In a previous blog I explained Minor Keys, this will be an addendum to that content...
We'll begin by comparing the two scales that the chords of minor (natural minor) and harmonic minor are predicated on: The only difference between the two scales is that the harmonic minor has a natural 7th whereas the natural minor (minor) has a flat 7th. In the Key of Am, the minor scale is all natural notes (A – G) and in the harmonic minor scale, all notes are natural except for the 7th degree which, in this case would be a G# note.
(A harmonic minor scale = A – B – C – D – E – F – G#)
Here are the 7 chords built from the harmonic minor scale in the key of Am:
Even though the only difference between the scales of A minor and A harmonic minor is the G# note in the later, there are three differences in the chords generated by the harmonic minor as compared to the minor. In harmonic minor, you get two diminished chords and one augmented and in diatonic minor keys you get one diminished chord and no augmented chords. Also in harmonic minor, the V chord is major instead of minor which is a stronger cadence back to the tonic.
Best of all, you can mix and match between the chords of minor and harmonic minor, which gives infinitely more options for interesting progressions.
In the next blog I'll give examples of chord progressions using harmonic minor and ones that mix and match with both harmonic and natural minor. And finally I'll also show how to augment your songwriting options with a few tricks using chord borrowing and substitutions.