Harmonized harmonic minor scale

Harmonization of the Harmonic Minor Scale - Guitar Shapes & Theory

This lesson dedicated to the harmonic minor scale explains how to build drop 2 and drop 3 seventh chords from it. This action which consists in stacking notes in interval of thirds starting on each tone of a scale is commonly called "harmonization".

What is The Harmonic Minor Scale?

The harmonic minor scale is built with Root (1), second (2), minor third (b3), perfect fourth (4), perfect fifth (5), minor sixth (b6) and major seventh (7). It can be interesting to compare it with the melodic minor scale and the Aeolian mode indeed, they have many commonalities.

Let's start with the Aeolian mode. This is the sixth mode of the major scale, you will see that it is very similar to the harmonic minor scale. The only one difference is the seventh that is minor in the Aeolian mode instead of being major in the harmonic minor mode.

Aeolian mode 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
Harmonic minor scale 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7

 

The melodic minor scale  is also very similar to the harmonic mode but it has major sixth (6) instead of a minor sixth (b6) as shown in the chart below.

Melodic minor scale 1 2 b3 4 5 6 7
Harmonic minor scale 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7

 

The harmonic minor scale interval pattern is W - H - W - W - H - W+H - W (W for whole step, H for half-step).
 

Chords of The Harmonic Minor Scale

When stacking thirds on each note of the harmonic minor scale we get seven different tetrad chords that are:

  • minMaj7 (1 - b3 - 5 - 7)
  • m7b5 aka half-diminished (1 - b3 - b5 - b7)
  • Maj7#5 (1 - 3 - #5 - 7)
  • min7 (1 - b3 - 5 - b7)
  • 7 (1 - 3 - 5 - b7)
  • Maj7 (1 - 3 - 5 - 7)
  • dim7 (1 - b3 - b5 - bb7)

Degrees

I II III IV V VI VII
C Harmonic Minor Scale C D Eb F G Ab B
Seventh Chords CminMaj7 Dm7b5 EbMaj7#5 Fmin7 G7 AbMaj7 Bdim7

 

Harmonic Minor Chord Shapes

The guitar neck diagrams below show the seven chords of the harmonic minor scale previously seen. They allow to understand how they are organized against to each other. For this, a color code has been employed for each chord shape:

  • Green Shape : minMaj7
  • Brown Shape : m7b5
  • Blue Shape : Maj7#5
  • Red Shape : min7
  • Grey Shape : dom7 
  • Orange Shape : Maj7
  • Purple Shape : dim7

The first three diagrams represent the drop 2 chord voicing shapes from the harmonic minor scale.

Green Shape (degree I) minMaj7 1 5 7 b
Brown Shape (degree II) m7b5 1 b5 b7 b3
Blue Shape (degree III) Maj7#5 1 #5 7 3
Red Shape (degree IV) min7 1 5 b7 b3
Grey Shape (degree V) Dom7 1 5 b7 3
Orange Shape (degree VI) Maj7 1 5 7 3
Purple Shape (degree VII) dim7 1 b5 bb7 b3

Now let's see the drop 3 chord voicing shapes of the harmonic minor scale.

Green Form (degree I) minMaj7 1 7 b3 5
Brown Form (degree II) m7b5 1 b7 bb5
Blue Form (degree III) Maj7#5 1 7 3 #5
Red Form (degree IV) min7 1 b7 b3 5
Grey Form (degree V) Dom7 b7 3 5
Orange Form (degree VI) Maj7 1 7 3 5
Purple Form (degree VII) dim7 bb7 bb5
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Comments

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