#1
Has anyone ever heard of the Melodic minor scale differing from ascending to descending?

In the Melodic Minor Scale
Ascending: 1,2,b3,4,5,6,7
Descending: 1,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7

why is there a difference? might I add that the descending scale is the same as the aelion scale(from a major scale). Could it simply just be the name and that's the way it is? I find the descending and ascending scales under the "Guitar Scales" tab on all-guitar-chords.com if you need further incite.

thanks for your help

-alex
A-mart
#2
it's this way because back in the day, most composers thought it sounded better with a major sixth going up, and a minor sixth going down. the idea behind the melodic minor scale is that it is very melodic, and so they studied it's use right down to it's effects going ascending or descending, and they felt it should be that way.

"modern" music theory usually just gives it a major sixth and that's all. neither way is really wrong.
#3
FL

Melodic Minor Scale Question
Has anyone ever heard of the Melodic minor scale differing from ascending to descending?
yes i have .

In the Melodic Minor Scale
Ascending: 1,2,b3,4,5,6,7
Descending: 1,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7

why is there a difference?
the reason i have been lead to believe is the relationship on the 7th is that it wants to rise up to the octave where as the minor 6th wants to fall to the 5th .

might I add that the descending scale is the same as the aelion scale(from a major scale). Could it simply just be the name and that's the way it is?
yes and no ,
yes in that the harmonic structure is the same,
no in that modes were used a lot in early classical music and i believe at around the baroque period the melodic minor was introduced (maybe also to do with choirs finding it easier to sing ? )
so music written with the melodic minor would have different stylistic character to that of the music written in the aeolian mode
(i think !! )
I find the descending and ascending scales under the "Guitar Scales" tab on all-guitar-chords.com if you need further incite.

thanks for your help

-alex
#4
It's history comes from choral music, you don't see it very often in pop music. Jazz music uses it in some respects. It was originally made to avoid clashing notes when two voices were moving in different directions. It gave composers more options. I could search for a website but i cannae be bothered.
#5
I just posted something about melodic minor in a harmonic minor thread after you.

I don't really know why that is, my teacher told me it was used for singers because the minor third interval was too high to sing or something, I wasn't really listening, and I know I can sing a minor third interval.

She probably meant for opera and classical music melodies, which are relatively more complex and faster than popular music melodies, hence the name melodic minor because it's easier to make a melody out of it.

Don't take my word for gospel though, this is pure speculation.
#6
it all has to do with the circle of fifths and classical chord progressions... the raised 6th and 7th in the ascending scale allowed for better completion when using those chord progressions.
Quote by StillSoundRG
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#7
Raised 6th and 7th allow for the iv and v chords to be IV and V. This gives better pull towards the i tonic chord. The raised 6th also eliminates the augmented second found between the 6th and 7th of the harmonic minor scale
#8
I'll quote Sue:

Quote by bangoodcharlote
Back in the day, the had the Natural Minor scale. They decided that they wanted a note a half-step lower than the root, so they raised the b7 of the Natural Minor scale to 7 and got harmonic minor. However, harmonic minor has an awkward interval between b6 and 7, so they raised b6 to 6 and got melodic minor. The reason it is played as natural minor descending is because the b6 pulls towards the 5. The 7th is lowered to get rid of that awkward interval.
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#9
The natural minor scale originates from (dare I say it) the Aeolian Mode.

It has the same step pattern as the major scale starting on the sixth degree. Hence you get the "natural" minor scale as 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

Now this posed problems when composing in a minor tonality because it was lacking the strong V-I resolution because the V chord no longer contained the leading tone as it did in the Major Scale.

The V chord in the major scale is a major chord and the third in that V chord is the Maj7 or leading tone in the scale. This is a half step below the root and resolves strongly to the root of the tonic chord.

Composers found that in a minor scale the natural v-i just wasn't as strong so they decided to restore the min7th to it's major quality for harmonic purposes. Thus they were able to write in a minor tonality but would use the major V chord to lead back to the i tonic. This provided them with the strong resolution they were looking while retaining the overall the minor quality of the piece. (A kind of best of both worlds deal).

The Harmonic Minor was doing great they found the leading tone also served well when ascending melodically because the leading tone sets up a return to the tonic so nicely. However they then had problems with the three semitone distance between the min6 and maj7 degrees in the harmonic minor. This distance was jarring to the ear especially since it was preceded and followed by a semitone movement between the 5 - b6 and the 7 - 8. It just sounded too rough.

The solution was simply to restore the min 6th to a maj 6th as well. With both the maj 6th and maj7th restored they were able to ascend the minor scale in a way that was smooth and pleasing while retaining the strong pull of the leading tone into the root and keep the minor sonority of the b3.

The leading tone was really only required when moving toward the root because of it's strong pull into it. They found when they were descending away from the root the minor seventh posed no problems whatsoever. When moving away they didn't need the strong pull of the leading tone toward the tonic. Without the requirement for the leading tone pull there is no reason to use it since it is an alteration to the natural scale in order to achieve that specific effect.

So it was that descending one would simply remain true to the natural minor scale and only when ascending did one alter it to the melodic minor to achieve a smooth run into the tonic while using that strong leading tone.

