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Introducing the Harmonic Major II: After Harmonic minor

The Harmonic pair of scales are often combined in two ways: minor then Major or vice versa. The focus here is on the first. It is a very common way of modulating to the Major key on degree VI of the Major scale, ie C Major - A Major (I - VI).

It's a very simple technique, change to the Harmonic minor on the relative minor degree and then raise the minor 3rd to a Major 3rd. There are then two options for resolution. The Harmonic Major can either behave as a I or a V scale. In the two examples below, the first Harmonic Major acts as a scale on degree I and then changes again to the Harmonic minor on degree VI (F#). It is easy to see for example, that from C Major, the key of F# minor is only a few steps away. Example 2 is a more modal approach, with a pedal in the bass. G Mixolydian - G# Altbb7(A H. minor) - G# Locbb7(A H Maj) - A Mixolydian - D Ionian (Major).

Hopefully, when it is all broken down like this, it is easier to recognise what is actually happening in the music.


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