Wow! Thanks so much, Jack! You're quite right. The author was taking the relative minor of C Major, therefore A minor. But he made no mention whatsoever that he was now referencing A Major to account for the flats. Thanks again!Jack Dawkins wrote:It's because the degrees are stated with respect to the major scale, and those are the flats that result - so if we are in A natural minor, the sixth degree is F, but the sixth degree of A major would be F#, so this degree has been marked with a flat.
May I ask what book you are reading?Mark Featherstone wrote:The book I'm reading states...
This is "Music Theory" by Tom Kolb in the Hal Leonard Guitar Method series. I've seen another author use the same notation since posting. I thought it was Walter Piston in Harmony, but in fact I don't see it on a couple of flips through the chapter on the minor mode and its triads. You're right in that Kolb is simply expressing the triads of the minor mode as flats of the major, e.g C minor vs C major. (Something I understand now, thanks to those who responded.)mainterm wrote:May I ask what book you are reading?Mark Featherstone wrote:The book I'm reading states...
Well summarized, Mark. Thank you. Yeah, I'll keep at it. A while ago I decided that the mental energy I put into Sudoku puzzles could be better directed to something useful. I guess this is one those.markworthi wrote:Hi Mark,
I, too, was confused, at first, by this way of describing the harmonization of the minor scale. The problem becomes worse-- and the mental gymnastics more complex-- when you begin to harmonize other minor scales. For instance, the melodic minor scale has a flat third (relative to the major scale), while the 6th and 7th are the same as in the major scale. But some writers will tell us to think of the melodic minor scale by comparing it to the natural minor scale (that is, as a natural minor with a raised 6th and 7th). So writers are not all consistent with each other in how they teach this stuff; and sometimes they are not explicit enough about which relative scale they are using.
Compounding this is that when we try to visualize the method of lowering or raising the mediant, submediant and leading tones by half tones using a mental notation that includes flats or sharps, it's very easy to get confused about what is truly a sharp or flat note and what is simply a convenience that makes sense relative to some other scale.
It has taken a while, but eventually I have overcome this type of confusion. I am sure you will, too! Best of luck,
I, too, resist this this usage. It can be useful as a mental tool to think this way, I suppose- as "Jack Dawkins" says in his post above, it is simply a comparison to what position those scale degrees would be in, in the parallel (NOT the "relative") major scale. But as such, it is only a mental "tool" to think this way, and it needs to be understood that it is a tool with limited application that leads to a lot of confusion when misused. Saliently, it does not mean that some action has been performed upon those notes to put them in their minor scale position. The minor scale simply is what it is; the "flat" observation is a comparison only, and, it is a comparison to a model that has been adopted arbitrarily because, also as Jack points out, it is familiar.wchymeus wrote:Understood the logic, but is it really common to use a flat sign to get a natural note? like bF#=F is really weird thinking.
What's the motivation to compare to the relative major this way? ....
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