Minor 3rd, flattened 3rd, when did that change?

What's Hot
TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 2450
The question just popped into my head as a result of a couple of YouTube vids I've come across recently which had people using this...

I started classical guitar in the 70s and was taught music theory at the same time to underpin it. When did people start to use the term "flattened third" for the third note in the minor scale instead of "minor third"? Ie., the 3 semitone interval in a minor key context. I realise they mean "the third of a major scale, but flattened", but in a minor key context, that grates with me. I know the third note of a minor scale is 3 semitones away from the root. It doesn't need saying. 

Can someone currently teaching theory please explain? Is it a general change in terminology and everyone uses it now? Or is it a convention for certain groups of people? 
0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
«1

Comments

  • It seems to come from the US crowd and the jazz scene, but it was common at ACM and BIMM when I was a student there and you see it in Guitar Techniques magazine sometimes, so it's coming into UK usage via those channels.

    I quite dislike it too because it confuses the hell out of some students when the third is not, in fact, a flat, as in A minor or D minor. I've started to say "lowered third" if I'm using that way of looking at things.

    That convention relates everything to the major scale. So Mixolydian has flat 7; Aeolian has flat 3, 6, and 7. I do find thinking of it in those terms has some uses for seeing the differences between modes, and looking at the modes in sequence from light to dark.
    My YouTube channel, Half Speed Solos: classic guitar solos demonstrated at half speed with scrolling tab and no waffle.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • vizviz Frets: 7305
    edited April 30
    It seems to come from the US crowd and the jazz scene, but it was common at ACM and BIMM when I was a student there and you see it in Guitar Techniques magazine sometimes, so it's coming into UK usage via those channels.

    I quite dislike it too because it confuses the hell out of some students when the third is not, in fact, a flat, as in A minor or D minor. I've started to say "lowered third" if I'm using that way of looking at things.

    That convention relates everything to the major scale. So Mixolydian has flat 7; Aeolian has flat 3, 6, and 7. I do find thinking of it in those terms has some uses for seeing the differences between modes, and looking at the modes in sequence from light to dark.

    I don’t like it exactly for your reasons too. D# minor has an F# for its ‘flat 3’! And it seems really bizarre to me to reference everything from the major scale. 

    I much prefer the concept of starting with two tonalities - major and minor - where major has a major 3rd, 6th and 7th, and minor has a minor 3rd, 6th and 7th. 

    From these two tonalities, the modes can be referenced, so mixolydian has a lowered 7th (compared to major), and dorian has a raised 6th (compared to minor). 


    I see the benefit of the light to dark, but you lose the light-to-dark factor of each mode compared to its relevant parent major or minor. It’s not as easy to think of Dorian as being lighter than Aeolian, and Phrygian as being darker, if they’re just numbers 4, 5, and 6 in a sequence of modes relative to Ionian. Not sure I explained my point very well there.
    "I’m a guitarist, not your research bitch” - Cols
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • TanninTannin Frets: 210
    For a straight minor key, absolutely, "minor 3rd" every time. 

    But for anything else, anything where it is necessary to say what the notes are, starting with the standard major scale and saying "flat 3rd" is very much more understandable and sensible.

    I am assuming here as a starting point that everybody knows the major and minor scales. You learn major. You learn minor. Then you learn all the other stuff and relate it back to what you know, and the thing you know better than anything else is the major scale, so that's the one to describe the new one in terms of.

    If you describe new things starting from the minor scale, you are committing the sin of requiring that the student does two things at once: (a) mentally adjust from the major to the (always less familiar) minor scale, and at the same time mentally add or subtract the modifications. This is much more difficult.

    Worse, once you stop describing everything (except straight minor, which anyone at this level already knows) in terms of difference from the standard major scale and start sometimes describing the differences from one scale (major) and sometimes describing the differences from some other scale (minor), chaos sets in. From the learner's point of view, does the instruction to flatten the 3rd mean play one semitone below the major third? Or one semitone below the minor 3rd?

    Finally, we have the asinine dual meanings to the term "minor 3rd". Does it mean "play the third note of the scale one semitone flat compared to major"? Or does it mean "the interval between E and G, or A and C"? No wonder educators are trying to make the terms music theory uses more sensible and rational.

