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I am reading through Mark Levine's Jazz theory book, He says there is no workable dominant 7th chord in the minor scale. OK, that is true if you look at the descending melodic minor / natural minor scale but all his examples are with the ascending melodic minor ( or even the harmonic minor) which does have the V7 chord in there.....Please can someone help clear this up. Thanks.

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    Don't like to say this, but for me, at least, Levine's book is littered with inexactitudes and inaccuracies, none of which should be in an educational tome such as that. The musical examples sometimes don't match up well with what is in the text. I'm pretty unhappy I own a copy. Try Bert Ligon's book instead. – Tim Dec 19 '19 at 13:46
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    Yeah, that is the point of harmonic minor and ascending melodic minor. The have the leading tone and that produces a V7 relative to the minor key. Strictly speaking the quote is correct. In the natural minor scale there is no V7 (and that has become synonymous with "minor") – ggcg Dec 19 '19 at 15:36
  • Maybe he just forgot to say natural minor scale. Does the book become more accessible if you think it’s just some guy talking, not a proven-correct manual of everything? – piiperi Reinstate Monica Dec 19 '19 at 16:23
  • This question and its answers might be interesting because they cover quite a bit of minor key harmony. – Matt L. Dec 19 '19 at 17:26
  • I just wanted to clear it up. As you say Piiperi - maybe he just meant the natural minor scale. I think I will check out Bert Ligon's books as suggested by Tim, and good amount of info from Matt, thanks – dkw Dec 20 '19 at 16:42
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if you look at the descending melodic minor / natural minor scale but all his examples are with the ascending melodic minor ( or even the harmonic minor) which does have the V7 chord in there.....Please can someone help clear this up.

That isn't how minor key harmony works.

In short, the seventh degree of the key is variable depending on the harmony. When the harmony is dominant the seventh degree is raised.

That applies as a general rule to classical and jazz harmony.

A classical example is i v6 iv6 V where the lowered seventh is used in v6 (a minor triad in first inversion) then the raised seventh is used for V7.

In jazz a basic minor blues demonstrates it too. In G minor the tonic Gm7 uses an F natural for the lowered seventh, but then in the turnaround the dominant chord D7 uses F sharp for a raised seventh.

There is not one, fixed minor scale.

Think of it more like minor key or minor tonality.

If you play a scalar passage in minor, the exact series of notes, the quality of the sixth and seventh degrees, will depend on the harmony of the passage. Also, it has nothing to do with the direction of the motion. That is another terrible textbook falsehood easily disproved by countless examples of real music.

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