instructions say? 'harmonic minor on B' is a strange way of saying 'B harmonic minor'.fits

What's the source? An established textbook (not that they never have errors :-)) or something you found 'on the Internet'?

Anyway, I wouldn't worry too much about it. You're right, as stated it doesn't add up.

Finding one scale that fits ALL the chords in a sequence can be a useful trick - though I'd rather you found one melodic 'lick' (quite likely a subset common to several scales) instead. And, of course, there often ISN'T one.

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