    What a dog's breakfast. Just stick to major as the starting point and take it from there.

    </rant>
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • merlinmerlin Frets: 3967
    Flatted, not flattened. Just saying....
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 2reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 2450
    merlin said:
    Flatted, not flattened. Just saying....
    Fair and important point. :-) 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • PhiltrePhiltre Frets: 3138
    Soon we'll get "flatted minor third" for the 2nd note...
    2reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 2450

    Tannin said:
    For a straight minor key, absolutely, "minor 3rd" every time. 

    But for anything else, anything where it is necessary to say what the notes are, starting with the standard major scale and saying "flat 3rd" is very much more understandable and sensible.

    I am assuming here as a starting point that everybody knows the major and minor scales. You learn major. You learn minor. Then you learn all the other stuff and relate it back to what you know, and the thing you know better than anything else is the major scale, so that's the one to describe the new one in terms of.

    If you describe new things starting from the minor scale, you are committing the sin of requiring that the student does two things at once: (a) mentally adjust from the major to the (always less familiar) minor scale, and at the same time mentally add or subtract the modifications. This is much more difficult.

    Worse, once you stop describing everything (except straight minor, which anyone at this level already knows) in terms of difference from the standard major scale and start sometimes describing the differences from one scale (major) and sometimes describing the differences from some other scale (minor), chaos sets in. From the learner's point of view, does the instruction to flatten the 3rd mean play one semitone below the major third? Or one semitone below the minor 3rd?

    Finally, we have the asinine dual meanings to the term "minor 3rd". Does it mean "play the third note of the scale one semitone flat compared to major"? Or does it mean "the interval between E and G, or A and C"? No wonder educators are trying to make the terms music theory uses more sensible and rational.

    What a dog's breakfast. Just stick to major as the starting point and take it from there.

    </rant>

    Here's what I learned as a kid...
    Major scale intervals: T T S T T T S          
    Minor scale intervals: T S T T S T T

    What's so hard about that?

    But back to my OP question. Why did it change? And for whom? Or is it something invented by people who could play and understood music well, but didn't have a classical European training, so lacked a common language for communication and therefore built their own? 



    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • vizviz Frets: 7305
    Philtre said:
    Soon we'll get "flatted minor third" for the 2nd note...
    We already have the opposite of that in the b7#9 chord :)
    "I’m a guitarist, not your research bitch” - Cols
    1reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • A minor third is an interval.

    Flatten the third is an instruction to play a semitone below the major third. 
    I make my living with bolt-on necks, please don't ask to borrow them.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 2reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • TanninTannin Frets: 210
    No-one here - not me and not anyone else - said that the basic major and minor scales were hard. Why are you pretending that I did? It's a cheap way to score a point but it is dishonest. (Or possibly you misunderstood.)

    The hard part is when you describe two different things with the same term. ("Minor 3rd.") The hard part is when you describe new things starting from various different places instead of always starting from a common point.  Both of these are needless and pointless complexities which should have been eliminated from music teaching decades ago. The aim should be to help people understand music, not to obfuscate it. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • JonathangusJonathangus Frets: 1283
    My theory isn't in the same league as some of the gentlemen above, but to me 'flattened' (or 'sharpened') implies the use of an accidental - e.g. temporarily playing the minor third in a major key.  (Possibly the correct terms are 'diminished' and 'augmented'.)

    Here's what I learned as a kid...
    Major scale intervals: T T S T T T S          
    Minor scale intervals: T S T T S T T

    What's so hard about that?

    Except that, thinking back to the dim and distant past of my Grade 5 Theory, there's other forms of the minor scale - there's the natural minor, the harmonic minor and the melodic minor.  The only thing they have in common is the minor third.  I think one of them was different on the way down from the way up, too.

    TBH, I found learning scales tedious and always fell down when it came to the exams.  I only really cared about playing the tunes.  There were some dots on a piece of paper in front of me; I played them and a tune came out.  Not much has changed...
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 6481
    viz said:
    It seems to come from the US crowd and the jazz scene, but it was common at ACM and BIMM when I was a student there and you see it in Guitar Techniques magazine sometimes, so it's coming into UK usage via those channels.

