Descending and Ascending minor scales and Triplets (MUSIC THEORY)


#1

Hello,

I was wondering if someone could help me with some more music theory. Could someone please explain to me the ascending and descending form of a minor scale? The only things I know is that in a melodic scale has a few different notes coming down and going up (I think).

Next up is Triplets. I really do not understand triplets that much, so any explanation to them also would be good.

Anyway, any explanations for either would help me a lot. Thanks! :slight_smile:


#2
Hello,

I was wondering if someone could help me with some more music theory. Could someone please explain to me the ascending and descending form of a minor scale? The only things I know is that in a melodic scale has a few different notes coming down and going up (I think).

Next up is Triplets. I really do not understand triplets that much, so any explanation to them also would be good.

Anyway, any explanations for either would help me a lot. Thanks! :slight_smile:

Hi,

Ascending a Minor scale would be starting on the root note(example: Cminor’s root note is C) and going UP the scale to its octave(Example: C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C)

For Descending your taking the minor scale and going DOWN the scale(Example: C, Bb, Ab, G, F, Eb, D, C)

To Change any Major Scale to a Minor you have to flat the 3rd, 6th and 7th in the scale.

To change any Major Chord to a Minor Chord you have to flat the 3rd note in the scale.

For Triplets you have to take for example straight 8th notes; which are counted as 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and, and you have to count them like this(1 ah lee 2 ah lee 3 ah lee 4 ah lee)

Take some time to actually clap out the straight 8th’s as you count them(1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and);Clap on (1) and (and)…For triplets count them(1 ah lee 2 ah lee 3 ah lee 4 ah lee);clap on (1) (ah) (lee)…, and so on.

I Hope this has helped You!


#3

There are three types of minor scale.

natural minor,
harmonic minor ,
melodic minor

NATURAL :
i will say this in the key of A cause you can simply play it on keyboard.
so you start from A to A and play only white notes
so a “natural minor” has following notes (ascending and descending is the same!):
a-b-c-d-e-f-g-a

HARMONIC:
harmonic minor has one note changed. it is g sharp (G#)
it is simple. just raise note G a half a step (so you play the first black note on the right to g,and that note is called g-sharp). a-harmonic minor has following notes
a-b-c-d-e-f- G#- a (ascending and descending the same)

MELODIC :
melodic minor is very similar to harmonic. you have risen G, and also risen F (f-sharp, or F#)
F-sharp is a first black note to the right of the note F
So melodic minor has following notes :

a-b-c-d-e-f#-g#-a (ascending) and descending it sounds same like descending NATURAL MINOR (a-g-f-e-d-c-b-a)

ok?

cheers

kristijanf


#4

clap once, and during that say - ONE-TWO-THREE or…

i found this …so maybe it gets more clear about triplets


#5

KristijanF nailed it.

If you read music, you will find these useful as a reference. Learn the natural minor scales first, then the harmonic minor scales, then the melodic minor scales.

Use Kristijanf’s description with this PDF and you will be set.

PDF on Minor scales - http://www.box.net/shared/5kl4al9rbs

Regarding Triplets. Open your DAW or find a metronome, set it to 120 BPM. Then use this sheet to practice from.

PDF on Triplets - http://www.box.net/shared/mii6ymdt8q

GC

P.S. Delving further into music theory, the Natural Minor is also known as the ‘Aeolian Mode’. Modes are VERY useful for composing, as the scales that they use have distinct characteristics. Wikipedia does a pretty good job of explaining it.

Hans Zimmer uses Dorian and Aeolian mode a LOT in his music. I like the Phrygian mode a lot, has a really cool sound if you stay within that mode.


#6

Natural Minor = flat 3rd, flat 6th, flat 7th

Harmonic minor = flat 3rd, flat 6th, natural 7th

Melodic minor = flat 3rd, natural 6th and 7th


#7
Melodic minor = flat 3rd, natural 6th and 7th

Melodic Minor ASCENDING = flat 3rd, natural 6th and 7th

Melodic Minor DESCENDING = flat 3rd, flat 6th, flat 7th


#8

All the above commenters have it right, but I feel like having at least a little bit of understanding how and why to use these scales is more important.

Basically, the melodic and harmonic minor scales have a Major 7th (a B natural if you are in the key of C) for one reason - It is the “leading tone”. I remember telling you about basic chord progressions and the use of the V chord in music to lead back to the I chord.

This movement of chords to the tonic (the I/i chord) is the same in both minor and major keys, except if you are composing in a true modal nature in which case you would just play in the Aeolian or Natural minor the whole time, and not even have a “leading tone” - you would have a minor v going to a minor i.

Back on topic - In modern music (ever since the 16th-ish Century forward) composers have began using Major V (G B D in the key of C) to a minor i (C Eb G in the key of C) in minor key compositions. They did this to achieve the same sense of resolution in the music that was present in Major key compositions (which comes from the resolution of B in the V chord to C in the I chord).

