Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine in Major Key followed by the same in a minor key.
(Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine in Major Key followed by the same in a minor key.)
We hear nearly all tonal music (particularly Western tonal music) in either a major or minor key. The home base of any key is the tonic triad made up of scale degrees 1, 3, and 5. What makes the key sound major or minor is whether the third scale degree is a major or minor third in relation to the tonic or home pitch or scale degree 1 (also, assuming the 5th is a perfect 5th as it usually is).
All other scale degrees (2, 4, 6, 7) can have various characteristics, either adhering to a diatonic key or to more exotic harmonic structures (in Western terms) and still leave the key with a major or minor feel. In addition to traditional major and minor, such variations could render any of the Seven Diatonic Modes (or Church Modes), harmonic minor, melodic minor, and a vast array of scales found in music traditions around the world which can have a variety of names dependent upon regions, cultures, and genres.
In Western music, particularly jazz, many such examples are organized for practical application into the:
- Seven Modes of Harmonic Minor
- Seven Modes of Melodic Minor
- Seven Modes of Harmonic Major (a major scale with a lowered second scale degree)