Harmony/Basic Materials/Four Strong Modes/Chromatic Minor


4. The chromatic minor mode

The chromatic MINOR
          a flattening, descending mode
     It is the inverse of the nucleus of the Diatonic Minor Mode (mode 2),
          or possibly an exact inversion of the Chromatic Major mode (mode 3).
     It is 2 generations away from the Diatonic Major Mode (mode 1)
          and has no valid parallel link to it.

We will remain in the diatonic system of natural notes
which includes the keys of C major and A minor.

This mode consists of -

A - A nucleus (at the top of the Window)
     composed of 2 minor chords, Am, Dm,
     and 1 major chord, E,
          giving this mode a minor-major "mix"
               (imposing chromaticism).
The progressions in this nucleus are bidirectional -
     the TONIC Am progressing
          up to the DOMINANT E, and
          down to the COUNTER-DOMINANT Dm.
There are here 3 powerful Dominant-shape chords -
     V7- E7, I6 - Am6, and IV6 - Dm6.
The DOMINANT E7 resolves in the opposite direction
     to the other two powerful chords.

     Since the direction of the mode is essentially flattening (descending),
          as we pass through the major chords in the bottom of the window,
          we automatically modulate into the relative major mode, (mode 1)
               in this case in the key of C, with its DOMINANT G7.
     Moreover, the DOMINANT chord, E7, is at the very top of the Window,
          placing the ANTE-1 chord
               (as well as the other ANTES, if there are any)
          outside of the Window, in no position to act as a real tail
               leading into the DOMINANT chord.
     For all intents and purposes, music in this mode is mostly restricted
          to the three chords of the nucleus.

A - In the nucleus
The chromatic "V" flattening, descending DOMINANT chord, E7,
     resolves down to the "I" TONIC chord, Am.

The chromatic "I" sharpening, ascending TONIC chord, Am6,
     resolves back up to the DOMINANT chord, E.

This swing between 2 Dominant-shape chords is the essence of Free Harmony.
     It is also the pivot of Adjacent Chromatic Modes.

The diatonic "IV" sharpening, ascending COUNTER-DOMINANT chord Dm6,
     resolves up to the TONIC chord, Am.

The diatonic "I" flattening, descending TONIC chord, Am7,
     resolves back down to the COUNTER-DOMINANT chord, Dm.

The same kind of "Swings" we had in the chromatic major mode.

Notice that the first swing has the chromatic notes F# and G#
while the second has the diatonic notes G and F.

B - Even if this mode does not have a tail,
it is possible to make a circle which "passes through" the major mode.

Traveling between modes
How does one “travel” to this mode from the other (major) modes?
     By following the normal trajectory of its circle, the last 5 chords,
          which brings us from C major (either mode 1 or mode 3) to A minor.
Note that the first 4 chords of the circle traveled from A minor to C major
     along the path we saw in mode 1 (the last 4 chords of its circle),
          as we would expect, both modes being in the same direction, flattening (descending).

Strong DOMINANT-type chords
Contrary to the diatonic modes (both the major and the minor)
          which have only one strong DOMINANT-type chord,
     this chromatic mode has 3 strong chords in its nucleus:
          (1) the new official DOMINANT chord ("V" - E7)
               which has been chromaticized
                    to impose the flattening, descending direction of the mode;
          (2) the old diatonic DOMINANT ("IV" - Dm6 - see mode 2)
               which has lost none of its strength; despite its new role as COUNTER,
          (3) the sharpening, ascending TONIC chord ("I" - Am6)
               which has also been chromaticized
                    to make it compatible with the new chromatic DOMINANT.
Of the 4 nucleus chords, only the flattening, descending TONIC ("I" - Am7) is still weak.

All strong DOMINANT-type chords
Were it to be dominantized as well, we would end up with nothing but strong chords.

Those on a Guided tour should click on next in the Navigation Bar below.

A considerable amount of new material
     has been added to this Chromatic Minor Mode,
          which can be found at the end of the Modes Preface.

Those browsing might wish to see -
The Adjacent Chromatic Modes
The Diatonic Major Mode
The Diatonic Minor Mode
The Chromatic Major Mode