    I quite dislike it too because it confuses the hell out of some students when the third is not, in fact, a flat, as in A minor or D minor. I've started to say "lowered third" if I'm using that way of looking at things.

    That convention relates everything to the major scale. So Mixolydian has flat 7; Aeolian has flat 3, 6, and 7. I do find thinking of it in those terms has some uses for seeing the differences between modes, and looking at the modes in sequence from light to dark.

    I don’t like it exactly for your reasons too. D# minor has an F# for its ‘flat 3’! And it seems really bizarre to me to reference everything from the major scale. 

    I much prefer the concept of starting with two tonalities - major and minor - where major has a major 3rd, 6th and 7th, and minor has a minor 3rd, 6th and 7th. 

    From these two tonalities, the modes can be referenced, so mixolydian has a lowered 7th (compared to major), and dorian has a raised 6th (compared to minor). 


    I see the benefit of the light to dark, but you lose the light-to-dark factor of each mode compared to its relevant parent major or minor. It’s not as easy to think of Dorian as being lighter than Aeolian, and Phrygian as being darker, if they’re just numbers 4, 5, and 6 in a sequence of modes relative to Ionian. Not sure I explained my point very well there.
    It's the referencing everything from the major scale which confused me for quite a time ... once I realised that I understood it a bit quicker but I still mentally ref the Dorian mode for example  to the minor scale and such, because in my head that makes more sense 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • sev112sev112 Frets: 1092
    And to me, the vast majority of chords consist of Minor and Major 3rd intervals stacked on top of each other.  I find this nugget extremely useful in playing arpeggios all over the neck without having to work out what note I’m on and what note I ought to be hunting for.  The m3 and M3 intervals are easy to find from any note on the neck.  

    What confuses me more is what/why the Dom7 uses the e.g. Bb in CMaj scale.  (To me it’s just a m3 interval above the 5th.) : 

    CMaj (C E G) and Cmin (C Eb G),  
    CMaj7 (C E G B) and Cmin7 (C Eb G Bb)
    but C7 is (C E G Bb) ?

    apart from the fact that it is nice, why in theory terms does the Dom7 have the Bb ?

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • KeefyKeefy Frets: 1081
    edited April 30
    Perfect intervals (4ths and 5ths) can be altered in two ways - augmented (eg augmented 4th, C - F#) or diminished (eg diminished 5th, B - F).

    Other intervals are either major (eg major 6th, Ab to F) or minor (eg minor 7th F# - E).

    I agree that using the terms flatt(en)ed or sharp(en)ed in place of the correct terms can cause confusion. However the abbreviations are widely accepted in naming chords. For example B7b5 (notes B D# F A) should strictly be called B7dim5 but in chord naming ‘dim’ is reserved for chords based on diminished triads, eg Bdim7 (notes B D F Ab).
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 2450
    Tannin said:
    No-one here - not me and not anyone else - said that the basic major and minor scales were hard. Why are you pretending that I did? It's a cheap way to score a point but it is dishonest. (Or possibly you misunderstood.)
    <snip>
    I'm not pretending. I can only go by what you wrote. Which was...
    Tannin said:
    <snip>
    If you describe new things starting from the minor scale, you are committing the sin of requiring that the student does two things at once: (a) mentally adjust from the major to the (always less familiar) minor scale, and at the same time mentally add or subtract the modifications. This is much more difficult.
    <snip>
    I'm pointing out (and you apparently agree) that it's not hard to learn two sets of scale intervals. So now we appear to have the same view on that issue, what's so difficult about using that knowledge to describe a 3 semitone interval as a minor 3rd? I don't understand what you mean by "modifications" that someone needs to add or subtract.

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • vizviz Frets: 7305
    edited April 30
    sev112 said:

    What confuses me more is what/why the Dom7 uses the e.g. Bb in CMaj scale.  (To me it’s just a m3 interval above the 5th.) : 

    CMaj (C E G) and Cmin (C Eb G),  
    CMaj7 (C E G B ) and Cmin7 (C Eb G Bb)
    but C7 is (C E G Bb) ?

    apart from the fact that it is nice, why in theory terms does the Dom7 have the Bb ?


