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#2028550 - 02/07/13 06:18 AM Re: viib in minor keys [Re: Kreisler]  
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Originally Posted by Kreisler

So we have two ways of processing minor. One way is to raise the 7th, which works really well in 18th and 19th century styles where things like dominant chords and leading tones are important. Another way is to raise 6 and 7 ascending, which can help smooth out melodies.

I like what you wrote. I usually do.

I would add that there are two ways of approaching minor, both valid.

One is to use natural minor as a starting point, then begin adjusting degrees. This seems to be the way most theory books tackle the subject. When key signatures are stressed, it makes sense. This is also in line with discussing relative minor, and how there is exactly one major and one minor scale, *traditionally*, for each traditional key signature.

However, going in the opposite direction, using major as the “starting point”, the same results will follow. You just get there from the “opposite way”.

Having tried it both ways with many students of varying ages and ability, starting with major seems to get to where I want to get to faster. Using that I can start out with this idea:

1) It is the lowering of the 3rd degree that is the key factor. The one thing all traditional scales that have a minor feel to them share is this lowering of the third note of the scale. So the simplest form of minor takes major and lowers the 3rd. I call this “simple minor”. It corresponds to melodic minor ascending.

2) From here we can being playing with that concept, and this gets into your idea of different kinds of chocolate. We keep b3 as a given.

a) b3 and b6, harmonic minor.
b) b3 and b7, Dorian “minor”.
c) b3 plus BOTH b6 and b7, Aeolian or natural minor.

3) We can then point out that flatting 3, 6 and 7 results in the same key signature as another scale, a major scale. Traditionally those two scales, really the same set of notes, have been called relative major and minor.

4) Once these basics have been set up, you can go just about anywhere.

5) When degree 3 is not lowered, other modes can be related to major through a simple change. Major with #4 becomes Lydian. Major with b7 becomes Mixolydian.

6) The advantage to thinking this way is that all the above scales or modes are derived by using the major scale as a starting point. You get all those major scales in your fingers, in your brain, in your ear, then you simply modify them to get the minor-type scales and other modes.


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#2028567 - 02/07/13 08:02 AM Re: viib in minor keys [Re: Lucy_Knell]  
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landorrano Offline
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Calling btb a troll is kind of pathetic, all the more so coming from people who have so many interesting things to say.

#2028621 - 02/07/13 10:03 AM viib in minor keys [Re: Gary D.]  
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LoPresti Offline
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GARY!

Where the he*ll have you been? As you can see, we needed you earlier! (Long-winded dissertations, notwithstanding.)

Welcome back!
Ed


In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.
#2028628 - 02/07/13 10:17 AM Re: viib in minor keys [Re: Lucy_Knell]  
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Dave Horne Online content
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While it's great that there are different ways to approach teaching the various flavors of minor scales to students, we really shouldn't lose sight of the fact that there is a finite number of scales to know forwards and backwards.

There are only 12 major scales and 36 different different flavors of minor scales at the keyboard. (There are of course more when we put those scales down on paper. smile )

I look at scales in the same way I look at the multiplication tables we were forced to learn those many years ago. We didn't create little devices to learn those various tables, we just committed them to memory.



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#2028665 - 02/07/13 11:20 AM Re: viib in minor keys [Re: Dave Horne]  
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Originally Posted by Dave Horne
While it's great that there are different ways to approach teaching the various flavors of minor scales to students, we really shouldn't lose sight of the fact that there is a finite number of scales to know forwards and backwards.

Precisely - AND - what might be expedicious in "getting the scales under the fingers" for a piano student, will not necessarily be best for learning the correct theory that goes along with them, nor for playing those same scales on some other instrument.

Brute force memorization: highly UNDER-rated, and a vanishing skill.

I hope nothing has happened to Little Lucy.
Ed


In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.
#2028716 - 02/07/13 01:04 PM Re: viib in minor keys [Re: landorrano]  
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Gary D. Offline
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Originally Posted by btb
What a load of cobblers!
Such gobbledegook deserves to be discombobulated, ground into fine chunks, and rammed down the throat of the giddy gents propogating the garbage.

No wonder children pack in their piano lessons.

Feel much better now having lit a fuse.


Originally Posted by landorrano
Calling btb a troll is kind of pathetic, all the more so coming from people who have so many interesting things to say.

(Look up “cobblers”.) No matter how I interpret this, the best sense I get is that the discussion is nonsense. You have people attempting to explain something that, at the least, is rather hard to explain. Now, if I barge in, after having read what everyone else says, and imply that there are bunch of “giddy gents propagating garbage”, what have I done? Am I in any way adding to the conversation?

Then, if I end with “ Feel much better now having lit a fuse”, I have trolled. Which is what btb did.

