The Harmonic Minor Scale
The Harmonic Minor scale is an essential scale to learn on guitar. Rock, Blues, and Metal guitar players should learn the Harmonic Minor Scale immediately after mastering the Blues Scale , the Diatonic Modes, and the Pentatonic Major Scale.
Harmonic Minor "Fixes" Natural Minor
Harmonic Minor is the Natural Minor Scale with a raised seventh scale degree (i.e. The Natural Minor has a flatted seventh scale degree, but the Harmonic Minor has a Natural Seventh Scale Degree like the Major Scale). See:
The point of this modification to the Natural Minor scale is to make the fifth chord of the key a Dominant 7th chord, which we would write out using the Roman Numeral System as V7. Natural Minors fifth chord is usually a minor or minor 7th (V-7). If you don't know what chords go where in Natural Minor (when a scale is played with chords on each note, its called a harmonized scale), see
- A Minor Guitar Chords Sixth String Root Chord Chart
- A Minor Guitar Chords Open Position Chord Chart
- E Minor Guitar Chord Chart- Open Position
The tense sound of the dominant 7th chord formed by the Harmonic Minor scale creates a stronger sense of resolution to the root or one chord (I- or I-7).
Harmonic Minor Mode V7
Changing the chord built on a note in a scale also changes the mode built on it. Consequently the fifth mode of the Natural Minor scale(i.e. the Spanish Minor scale) becomes dominant in the Harmonic Minor scale, becoming the Spanish Dominant Scale or Mode. (The name is often shortened to just “Spanish” and it’s also commonly known as the Jewish Scale. It’s also called Phrygian Dominant by Monks or people trying to sound smart.) See:
- Spanish Minor Guitar Scale
- Spanish Dominant Scale