    Just answering that point seeing as you ask @sev112 and because the history is interesting and useful. And I'm going to speak from the perspective of a classical musician, just so you get the history of it. Like if you were asking a question about quantum mechanics, I'm just being Newtonian for a minute And I'm putting it all in context of a major diatonic key.

    So, "Dominant" has a specific meaning in classical music; it's the name given to the 5th note (or "degree") of the scale, and similarly it's given as the name of the 5th chord too - "Chord V". Like Tonic is the name of Chord I, Dominant is the name of Chord V.

    But (in a major key), unlike a 7 chord on the Tonic, which as you rightly say is a maj7, the 7th on the V Chord is a minor 7th. We call it a Dominant 7th, but the word Dominant doesn't (originally) refer as much to the 7th interval, as to the chord position. So it doesn't (originally) mean any old lowered 7th, it refers specifically to the 7th on the V chord, which happens to be a minor 7th (but see three paragraphs down).

    To restate, the origin of the phrase "Dominant 7th" isn't rooted in the 7th per se, it's rooted in the fact that Chord V is the Dominant chord.

    Of course, because chord V is the only major diatonic chord to deploy a minor 7th, the term Dominant 7th has become synonymous with the minor 7th interval. So people use it interchangeably with minor 7th, to the annoyance of pedants.

    Now it gets interesting. Because it's often useful to deploy a minor 7th on other major chords besides the V (eg if you want to treat another non-V chord as though it were a V chord - called a secondary dominant - or if you simply want the sound of a minor 7th on any other major chord, like in the blues, where the I, the IV and the V all have a minor 7th), the word "Dominant 7th" has cemented itself in our lingo to apply to those chords too. So now it basically means a chord in any position that happens to have a major 3rd and a minor 7th.

    So, your question: why does the Dom 7 in C major have the Bb, well, a pedant would say:

    "It doesn't. The Dominant in C major is the G chord. If it's played as a G7, then it has a minor 7th, the F, and it's called the Dominant 7th chord (with its dominant 7 interval, G -> F). However if you do want a minor 7th on the C chord, which is a Bb, then you have to call it a minor 7th. Unless the C7 is temporarily acting as a V chord, and resolving to an F chord, which is called a "Secondary Dominant" and does indeed have a dom7. But if it's just a minor 7th on the Tonic chord, then it's a minor 7th not a dom7."

    I hope that has clarified things. I'm sure it's made it worse though, sorry lol. It's hard to write this stuff.
    "I’m a guitarist, not your research bitch” - Cols
    0reaction image LOL 1reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 741
    I just related it to the guitar, flat meaning move down (as in towards the left if you play right handed) the fretboard to lower the note by a semi-tone.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • BradBrad Frets: 363


    But back to my OP question. Why did it change? And for whom? Or is it something invented by people who could play and understood music well, but didn't have a classical European training, so lacked a common language for communication and therefore built their own? 

    As previously mentioned, and I’m no historian but I’d wager that it started in the US with Jazz/Bebop musicians for exactly the reasons you state. The majority didn’t have a ‘conventional’ musical education steeped in European classical music. I think it just developed naturally as the demands of the music changed over time and the approaches required for it - playing changes from different keys at fast tempos and thinking from either a maj or min tonality might not always be helpful. So they generally thought on a chord by chord basis viewing things in relation to the root.

    I’d say once Jazz education became monetised and mainstream by places like Berklee in the 70s, as with most things American, this terminology permeated elsewhere over time. And that’s where we find ourselves now... with a mixture of interchangeable terminology due to cultural/musical differences. 

    I'm interested to know why it grinds your gears though. Minor 3rd and b3 describe the same thing to me, located the same places on the fretboard or thought of in the same way regarding distance. Is it that you feel everyone should follow the 'classical' approach? Or that you feel your intelligence is being insulted by having b3 used in the context of minor keys?

    If we were discussing a song in the key of Cm, would you object to a Cm chord (or any of the minor chords) being called as such, or would you prefer it called C with the assumption that we'd understand you're thinking Cm? 
     