This paradigm shift ushered forth the 3 scales people explained above - Natural (Aeolian), Harmonic, and Melodic. But like I said before it helps more to understand WHY these 3 scales exist and why they shouldn’t really be conceptually different from one another, because if you are writing a complex piece of music in the classical style in a minor key you will quickly begin to realize the blurring of these scales.

Here is a Bach Fugue in C-minor to kind of show you how in about 6 measures he is using Ab, A, Bb and B all in the key of C minor.

Ab is used when Bach is on the ii° iv or VI chord, or as a passing tone on i III, or VII chords. (The ° stands for diminished, or a fully minor chord built upon minor 3rds (D F Ab)).

A is used mainly as a passing tone during a V chord (G) or as a chord tone on the V7/V chord (D7).

Bb is used as a passing tone on i ii° iv and VI chords, and as a chord tone on III and the VII chord.

B is used as the leading tone during the V or vii° chords. The vii° chord is used mainly as a substitute for the V7 chord, as they sound very much alike (the V7 is G B D F - the vii° is B D F)

There is also a chord built upon the Major 6th in a minor key, but I personally haven’t really seen it that much, but just in case you wanted to know it is a vi° (A C Eb) chord.

This might be a lot to digest at once - it took me a really long time to learn it all myself, but this is what I have come to understand about minor key harmony involving the combined usage of the melodic, harmonic, and natural minor scales.

Basically this whole complicated system came out of the need to use a G Major (G B D) in a minor key to go a i minor (C Eb G) - this is why they “invented” the melodic and harmonic minor scales.

Triplets

Triplets are basically what they sound like - a grouping of 3 notes. Lets say you’re playing a constant stream of quarter notes, and you come across a group of 3 eighth note triplets like in the picture above. You play these 3 notes in the exact same period of time that you would have played a single quarter note.

Another helpful tip in determining how fast to play triplets is this neat system that I learned a while back. Triplets are called “quarter note triplets”, “eighth note triplets” or “half note triplets” etc. The important thing you can remember is that these triplets happen in the same amount of time as their next “bigger” or “longer” note.

Examples of this:

  1. 3 eighth note triplets happen in the same time as 1 quarter note.
  2. 3 quarter note triplets happen in the same time as 1 half note.
  3. 3 half note triplets happen in the same time as 1 whole note.

etc.

I hope this helps you out! Sorry if it was too long - I felt that I should be really concise about my explanations.

-BC


#9
Sorry if it was too long – I felt that I should be really concise about my explanations.

Isn’t that a paradox? :wink:

Good stuff, it helps to know all this stuff, but don’t get bogged down in it, otherwise you’ll never write anything.


#10

Isn’t that a paradox? :wink:

Good stuff, it helps to know all this stuff, but don’t get bogged down in it, otherwise you’ll never write anything.

Yeah, i probably misused the word “concise” haha, I could have written it like 4x longer but as I got to triplets I was worried about a post length limit, so I finished it up. :smiley:

All of this stuff in modern times is just opinion really. It is completely possible to play 3 chords in a repeating cycle and piddle over the top of it on a major scale and end up with a successful song after a little bit of tweaking.

Personally, I had about 5-6 years of this stuff going all the way up to writing 4-part fugues and stuff. I haven’t really written in that style much since then, but I really feel like learning all of that technical jargon has helped a lot.


#11

Hello,

Thanks for everyone’s replies, haven’t yet read the ones about ascending/descending minor scales, however. I’ll read them tomorrow.

However, I have some questions about triplets.

If, for example, you have tripleted quavers (eighth note I believe), what would the time value for those tripleted quavers be? Would they be equivalent crotchet (quarter note I believe) or still three quavers (three eighth notes)?

Thanks


#12

Hey Jack,

Music Theory is a specialty of mine, so hopefully I can help :slight_smile:

A triplet is three notes played in the space of two notes. Period. That’s what it means. There are also several other types of “triplets”, outlined in this list:

-2 notes played in the space of 3: duplet

-3 notes played in the space of 2: triplet

-4 notes played in the space of 3: quadruplet

-5 notes played in the space of 3: quintuplet

-6 notes played in the space of 3: sextuplet

-7 notes played in the space of 3: septuplet

And the list goes on (I’ve seen all sorts of madness in modern piano music, including 11’s, 13’s, and so on). But don’t let the terminology throw you.

To answer your question:

Triplets can be of any note value, but are primarily eighth (quaver) and quarter (crotchet) notes. So, if you have a measure in 4/4 time with 8 quarter notes - you can turn all 4 sets of eighth notes into a total of 12 triplet eighth notes.

As mentioned in previous posts, the easiest way to practice this is to clap 4 steady notes, in any tempo. Try saying “one-two-three” evenly between each clap. Those are triplets. Also try saying “one-two” between claps. Those are normal eighth notes. Practice going back and forth and you’ll understand the relationship.

I hope this helps,

Steven