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Dark Eyes and Others

aa New York City✭✭✭✭
edited March 2009 in Technique Posts: 800
Does anyone know if there is a technical or formal name for the progression that moves from a major V chord to a minor I (or vice versa)? It's in almost almost every gypsy tune, and countless other Western and Middle Eastern music.
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  • I don't know the answer but the harmonic minor and melodic minor scale both resolve like : V7-Im/M7 . The natural minor resolves like : Emin7-Im7 . I believe that in natural minor, the V can be subbed by a 7 chord and so with Emin7-Am7 you could play E7-Am7. So, what you are talking about is a chord substitution and therefore there probably isn't really a technical name for it because it is imperfect.

    I never studied music in school though and so I don't really know the answer to your question.
  • aa New York City✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 800
    no, it's not a sub, it's something that's in everything..bach, beethoven, and so many more..
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  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,911
    I think what you're looking for is "perfect cadence" or "authentic cadence". Same idea as the phrase "plagal cadence", which is a IV-I movement, but the V-I is considered the strongest resolution, ergo "perfect".

    It probably sounds cooler if you say it in French or Latin...


    ps: if you're interested, here are some links:
  • Frank WekenmannFrank Wekenmann Germany✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 79
    In a major key you have the guide tone "major seven" , which is also the third of the dominant chord (e.g. scale of c-major C D E F G A B, resulting dominant chord G-major G B D). In natural minor you don't have the guide tone (C D Eb F G Ab Bb), so you also don't have a major chord as Dominant (G Bb D). As the term says the "guide tone" leads to the root of the tonic chord, and thus the resolution V-I is much stronger in major than in minor (no guide tone). To make a stronger resolution in minor you can raise the seventh of the scale to a major seven, thereby achieving a major dominant chord. So for this harmonic reason, the resulting scale is called "harmonic minor". As you said, this is quite common since Bach and it is pretty hard to find a tune with a minor "dominant" chord. I hope this was understandable :D
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    V-i, As Jack said is called a "Perfect cadence". The Major or dominant V is "borrowed" from the ascending melodic minor scale and can also be found in the harmonic minor scale.
    The same name applies to i- V- (i) since the V must resolve to the i.
    V-I is called perfect in both minor and major.
    I believe the Authentic cadence is I- IV- I- V- I, which is a Plagal cadence , I- IV- I and a Perfect cadence, the subdominant IV can also be ii.

    Bach used both forms of the melodic minor scale so both the V and v can be found in his compositions, though I think the V is more common.
  • Frank WekenmannFrank Wekenmann Germany✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 79
    If you think in terms of scales in Gypsy Jazz, the V in minor is borrowed in almost all cases I know from the harmonic minor scale (HM). You get an Vb9/b13 chord, which is exactly the sound in e.g. "Dark Eyes." If you took it from melodic minor (MM), you would get V9/b13, which is a much stranger sound. As I tried to say in my earlier post, HM is only one step away from the "normal" minor sound "natural minor", making it much more accessible for the ear.
    Even in modern Jazz, I don't hear the fifth mode of MM. If a mode of MM is used for the V-chord, it is much more frequently the seventh mode (altered scale).
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    Frank, You're absolutely right about scale usage in Gypsy Jazz, the harmonic minor reigns supreme in minor keys and the Vb9 b13 is far more common in this style.

    However as to the origins of the V in minor keys, I could be wrong but I believe it definitely comes from the Melodic minor as the augmented second contained in the harmonic scale was generally avoided in traditional harmony featuring instead the 6th and 7th grades going up (ascending MM) and the b7th and b6 going down (Descending MM/Aeolian), keep in mind we aren't talking about 9ths and 13ths just the raised seventh of the tonic scale (major third of the V).
    Again for improvising over a V in minor the first scale choice would probably be HM and not MM.

    With that said I personally like the sound of the 9 and the b13 (#5) together which can also be found in the whole tone scale and I hear that sound used in jazz music a lot.
  • Frank WekenmannFrank Wekenmann Germany✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 79
    I may also be wrong, but I remember being told that HM was "first", the reason being that it retains more of the Cliché minor sound. MM is much closer to a major scale (only one note different) and that is why I like to use V9/b13 in major, but never in minor. (By the way, I think that discussing the extensions of a chord are very relevant if you discuss scales).

    I can imagine the following scenario: Somebody wanted to get a major V-harmony in a minor key and raised the seventh step of a Natural Minor scale (which makes the major third in the V-chord) and got HM.
    Then, the resulting minor third between the sixth and seventh step of the HM scale was considered to be awkward melodically and for this melodic reason the sixth step was also augmented, resulting in MM.

  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    Remember that the "original" melodic minor scale has two forms and it contains nine notes in all, even if in the jazz realm only the ascending version is called by the MM name. So it has more potential for harmonic exploitation than any of the other minor scales.
    In fact that's the way I like to think of minor keys, a collection of nine notes instead of separate scales.

    About the origins of that major V in minor:
    It seems there are several theories but then again that's just the academy naming things and trying to explain natural relations of musical notes...

    There's the " I want the V to be major so I'll just raise the seventh degree of my natural minor scale" theory.

    I dug out my old theory books and found out that it is also believed that the V in minor doesn't come from HM but viceversa, it is the chord that gave birth to the scale!
    HM was "created" from the need to match the chord (that was already in use) while retaining the minor sound. In reality it seems HM was adapted from an Arabic maqam.

    There's another theory though, before the classical period, harmony was not yet understood as we do now, chords where formed as a result of the combination of the various melody notes being sounded at the same time.

    It's likely the chord in question was adopted by classical music during the baroque era and most music written at the time of counterpoint used the melodic minor in either or both it's ascending and descending forms and harmonic minor was generally avoided because of that augmented second...(Of course there are exceptions) that would lead one to believe that it was melody (several simultaneous melodies) which gave birth to harmony and that major V in minor was theoretically justified as coming from the ascending MM (since HM was frowned upon). Again no need to think about 9ths and 13ths it's all about that major 3rd (raised 7th), we're not talking about jazz harmony yet.

    Again the academy naming things and trying to explain natural relations of musical notes.

    Nowadays most teachers just say the V chord comes from HM and that's it, it's easier to explain it that way but as you see it's not so simple.

    So, where does the major V in minor keys come from?
    Nobody really knows for sure. It probably has been in use for a long, long time, way before treatises on harmony were written and our "modern" scales were given names.
    It's just more natural to want to hear a dominant chord and that leading note resolving, be it to major or minor.
  • pinkgarypinkgary ✭✭✭
    Posts: 282
    Personally i quite like the V chord to be minor, as well as the I. I use it quite a lot when writing, it sounds twice as maudlin as using a major V chord. So if the chord progressions came before the scales, maybe majorV-minorI came about as a "well we don't want to depress people to much. Just a bit melancholy (mI), but with a lift (MV)" way of thinking.


    Whatever the reason, any V-I combi, is a perfect cadence.
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