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 2450
    Brad said:


    But back to my OP question. Why did it change? And for whom? Or is it something invented by people who could play and understood music well, but didn't have a classical European training, so lacked a common language for communication and therefore built their own? 
    <snip>
    I'm interested to know why it grinds your gears though. Minor 3rd and b3 describe the same thing to me, located the same places on the fretboard or thought of in the same way regarding distance. Is it that you feel everyone should follow the 'classical' approach? Or that you feel your intelligence is being insulted by having b3 used in the context of minor keys?

    If we were discussing a song in the key of Cm, would you object to a Cm chord (or any of the minor chords) being called as such, or would you prefer it called C with the assumption that we'd understand you're thinking Cm? 
     
    Fair question and worth an answer. It's purely emotional, I think.

    If there's no need to translate something then I'd prefer not to. Understanding that a minor 3rd is the same as a b3 isn't hard to do. Most of the musicians I've played with over the years haven't been classically-trained so we've not always used the same language to discuss music, and had to find common ground with each other. Most of them have had no formal training at all, TBH! :-) But, it's hard for anyone to overcome thinking in their first language even when they've learned another one, so I naturally speak "classical European" when I use words for music and generally think about music in that way. It resonates better with me. 

    I'm sure if I'd gone to Berklee to study jazz guitar rather than attend RCM and study classical guitar, I'd have a different view and naturally use the terminology that they teach their students. 

    Is it better or worse? No. Just different. Every system will have its strengths and weaknesses and be more suitable for one task rather than another. And every person using a particular system will know more or less about it than someone else.

    I'm much happier using Berklee-style names for chords and following a chord chart, than I would be playing rhythm guitar from a score. I don't feel that the classical approach is something everyone should follow - unless it's the best system for the music they're playing. It might help some people to known more about it if they need to communicate with musicians that only know that system, but that's about it. 

    Your second question...  I think of a chord with the notes C, Eb and G as being Cm - because it has the 1, 3 and 5 notes of the Cm scale. On a chord chart for a guitarist, I wouldn't expect it to be called anything else. That would apply to a tune in a major key or a minor key.

    I wouldn't be able to sightread a Nashville-style chord chart. If the key is Cm, do they write the Cm chord as 1 or 1m? 


    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • RolandRoland Frets: 5253
    viz said:
    I hope that has clarified things. I'm sure it's made it worse though, sorry lol. It's hard to write this stuff.
    What it points out is that the nomenclature of scales and chords is there to help us describe groups of notes. Some times the conventions can confuse rather than clarify because there isn’t a unified theory of music.
    viz said:

    ... if you were asking a question about quantum mechanics, I'm just being Newtonian for a minute And I'm putting it all in context of a major diatonic key...
    Which reminds me that “unified theories” in physics which don’t cover everything either.
    The Big Bad Classified's Sheriff, and part time guitarist with  https://www.undercoversband.com/
    1reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • BradBrad Frets: 363
    @TheBigDipper I get where you’re coming from and I did think it was an emotional reaction as much as anything. In much the same way people get vexed about minims, crotchets, quavers getting called half, quarter and eighth notes etc. I guess we’ve all got our little things that irk us eh? smile 

    I completely agree that understanding a minor 3rd being the same as a b3 isn’t, or shouldn’t be difficult. And to be honest I think the same way as yourself when it comes to minor keys for the most part... wink

    But out of interest, how would you deal with being faced with say Cm7b5?

    Regarding Nashville numbers, I would expect Cm to be written as 1m, although I’ve VERY rarely had to deal with NN in a written context, it’s pretty much always in an aural capacity. And in those cases the tonality has probably already been defined so the chord are said as usual and anything different would said as such. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • vizviz Frets: 7305
    I wouldn't be able to sightread a Nashville-style chord chart. If the key is Cm, do they write the Cm chord as 1 or 1m? 


    6. 
    "I’m a guitarist, not your research bitch” - Cols
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • sev112sev112 Frets: 1092
    viz said:
    sev112 said:

    What confuses me more is what/why the Dom7 uses the e.g. Bb in CMaj scale.  (To me it’s just a m3 interval above the 5th.) : 

    CMaj (C E G) and Cmin (C Eb G),  
    CMaj7 (C E G B ) and Cmin7 (C Eb G Bb)
    but C7 is (C E G Bb) ?

    apart from the fact that it is nice, why in theory terms does the Dom7 have the Bb ?