That's pretty much it. Harmonic Minor and Melodic Minor are alterations made to the Natural Minor Scale. The rule was use the natural minor whenever possible but when we need a certain effect (namely the leading tone) we alter the scale when necessary.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Nov 27, 2008,
#10
I use melodic minor all the time and never use the ascending-descending rule. Its a great sounding scale with some very interesting chords and has been used in jazz for years(without the ascending-descending rule). It is probably my favourite scale(and its modes). Sounds really different.
Andy
#11
As I understand it.

Harmonic Minor: 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7

A Aeolian Scale with a raised 7th (with the leading tone restored).

It also restores the V - i resolution (which is a strong resolution) as opposed to v - i which you would get using the straight Aeolian.

So it restores the (dominant) V - i resolution.

But the Augmented 2nd Interval in the Harmonic Minor, was considered melodically dissonant.

A B C D E F G# A

So it was removed, by raising the 6th and 7th on the ascending form, and flattening the 6th and 7th in the descending form.

EDIT: 20Tigers explains it far better...
#12
Quote by 20Tigers
The natural minor scale originates from (dare I say it) the Aeolian Mode.

It has the same step pattern as the major scale starting on the sixth degree. Hence you get the "natural" minor scale as 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

Now this posed problems when composing in a minor tonality because it was lacking the strong V-I resolution because the V chord no longer contained the leading tone as it did in the Major Scale.

The V chord in the major scale is a major chord and the third in that V chord is the Maj7 or leading tone in the scale. This is a half step below the root and resolves strongly to the root of the tonic chord.

Composers found that in a minor scale the natural v-i just wasn't as strong so they decided to restore the min7th to it's major quality for harmonic purposes. Thus they were able to write in a minor tonality but would use the major V chord to lead back to the i tonic. This provided them with the strong resolution they were looking while retaining the overall the minor quality of the piece. (A kind of best of both worlds deal).

The Harmonic Minor was doing great they found the leading tone also served well when ascending melodically because the leading tone sets up a return to the tonic so nicely. However they then had problems with the three semitone distance between the min6 and maj7 degrees in the harmonic minor. This distance was jarring to the ear especially since it was preceded and followed by a semitone movement between the 5 - b6 and the 7 - 8. It just sounded too rough.

The solution was simply to restore the min 6th to a maj 6th as well. With both the maj 6th and maj7th restored they were able to ascend the minor scale in a way that was smooth and pleasing while retaining the strong pull of the leading tone into the root and keep the minor sonority of the b3.

The leading tone was really only required when moving toward the root because of it's strong pull into it. They found when they were descending away from the root the minor seventh posed no problems whatsoever. When moving away they didn't need the strong pull of the leading tone toward the tonic. Without the requirement for the leading tone pull there is no reason to use it since it is an alteration to the natural scale in order to achieve that specific effect.

So it was that descending one would simply remain true to the natural minor scale and only when ascending did one alter it to the melodic minor to achieve a smooth run into the tonic while using that strong leading tone.

That's pretty much it. Harmonic Minor and Melodic Minor are alterations made to the Natural Minor Scale. The rule was use the natural minor whenever possible but when we need a certain effect (namely the leading tone) we alter the scale when necessary.
This. But in defence of classical composers, they mostly avoided augmented melodic intervals (augmented second, augmented fourth, augmented sixth and so on) because it was hard to sing. You can hear alot of augmented intervals in romantic music and some classical and (rare) baroque music.
#13
The easiest way to think of melodic minor is not as a 'minor scale with raised 6th and 7th'. Far more easy is to just think about it as 'major scale with lowered 3rd'.
#14
Quote by Rasputin92
The easiest way to think of melodic minor is not as a 'minor scale with raised 6th and 7th'. Far more easy is to just think about it as 'major scale with lowered 3rd'.


But that's not what it is. It's not even an altered minor scale. Melodic minor is a convention within minor tonality in which the sixth and seventh degree of the scale are altered depending on the melodic context and underlying harmony in order to create a smooth motion towards the tonic or dominant. It's not really a scale at all.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#15
thanks for your help guys. if you want to keep on discussing be my guest. this is good information you're giving me.
A-mart
#16
Archeo Avis: Not to pick bones, (as I'll undoubtably end up wrong) its not really a scale at all. This may be true in a classical sense, but in a modern/jazz sense, melodic minor harmony is probably one of the most frequently used, because it contains no aviod notes.

Melodic Minor is often frequently used over Tonic Minor chords, and Alt. (Super-Locrian) is often used over V7alt chords.
#17
Quote by Galvanise69
Archeo Avis: Not to pick bones, (as I'll undoubtably end up wrong) its not really a scale at all. This may be true in a classical sense, but in a modern/jazz sense, melodic minor harmony is probably one of the most frequently used, because it contains no aviod notes.

Melodic Minor is often frequently used over Tonic Minor chords, and Alt. (Super-Locrian) is often used over V7alt chords.


This is very true. Jazz and metal very often treat melodic and harmonic minor (respectively) as scales rather than conventions.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.