And for the record, I do not think btb is a troll. smile For one thing, although I totally disagree with many of his points, I do enjoy the fun he has with the English language. Furthermore, I don't sense any truly malicious intent.

On the other hand:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

“In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”

I see no intention of doing anything here except provoking readers or disrupting what WAS a “normal on-topic discussion”.

What is it *you* see?


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#2028721 - 02/07/13 01:18 PM Re: viib in minor keys [Re: Dave Horne]  
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Gary D. Offline
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Originally Posted by Dave Horne
While it's great that there are different ways to approach teaching the various flavors of minor scales to students, we really shouldn't lose sight of the fact that there is a finite number of scales to know forwards and backwards.

There are only 12 major scales and 36 different different flavors of minor scales at the keyboard. (There are of course more when we put those scales down on paper. smile )

Doing the math that would come down to one major scale and three kinds of minor scales, then transposed to 12 different keys.

But wait, there are 15 standard keys. So the notation is already more complicated. smile

If I follow your logic, I get for the three minor scales:

1) Natural or Aeolian

2) Harmonic

3) Melodic (as defined in some books as only ascending, which in itself is highly confusing)

But I would add a forth, Dorian “minor” for two reasons. First, it is very common in jazz and pop, especially in improv. Second, there are tunes going back hundreds of years that are clearly in that mode or scale (Scarboro Fair may be the most famous).
Quote

I look at scales in the same way I look at the multiplication tables we were forced to learn those many years ago. We didn't create little devices to learn those various tables, we just committed them to memory.

I think things can be memorized and understood, both. They are learned more powerfully that way. I I have to remember that 9 x 9 is 81 and so so, of course that is both good and useful. But if I also know that 9 x 8 is 72 and 9 x 10 is 90, I have two ways to get there if my mind goes blank.

In addition, this principle gives a tool for things like 19 squared, which I might forget, vs 19 x 20 – 19, which is rather easy to do mentally. 360-19 or 341.

In the real world I would most like just type 19^2, but it is a bit cool to have a back-up in case we have a power outage and no battery power. wink

For the record, I teach 12 major scales, 50% by rote, then check them as often as possible, hands separate, two octaves.

This is step one. As I said before in this thread, the kind of minor scales you are talking about can be mastered by starting out with major and an adjustment or two – or three. The goal should be to just play them, any key, so the real problem is getting it done. Once it is done, you simply have tools. And the trick is in helping someone ELSE “get it done”.


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#2028733 - 02/07/13 01:34 PM Re: viib in minor keys [Re: LoPresti]  
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Gary D. Offline
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Originally Posted by LoPresti
GARY!

Where the he*ll have you been? As you can see, we needed you earlier! (Long-winded dissertations, notwithstanding.)

Welcome back!
Ed

Ed, in fact I was teaching part of this subject last night, using my cell phone and blue-tooth. I do this almost nightly to help a former student and close friend who is now stranded several hundred miles away. frown

We were going through the Beethoven “Sonata Pathétique” – last movement. Several times we hit a strong cadence, LH expressing V7 chord (G7) with a scale in the RH. The question was – what is the scale? What is the best way to see that it is a descending C harmonic minor scale used to flesh out a V7 chord? And could we get from this – C D Eb F G Ab B C – the not so obvious fact that a G7b9 chord takes notes out of that chord – G B D F Ab, so that the remaining notes of the scale are just passing tones?

The reason why this is not nonsense or just “jibber-jabber” is that this particular student reads rather well but has trouble memorizing, and my intent is that he reach a point where he can read even faster and at least PARTIALLY memorize what he is reading. Stronger reading, stronger playing, improved memory by understanding the “why” behind the “what”.

In order to explain harmonic minor to him, I had to try several different ways to get there. I gave him every strategy I could think of, every one I have used in the past. I gave him the option of first forming a natural minor scale, then raising the 7th. I also gave him the concept of “simple minor”, where only the 3rd is lowered, then using that as the first of two steps. Start with C D Eb F G A B C, lowering only 3, defining that as melodic minor, then getting to harmonic minor by lowering 6.

He chose the latter path. He may eventually choose the first, or both. Until he can recognize all forms of minor scales in all keys in a way that helps his playing, I won't know that what I am doing presently is working. It's a work in progress, like all teaching.

I personally experience harmonic as lowered 3 and lowered 7, coming from major, because the necessity of a natural 7 is so powerful for V chords. I can't prove it but I suspect that in the key of C minor, expressed by the key signature, the B is natural as often as it is flat, at least in many pieces, and maybe more often.

Last edited by Gary D.; 02/07/13 01:40 PM.

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#2028737 - 02/07/13 01:41 PM Re: viib in minor keys [Re: Gary D.]  
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Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
The reason why this is not nonsense or just “jibber-jabber”....

Of course it isn't. It might only be those things in relation to what we're supposedly trying to answer. grin

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