Harmony/Basic Materials/Four Strong Modes/Diatonic Minor


2. The diatonic minor mode

The diatonic MINOR
     a sharpening, ascending mode
This mode is an exact inversion of the major mode
     with the exception of the fundamental bass,
          (which still uses the root of each chord).

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

(See Harmony-Basic Materials)

This mode consists of -

A - A nucleus (at the top of the Window)
          composed of 3 minor chords, Em, Am, Dm.
     The progressions in this nucleus are bidirectional -
          the TONIC Am progressing
               down to the DOMINANT Dm, and
               up to the COUNTER-DOMINANT Em.
     There is only 1 powerful Dominant-shape chord Dm6 - IV6.
          The other chords are all weak.

B - A tail (at the bottom of the Window)
          composed of 3 major chords, F, C, G.
     The progressions in this tail are unidirectional,
          all sharpening, upward.

The modes (TONIC chords) are colored major and minor.
     The arrow of each chord is colored weak or strong.

A - In the nucleus
The "IV" DOMINANT chord, Dm6, resolves up to the "I" TONIC chord, Am.

The flattening, descending TONIC chord, Am7, resolves back down to the DOMINANT, Dm.

The "V" COUNTER chord Em7, resolves down to the TONIC chord, Am.

The sharpening, ascending TONIC, Am-6 (F+7/A), resolves back up to the COUNTER, Em.

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

Notice that the DOMINANT chord is now "IV"
and that the COUNTER-DOMINANT chord is now "V",
which is the reason we use the term COUNTER-DOMINANT,
Sub-dominant meaning "below the DOMINANT".

B - In the tail
F6 resolves up to
C6 which resolves up to
G6 which resolves up to the DOMINANT Dm6,
     which in turn resolves up to the TONIC chord, Am.

These ANTECEDENTS to the DOMINANT will also have the names -
     "VI" - the ANTE-3, F6;
     “III" - the ANTE-2, C6;
     "VII" - the ANTE-1, G6.

Were we to continue indefinitely in the same direction,
     we would come back to our original chord
          and have produced what we call a sharpening, ascending "circle".

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 4 chords,
          which brings us from C major (either mode 1 or mode 4) to A minor.
Traveling back and forth in this manner between the two diatonic modes,
     gives us a kind of “enlarged” swing which covers four chords rather than two -
          C6 - G6 - Dm6 - Am7 - Dm7 - G7 - C6 - G6 - Dm6 - Am7 - Dm7 - G7 - C

This mode was once used more than it is today,
especially in old folkloric music.
For the last 3 centuries, it has almost disappeared.

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

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