Minor And Harmonic Minor Chord Progressions

Hello there,can anyone help me out with some simple chord progressions for minor/harmonic minor scales and if u could a simple explanation of the mechanics behind these scales.any help would be much appreciated!

I use this tool now:


I have no idea how it works (Haidong-Hainan matrix method?!) , but damn, it works good!

yes i have this tool and it doesnt seem to work too well for me,for instance it changed a lot of the notes to the exact same chord a bunch of times.it worked quite well on certain notes but on others it just made them all the same chord…im not sure why.

i was using f harmonic minor and i was going from a lead note g# to c and for some reason it just changed them both to g# aug and it sounded terrible,so i went back with suvas scale finder tool and changed the second g# aug (which was the c note originally) and made it c maj,now it sounds really good.So im not sure if that tool is accurate enough for me yet or maybe i am missing something???

The thing that distinguishes Harmonic minor from the natural minor is that it features a raised / major 7th scale tone, adding a bitter-sweet quality to the tonality. To get the feel straight away I find it helps to go for a descending progression, starting on the root note then going down to introduce this raised seventh early on which means by the third part of the progression the mood is distinctly harmonic minor.

Here’s an example of the above in one of my tracks which is predominantly based around A harmonic minor, in the verse riff / bassline:


the link is not working

Sorry about that, should be fixed now.

yes i can see that in the bass,thnks for the reply but this is not really what i was looking for,im ok with the notes of the scale but really im trying to figure out chord progressions for harmonic minor,i love the drop from the tonic to the raised 7th so thats why im trying to figure it out.

Chords are basically constructed from alternate scale tones so a triad would be notes 1(root / tonic), 3, 5 and a seventh chord adds the 7th scale tone on top. If you know the scale tones then you can build the chords / progression yourself. So if you want to go from the tonic to the raised seventh you can just layer the 3 or 4 alternated scale tones appropriately to fill out the chord progression.

I always seem to offend or confuse when I try to offer my thoughts / assistance, but please be assured I am trying to be helpful.

not offended or confused at all,thankfull for the reply if anything.I think what i am trying to uncover is what progressions work for harmonic minor scales. http://www.guitarknowledgenet.com/progression_builder.php for example this site has known progressions that are proven to work in major and minor.I am just wondering if there is any similar formulas for harmonic minors???

I don’t profess to be a music theory authority, but from what I understand the harmonic minor is so called as it is traditionally intended to be used for harmony, i.e. the main melody would be in natural minor or melodic minor while the harmonised part would be shifted accordingly by a specific interval (3rd, 5th, etc) but incorporating the raised seventh to complement the lower register.

There are staple progressions such as I-IV-V which you will hear throughout blues, rock and most other music forms but these are normally based on the usual diatonic / modal intervals, circle of fifths, etc.

I enjoy hearing and learning the moods and contrast that the various scales provide a route-map for but the most exciting territory is generally off the beaten track. So I’d say use the scale tones as a reference point to experiment but certainly don’t worry about set progressions. As I said before, the raised 7th is the key interval so if you use triads or 7th chords based on this and lurk around the root note with your chords, then this should maintain the character of harmonic minor as this is where the main difference to the natural minor can be heard.

thanks thats a big help!

Have a look here and here. The first link is for the chords of harmonic minor and the second one is a link to a guitarists’ forum asking about harmonic minor chord progressions. Hopefully some useful reading for you. Good luck!

In f harmonic minor your chords look like this:

ii dim…G dim
III aug…Ab aug
vii dim…E dim

I wouldn’t hang out on the augmented chord for very long, unless you like that minor/major sound. For the same reason, I wouldn’t use the Fminmaj7 chord, but just stick with the Fm triad. You can always go to the root chord no matter what. In your example you went from G# to C in the lead, then you might try Fm, C7 which you used, or possibly DbM7, which would give you a jazzy sound lol.

But really you can use any chord you think sounds good. That’s what it’s all about anyway.

That’s not true. Leading tone is sharp to make fifth chord a major, to enable its dominant function. It could sound pretty bad to use harmonic and natural or melodic together, but that is a composer to decide.

I think there is no rule there, as long as it sounds good. Generally, if you can avoid notes in melody that conflict with current chord, you will be fine. For example if you are at dominant chord C in your Fm song part, you should not use Db (sry) Eb, D# in renoise, from natural scale in your melody, because it is in dissonance with E in the chord. Unless you decide to break the habit of course, but that is contextual.

i’m short in time, but from what i understand about music theory, and that’s very little, the VII is only raised when it leads
to the tonic (I), so i’d suggest that the drop from the tonic to the dominant might be the problem … but on the other hand
this suggestion might also be a load of bs … ( also wasn’t there something about the harmonic minor scale that it changes back to
natural minor when it descents ?) …

anyway … good luck

That’s not exactly correct. Harmonic minor has always sharp 7th, where melodic minor has sharp 6th and 7th in upwards movement and is natural when going down. The point of sharpening the 7th in harmonic minor is in harmonics, not in melody. It was thought that major fifth chord has more power than minor, so dominant V was defined a major chord. To achieve that 7th has to be sharp in minor scales. That’s what was taught to me at conversatory.

Don’t really know if different musical styles have different practises, it might be that some musicians use harmonic scale only when discharging V or VII into tonic. In the end all that matters is that it works.

When you play c after g# in G# aug chord Progressor thinks you are up to do a arpeggio on voices of G# aug chord, that’s why it doesn’t change chord, even if it sound dissonant. C is one of voices of G# aug chord, that’s why Progressor doesn’t change chord. It would change G# aug chord to consonant chord when you played for example f, that gives you nice f minor or c#, that gives you C# major. Progressor is making progressions automatically, it can’t predict your intentions, that’s why it somtimes sounds good, sometimes bad.

New version of Progressor is available with ‘NoArp’ feature, that is improved behaviour on dissonant chords. It solves described problem.

One way to make chord progressions is thinking it in following dimensions:

Perceived pitch of the chord is somewhat in the middle of ground note and highest note in the chord. So to make a movement, find the note that you are aiming at and then find the notes up- and downward that are at equal intervals from the tonal center.

The interval range from tonal center determines width of the chord. By varying the width of the chord will affect the nature of the chord, and thus affects the feel of progression. Highest note and key note has a great deal of importance for the sense of movement.

The middle notes make the color of the chord, and can be used to lead listeners expectations of chord progression. They also play important role in modulations and harmonic progression in general.

Function of the chord can determine where to start building one. By choosing one or two of above mentioned points as building ground may help choosing where to go next.

My 5 cents.


Tonality is the character of music written with hierarchical relationships of pitches, rhythms, and chords to a “center” or tonic. Tonic is sometimes used interchangeably with key. The term tonalité was borrowed from Castil-Blaze (1821, François Henri Joseph Blaze) by Joseph Fétis in 1840 (Reti, 1958; Judd, 1998; Dahlhaus).

SOooo, the tonal center of the chord 'C major = C E G is E?!?!

The tonal center is the tonic note, not somewhere in the middle…