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Discussion Starter #1
The other day we were working on a Duke Ellington's "Caravan" and the piano player tells me to use a F Harmonic minor scale over the C7 chord.

So to put that together in my mind I start the F harmonic minor scale on C and I get:

C Db E F G Ab Bb C (like a c phrygian scale with a major 3rd)

Question: Is there a name to this particular scale? sounds like da cool, but my guess is that someone has done this before and named it.

Any help appreciated. :confused:
 

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I simply call it "5th mode harmonic minor". It's also been called "Altered Phrygian", "Phrygian Dominant", "Freygish", the "Jewish" scale, the "Spanish Gypsy" scale, "Dominant w/b6 an b2".

There's not really a standard way of saying it which is why I opt for a more descriptive name. Though "Jewish" and "Spanish Gypsy" tend to get used with certain types of music (Klesmer, Middle Eastern music).
 

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If it's used as in this case with a V7 chord, then I would just call it what it is, an F harmonic minor. The key centre is F minor so you are just using the scale from that as usual.

Just be careful with the the F, no problem as a passing note or suspension.
 

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I've always wondered why they don't use the mode titles to name modes of the harmonic and melodic minor scales? If they did this could the the harmonic mixolydian scale. The altered scale would be the melodic locrian scale. It seems like that would be a cool way to keep track of those modes...........


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If they did this could the the harmonic mixolydian scale. The altered scale would be the melodic locrian scale. It seems like that would be a cool way to keep track of those modes...........
Now that really does hurt my brian.
 

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Tell me if I'm wrong . . . I don't know about harmonic mixolydian and all that - WAY over my head - but I did sit down at my piano and play a C7 in the left hand and an F-minor arpeggio in the right hand. No can handle with my ears - that is about as dissonant as I've heard. DAVE
 

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If you're talking about the vamp of Db7 C7 and you're in the key of F minor, yes the F harmonic minor works. F-G-Ab-Bb-C-Db-E-F. Don't try to get through the whole scale. Riff off particular pieces of it and work in some chord tones.

Then when it goes to tonic, go to F Dorian (D natural)! <--- That's what's up!
 

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Tell me if I'm wrong . . . I don't know about harmonic mixolydian and all that - WAY over my head - but I did sit down at my piano and play a C7 in the left hand and an F-minor arpeggio in the right hand. No can handle with my ears - that is about as dissonant as I've heard. DAVE
Yes, it would be dissonant. But we are talking about the scale, and provided the notes are placed sensitively then it works fine.

Think of the chord tones of C7: C E G Bb. If you play the F min harmonic scale ascending from the C in 1/8 notes. Dissonant notes (such as the F) fall between the beats as a passing note:

C Db E F G Ab Bb C

Try ascending from E of the C7 and resolve to the root of F minor.

E F G Ab Bb C Db E | F

Try playing it Descending from the Bb of a C7 and resolve to Ab of Fm:

Bb Ab G F E Db C Bb | Ab F

Note how nicely it resolves to Ab and F of F minor.

You should be able to hear from either of those examples that the scale can be very consonant, it's about note choice, as with all impro, not just slamming a scale against a chord.

To make it fit the chord tones more easily you can add an extra passing note between the C and Bb. That way, whatever chord tone you start on you will get the chord tones on the on beat when playing a line of 1/8 notes.

In the above ascending example, by adding the extra passing note it can resolve to the C of an Fm:

C Db E F G Ab Bb B | C

(see bebop scales )
 

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I think the scale in question, in this context, IS the F harmonic minor, even if you start it on C. When playing that scale over the C7 chord, I would assume it's part of a C7 - Fmi cadence. Is that right? And you could also play F harmonic minor scale (or I should say, the notes for F harmonic minor) over the iim7b5 - V7 - i progression. In Fmi that would be Gmi7b5 / C7 / Fmi.

You can also work with the chord tones and extensions, so in this case the C7 could be:
C E G Bb Db F Ab. Pretty dissonant, depending on how you play those notes as Pete points out in the previous post.
 

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If you're talking about the vamp of Db7 C7 and you're in the key of F minor, yes the F harmonic minor works. F-G-Ab-Bb-C-Db-E-F. Don't try to get through the whole scale. Riff off particular pieces of it and work in some chord tones.

Then when it goes to tonic, go to F Dorian (D natural)! <--- That's what's up!
The Pre-Dominant chord can be Db7 or E dim, depending on whatever chart you're looking at, but the premise is the same - F Harmonic minor with some choice chord tones thrown in. FWIW, I have played this tune with several different bands over the years and it doesn't matter much which chords are in use, they all function similarly and F harmonic minor works over it.
 

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If you Listen to a lot of bebop you will hear this scale all the time.

Check out Dexter, Stitt, or Mobley playing the blues. Bar 8 going into bar 9 all these guys use harmonic minor a lot.
 

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I found this about Caravan:

"As with many of Duke Ellington’s compositions the idea originated with one of his musicians. In the case of “Caravan” it was trombonist Juan Tizol. Ellington is quoted in Stuart Nicholson’s Reminiscing in Tempo: A Portrait of Duke Ellington as saying “... that’s one of those things Tizol came up with. See, it wasn’t in tempo, he stood [and played it] sort of ad lib. He played it, [the] first ten bars, we took it and worked out the rest of it.”

http://www.jazzstandards.com/compositions-0/caravan.htm
 

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In German speaking countries, many people call this scale "HM5", meaning the 5th mode of the Harmonic Minor Scale.
 

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I think the scale in question, in this context, IS the F harmonic minor, even if you start it on C.
I agree, that's all it is to me, nothing more, nothing less than a minor scale based on the root of the key centre (ie the tonic). As you say, starting on C seems irrelevant. Just because you have a C7 chord doesn't mean you "start" on the C. Of course you can start on that note (and absolute beginners may find that a good exercise), but by thinking you start a scale passage on the root (ie as with thinking in "modes") then you severely restrict your creative thoughts. Well, that's the way it works for me anyway.
 

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You could also think of it as the chord tones to the vamp i.e C7 CEGBb and Db - Db F Ab . hey presto , the same scale . Or maybe a triad pair ( C and Db ) for a different angle on it .
 

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You could also think of it as the chord tones to the vamp i.e C7 CEGBb and Db - Db F Ab . hey presto , the same scale . Or maybe a triad pair ( C and Db ) for a different angle on it .
That sure makes sense to me. I realize that in this tune we're not talking about a minor ii-V-i or V-i cadence, but a similar principle applies if you want to use a scalar approach. Harmonic minor based on the tonic, in this case.

By the way, this is one the the truly great tunes!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for all the thoughts. I specially like the ideas of Pete Thomas and Dave Wright of both using passing tones to complete the scale and combining the C7 and Db7 chords to get a usable scale.
 
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