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Harmonic Minor Scale Modes

In the last few articles we have been looking at the Harmonic Minor Scale and the chords that are built from it. As with other scales (such as the Major Scale) we can build modes from the Harmonic Minor Scale.

Again we will stick with the Key of C:


In the same way we built all the chords in the key, we play a scale starting on each note.

For example: D Eb F G Ab B C D

This gives a new scale based on the tonal center of D. If we now convert this back to the key of C we get:


This new scale is called Locrian ♮6 and is a Mode. It is the 2nd mode of the Harmonic Minor Scale.

If we continue this exercise (starting from each note) we can complete the following table:


So there you have it, all 7 modes of the Harmonic Minor Scale, and you can play them in any key, just start on the note you want and play the correct intervals!!

The names of these modes are again variable. Some common names are put in brackets for you. The names are actually a guide as to what notes to play. If you remember the modes well that we covered in previous articles, the name tells you what to play.

For Example, Dorian #4. Play the normal Dorian Scale but sharpen the 4th!!

I suggest you play the modes starting from the same note so you can get the sound of each scale in your head.

Starting from C:


Until next time, practice and enjoy some new sounds!!


-Duncan Richardson - MU Columnist


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