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Halo theme and question about the Melodic Minor

MarcHedenberg

Active Member
This is going to sound really stupid, but here goes.

I was at the gym and the Halo theme came on, and I got confused. Best as I can tell, it's in E minor, but the melody clearly plays a C# instead of the natural C you'd normally hear on the 6th note in the E minor scale. Is that because the melodic minor is being used independently for the melody?

In other words, can you build a song with chords in the natural minor and then superimpose a melody that borrows the augmented 6th and 7th notes from the melodic minor?

Hope that made sense...
 

Mihkel Zilmer

Senior Member
Haven't heard the Halo theme in a while, but if I remember correctly it's using E dorian rather than E minor. So there's your raised 6th.

But aside from that, if you know how, you can introduce any note or any chord from any scale. The skill is knowing how to pull it off convincingly.
 
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MarcHedenberg

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Haven't heard the Halo theme in a while, but if I remember correctly it's using E dorian rather than E minor. So there's your raised 6th.

But aside from that, if you know how, you can introduce any note or any chord from any scale. The skill is knowing how to pull it off convincingly.

Ugh, that makes so much sense now. It has to be E Dorian, yes! Thank you!
 

anjwilson

Member
The names harmonic minor and melodic minor tell you how they were typically used in the European common practice style (roughly 1680-1890). When it was used, raised 6 (C# in this case) was typically a passing tone between 5 and 7 (B and D# here) over a B major chord or one of two passing tones between B and E over an E minor chord.
 
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MarcHedenberg

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The names harmonic minor and melodic minor tell you how they were typically used in the European common practice style (roughly 1680-1890). When it was used, raised 6 (C# in this case) was typically a passing tone between 5 and 7 (B and D# here) over a B major chord or one of two passing tones between B and E over an E minor chord.

So in other words, they weren't really used to write entire songs around harmonic minor/melodic minor scale? I know more jazzy music does that.
 

Consona

Senior Member
Hope my answer did not sound too pretentious :laugh: but what I tried to say is, use music theory as a tool, not as the rules. Way too many times I see youtube videos analyzing Williams and those guys try to find reasons and apologizes for his use of parallel fifths and other things that are "forbidden". Seems they are used to compose music by the rules some school imposted upon them. But I'd say that's not how Williams composes. He uses what sounds good to him and works in the context. And some of the time, what feels good when playing the piano.

It's good trying to understand a piece of music. But sometimes, there are so rules used to make that music.
 
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MarcHedenberg

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Hope my answer did not sound too pretentious :laugh: but what I tried to say is, use music theory as a tool, not as the rules. Way too many times I see youtube videos analyzing Williams and those guys try to find reasons and apologizes for his use of parallel fifths and other things that are "forbidden". Seems they are used to compose music by the rules some school imposted upon them. But I'd say that's not how Williams composes. He uses what sounds good to him and works in the context. And some of the time, what feels good when playing the piano.

It's good trying to understand a piece of music. But sometimes, there are so rules used to make that music.

oh that’s fine. I was asking because I’m trying to understand the functions of these concepts so I can experiment with styles of music I haven’t tried before. It came from a realisation that I write very similarly from track to track.
 

Consona

Senior Member
oh that’s fine. I was asking because I’m trying to understand the functions of these concepts so I can experiment with styles of music I haven’t tried before. It came from a realisation that I write very similarly from track to track.
That's actually a really good reason to analyse music, yea. Sometimes it's good to try to make an impression of some composer. Like trying to sound like Williams' Star Wars, or Horner's Star Trek, or Goldsmith's Star Trek or Planet of the Apes, you find some harmonic ideas and whatnot you didn't know before, so then your music has some new flavours.
 
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