The song below was on a past IB Music Diploma Programme listening paper. The markscheme says that it uses melodic minor. I hear a raised 7th, particularly in the vocal, but I don't hear a raised 6th...and do hear some lowered 6ths, both in the vocal and the bandoneon/accordion. Am I missing something here or is this better described as harmonic minor?

  • Do you ever hear a lowered 7th? If you do, then the song neither exclusively uses melodic minor nor harmonic minor. – Dekkadeci Apr 18 at 10:02

I hear both G and G♯ - it's in A minor. The notes I try to catch are from the chords, which include E/E7 (there's G♯), and G major (there's G ♮). So, with both those it's going to use melodic minor. Had there only been G♯, it could have been either, but I'd lean towards harmonic. It's not a strong question, in my opinion: it could be argued that it has part in melodic, part in harmonic.


What you hear is correct: There are several passages of phrygian cadence (2:20)and also a minor seventh.

at 2:12 the bandoneon plays the harmonic scale downwards.

at 2:28 it there is a scale: lati doremifa solatido remi above the prhygian cadence (closing in a E-major chord!)

(This scale passage is Aeolion - the final chord of the passage is harmonic minor!

But I can't hear a major 6th.

The song uses harmonic minor and the Aeolian mode.

  • I appreciate that you think in terms of 'fixed do', but when it's written out, I wonder how many people understand it. Is there a way it could reach more people? Also, it could be argued that if the Aeolian mode is present, that could be part of the melodic minor. Aug 6 escaped me too, but just because a note from a scale isn't used, it doesn't mean the piece isn't using the rest of that particular scale. Sometimes a piece in a major key won't use a note from that scale - is it suddenly not in the major key? – Tim Apr 18 at 10:46

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