    Just answering that point seeing as you ask @sev112 and because the history is interesting and useful. And I'm going to speak from the perspective of a classical musician, just so you get the history of it. Like if you were asking a question about quantum mechanics, I'm just being Newtonian for a minute And I'm putting it all in context of a major diatonic key.

    So, "Dominant" has a specific meaning in classical music; it's the name given to the 5th note (or "degree") of the scale, and similarly it's given as the name of the 5th chord too - "Chord V". Like Tonic is the name of Chord I, Dominant is the name of Chord V.

    But (in a major key), unlike a 7 chord on the Tonic, which as you rightly say is a maj7, the 7th on the V Chord is a minor 7th. We call it a Dominant 7th, but the word Dominant doesn't (originally) refer as much to the 7th interval, as to the chord position. So it doesn't (originally) mean any old lowered 7th, it refers specifically to the 7th on the V chord, which happens to be a minor 7th (but see three paragraphs down).

    To restate, the origin of the phrase "Dominant 7th" isn't rooted in the 7th per se, it's rooted in the fact that Chord V is the Dominant chord.

    Of course, because chord V is the only major diatonic chord to deploy a minor 7th, the term Dominant 7th has become synonymous with the minor 7th interval. So people use it interchangeably with minor 7th, to the annoyance of pedants.

    Now it gets interesting. Because it's often useful to deploy a minor 7th on other major chords besides the V (eg if you want to treat another non-V chord as though it were a V chord - called a secondary dominant - or if you simply want the sound of a minor 7th on any other major chord, like in the blues, where the I, the IV and the V all have a minor 7th), the word "Dominant 7th" has cemented itself in our lingo to apply to those chords too. So now it basically means a chord in any position that happens to have a major 3rd and a minor 7th.

    So, your question: why does the Dom 7 in C major have the Bb, well, a pedant would say:

    "It doesn't. The Dominant in C major is the G chord. If it's played as a G7, then it has a minor 7th, the F, and it's called the Dominant 7th chord (with its dominant 7 interval, G -> F). However if you do want a minor 7th on the C chord, which is a Bb, then you have to call it a minor 7th. Unless the C7 is temporarily acting as a V chord, and resolving to an F chord, which is called a "Secondary Dominant" and does indeed have a dom7. But if it's just a minor 7th on the Tonic chord, then it's a minor 7th not a dom7."

    I hope that has clarified things. I'm sure it's made it worse though, sorry lol. It's hard to write this stuff.
    Bloomin fabulous:) many thanks @viz ;
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • GreatapeGreatape Frets: 486
    edited May 1
    Philtre said:
    Soon we'll get "flatted minor third" for the 2nd note...
    You do see double flats occasionally on written music.

    Plus, see the difference between a diminished 7th chord and a half-diminished 7th...
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 5427
    If you're in a minor scale the 3rd is the 3rd - flattening it makes it a 9 ! IMHO etc
    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • DominicDominic Frets: 8902
    When did this happen ?
    Around the same time that Rubbish became Garbage
    A take-away became Take-out
    Wearing a shirt became 'Rocking' a shirt
    and young couples started 'Packing on the PDA '
    ............and stupid kids started calling the Police 'the Feds '
    Basically an import from that shit hole on the other side of 'The Pond '
    1reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 1403
    I think I first came across it when I had some jazz guitar lessons in my mid 20's which would be circa 1980. Not that I'm a jazz guitarist. I just took a few lessons, after 11 years as a self taught guitarist, because I got stuck trying to work out how players like Larry Carlton could fit in those interesting jazzy lines.

    My jazz teacher would often write out scales and chords in terms of their interval formulas. So I'd guess it came from a 'jazz theory' way of looking at things, as stated by @Brad earlier.

    I don't mind either way of looking at things. But I like to think in terms of intervals when used in the context of scale or chord formulas, so the use of b3 is good for me. 

