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Harmonic Minor Scale

To satisfy the harmonic requirements of music written in minor keys, in particular that they preserve some of the harmonic characteristics associated with major scales, our natural minor scale has to be modified. If you look at a major scale you will remember that the seventh degree, the leading note is only a semitonebelow the tonic. The term leading note is a good description of the way it works harmonically. The leading note draws or 'leads' you to the tonic above. It is an example of a tendency tone, a note that has a strong pull toward another. The reason for this will become clearer once we examine chords and cadences in a later lesson. Looking again at our minor scale you will see that the leading note is a tone below the tonic above it - this weakens its harmonic effect as a 'leading' note. The problem is overcome by sharpening the leading note, changing G to G sharp, so that the row is now A, B, C, D, E, F, G sharp, A and the interval sequence becomes tone-semitone-tone-tone-semitone-tone and a half-semitone.


E Harmonic Minor