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11) Two Chords Circle Progressions - Minor Mode

[Post #11] In the previous posts we talked about the major mode, now we analyse the circular progressions based on the minor mode. A digression on the origin and nature of the minor mode would take too much space here and could be maybe boring, I just point out a couple of things. To get the minor scale from a major key we must start from the sixth degree of the major scale 1. Let's make a practical example with our C major scale:

The sixth degree of the scale is the note A, so we build the A minor scale starting from this note and having therefore the sequence A, B, C, D, E, F, G.

Centuries of musical practice have led to a convention: when the seventh tone of this minor scale (G) moved to the eighth tone (A), it was reduced the interval between the two notes, a semitone replaced a tone and the G became G#. Between the seventh and eighth degree of the minor scale (G# - A) was then recreated the same interval (half step - semitone) that we find between the seventh and eighth grade of the major scale (B - C).
This minor scale is called harmonic and consist of the following notes:
A, B, C, D, E, F, G#. 
Between the sixth and seventh degree of this harmonic minor scale we find an interval that is bigger then a tone (F - G#). This augmented interval was (and still is) often avoided, so that the note F is often changed in F#. This is the melodic minor scale2 which consists of the following notes:
A, B, C, D, E, F#, G# 
As for the major mode, we can now build triads on each degree of the scale. Of course if a degree has  an accidental we can build a triad with the natural or the altered sound. In the minor mode we have therefore more triads to the same degree:
The I degree is obviously a minor chord (Am).
On the II degree we have a diminished chord (Bdim, with minor third and diminished fifth) and a minor chord (Bm).
On the III degree we have an A major triad (C) and an augmented chord (C5+ with the fifth note a semitone higher). 
On the IV degree we have a minor chord (Dm) and a major chord (D). Same on the V degree (Em and E).
On the sixth grade we have a major chord (F) and a diminished one (F#dim). Same on the seventh grade (G and G#dim).

By making the circle progressions in the minor mode we also omit some chords: the diminished triads on the II, VI and VII degree, and the augmented triad on the third degree. We can now create our two-chord circle progressions.
Circle progressions based on minor triads:
  1. Am - Bm (I – II progression)
  2. Am - Dm (I – IV progression)
  3. Am - Em (I – V progression)

Here instead the progressions based on a minor triad and a major triad:
  1. Am - C (I – III progression)
  2. Am - D (I – IV progression)
  3. Am - E (I-V progression)
  4. Am - F (I – VI progression)
  5. Am - G (I – VII progression)

Obviously this applies to all minor keys. We can use the table below to transpose scales and chords:

1 Still in the previous post we explained what are the degrees of the scale.
2 In classical music the harmonic minor scale is played the same way ascending and descending - A, B, C, D, E, F, G# (ascending) - A, G#, F, E, D, C, B, A (descending), while the melodic minor scale uses altered notes in the ascending modus A, B, C, D, E, F#, G#, A and the natural sounds in the descending modus: A, G, F, E, D, C, B, A.


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11) Two Chords Circle Progressions - Minor Mode Reviewed by Satin Beaus on Saturday, March 17, 2012 Rating: 5

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