    For example, I'd write the formula for a harmonic minor scale as:
    1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6,7

    If someone asked what 'C' was in the scale of A harmonic minor, I'd probably say the 3rd. The use of the word 'minor' has already set the context in describing the scale.

    If someone asked what interval 'C' was above a root note A, I might say minor 3rd, or I might say b3. In this case, no context has been specified so I'd default to relating things to major scale intervals.
    It's not a competition.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 2reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • vizviz Frets: 7305
    edited May 4
    I think I first came across it when I had some jazz guitar lessons in my mid 20's which would be circa 1980. Not that I'm a jazz guitarist. I just took a few lessons, after 11 years as a self taught guitarist, because I got stuck trying to work out how players like Larry Carlton could fit in those interesting jazzy lines.

    My jazz teacher would often write out scales and chords in terms of their interval formulas. So I'd guess it came from a 'jazz theory' way of looking at things, as stated by @Brad earlier.

    I don't mind either way of looking at things. But I like to think in terms of intervals when used in the context of scale or chord formulas, so the use of b3 is good for me. 

    For example, I'd write the formula for a harmonic minor scale as:
    1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6,7

    If someone asked what 'C' was in the scale of A harmonic minor, I'd probably say the 3rd. The use of the word 'minor' has already set the context in describing the scale.

    If someone asked what interval 'C' was above a root note A, I might say minor 3rd, or I might say b3. In this case, no context has been specified so I'd default to relating things to major scale intervals.

    I don’t know how I’d write it, but I much prefer referencing minor scales off natual minor, so if I were using numbers at all I’d probably try and write something like “(minor) 123456 #7 8” or 1m 23456#78, or “i iidim III iv V VI viidim 8” or something for harmonic minor. I do know it’s not elegant. Maybe I’d just say “it’s a minor scale with 123456#78”. 

    Because for me the important thing about harmonic minor is that the 7th is raised compared to natural minor, not that the 3 and 6 are lowered compared to major. Ie I want to show it’s a kind of minor scale, not that it’s a kind of major scale.  But I think I am the odd one out on here. Good banter. 
    "I’m a guitarist, not your research bitch” - Cols
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 2450
    viz said:
    <snip>

    Because for me the important thing about harmonic minor is that the 7th is raised compared to natural minor, not that the 3 and 6 are lowered compared to major. Ie I want to show it’s a kind of minor scale, not that it’s a kind of major scale.  But I think I am the odd one out on here. Good banter. 
    No, you're not alone. I'd do the same. I start from the point that some things have major key tonality and some have minor key tonality. It sets everything else up. I accept that there are a whole bunch of talented musicians out there who refer everything back to the major scale intervals, but it loses information (for me) about the music being described. 

    If you know the relative degrees of the two scales (the tone, tone semitone thing) then it's straightforward to say a harmonic minor is the minor scale with the 7th degree sharpened. 

    And then we guitarists start to get into describing chord names by using numbers that relate the notes to the degrees of the major scale. So, even though I think of a minor triad as being the 1st, 3rd and 5th of the minor scale, I'll write it down for someone else as 1, b3, 5. 

    Nurse!  
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 1403
    edited May 4
    viz said:
    <snip>

    Because for me the important thing about harmonic minor is that the 7th is raised compared to natural minor, not that the 3 and 6 are lowered compared to major. Ie I want to show it’s a kind of minor scale, not that it’s a kind of major scale.  But I think I am the odd one out on here. Good banter. 
    No, you're not alone. I'd do the same. I start from the point that some things have major key tonality and some have minor key tonality...


    I think and hear things that way as well. I think of (and hear) the harmonic minor as a natural minor with a raised seventh. It's then a matter of what interval formula do you use to describe the scale or chord?

    I'd write the interval formula for a natural minor (i.e. Aeolian) as:
    1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7

    But I don't hear it as a major scale with those interval modifications. I hear it as a natural minor scale as a starting point. The interval formula is just neat convention to describe it.

    Regarding minor scale intervals, the use of 3rd, minor 3rd or b3 are just different views of the same thing. As as analogy, one might describe a point in 3D space in terms of Cartesian or spherical coordinates. It's the same point in space, just two views of the same thing.

    It's not a competition.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Sign In or Register to comment.