#1
So ive been trying to teach myself theory...again.....and I decided to start with scales and the notes before i go on to anything else I've got the basic natural minor scales worked out pretty well and the harmonic minor as well. I'm working off the key of "G#" since im dropped tuned on a 7 i figure ill apply what i learn as i go but Im struggling with the Melodic minor however, ive been finding alot of contradicting information on it.

Is it simply a major scale going down with a flattened 3rd and then a natural minor coming back up?

PS i already did a search and did not get the ansewers i was looking for . Pretty much just need a quick yes or no on this one.
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#2
Yes, it's technically the same as major scale with a flat third but I would rather call it minor scale with raised 6th and 7th (because it is a minor, not a major scale). It is used to avoid the augmented 2nd between the minor 6th and major 7th in harmonic minor scale - your melody may sound "smoother" if you also use the raised 6th. And yeah, it is usually used when your melody goes up. But I wouldn't look at the different minor scales as separate scales really. They are all variations of the minor scale and it depends on the context whether you should use the natural, harmonic or melodic minor. Just use your ears. Both melodic and harmonic minor work over the V7 chord in minor.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Aug 11, 2014,
#3
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Yes, it's technically the same as major scale with a flat third but I would rather call it minor scale with raised 6th and 7th (because it is a minor, not a major scale). It is used to avoid the augmented 2nd between the minor 6th and major 7th in harmonic minor scale - your melody may sound "smoother" if you also use the raised 6th. And yeah, it is usually used when your melody goes up. But I wouldn't look at the different minor scales as separate scales really. They are all variations of the minor scale and it depends on the context whether you should use the natural, harmonic or melodic minor. Just use your ears. Both melodic and harmonic minor work over the V7 chord in minor.



Alright thank you! Im not trying to think of them as different so i understand what you mean there, i see it as i can change one note here and ive got a harmonic etc, ive been playing them and switching between the natural minor and the harmonic in the same piece but ive been wanting incorporate that melodic in there. It's all starting to click tho thanks again! I will definately have more questions in the the future tho this stuff gets confusing
-Peavey 6505+
-Bugera 333xl(w/6l6 pt's) -dead
-412 X-pattern loaded w/ WGS veteran30s & HM75s
-Gibson Les Paul, SD Blackouts *being worked on back to stock*
-Jackson DR7, EMGs
-LTD MH417
-Peavey Vyper 75w
#4
Yeah, but don't get the feeling that some how because of the name, it's actually more "melodic" a minor scale, that's not how it works. Its not some exotic'y thing that infuses new life into your solos. It's great over altered dominants where the scale is played a half step from the root of the altered chord. This is where being teacher and student can really backfire and lead you down the wrong paths, and assumptions.

Best,

Sean
#5
yes..
the functional fusion of natural minor, harmonic minor, and melodic minor scales, as is used in Western classical music.A harmonic minor scale differs from a natural minor scale in that the seventh note is raised one semitone. Melodic minor scales raise both the sixth and seventh notes one semitone when ascending, but when descending, the sixth and seventh notes are flattened, producing the natural minor scale.
Last edited by richardsnelson at Aug 25, 2014,
#6
^This is a myth that is taught in a lot of places. I read a PhD thesis in which someone explored this idea in actual musical examples.

The findings were that the melodic minor form of the scale was used both when ascending and descending. The natural minor form of the scale was also used when ascending and descending. (Both of these forms would occur going in either direction in the same piece of music).

The result was that there was no legitimacy to the claim that the melodic minor is used when ascending and the natural minor descending.

The most common determinant in regard to which scale was used was the underlying harmony. When the underlying chord is a major V or V7 chord that precedes a tonic chord such as in a perfect cadence then the melodic minor is used heading toward that tonic resolution. In most other instances the natural minor scale was used.

I'm sorry I can't find the resource to link, it was a while ago that I read it.

EDIT: This makes perfect sense too. The harmonic minor is used as a harmonic alteration to the minor scale to give us that major V or V7 chord in a minor setting used to resolve to the tonic. So when creating melodic runs (ascending or descending) over this chord that is heading into the tonic we need to adjust and use the major seventh.

But a melodic run that uses the minor scale with a major instead of a minor seventh is pretty clunky. It has a half step between the perfect fifth and minor sixth scale degrees followed by an augmented second (three semitones) between the minor sixth and major seventh and then another half step between the major seventh and the tonic.

That creates an disjointed melodic run. So the sixth gets raised as well to give us the melodic minor, a smooth melodic run (ascending or descending) that includes the major seventh to fit with the V or V7 chord.

In most other parts of the song you won't be using the V or V7 chord so don't need that major seventh in your melodic runs and the natural minor scale is used instead.
Si
#7
Everything 20Tigers said is right on the money.

There are plenty of examples in Mozart and Bach where the three forms of minor are used in ways that contradict their typical explanations. It's a myth.

This is especially true in contemporary contexts, especially jazz music, where Melodic Minor is used as a "shading device," not a source for the harmony. (There are exceptions of course)

One thing that helped me when getting the guitar shapes down, is that it can be sometimes easier to think of the scale as a major scale with a lowered 3rd. This way you can easily change that major scale patterns you probably already know pretty well.

Just don't become a slave to pattern playing. It's only to help find the notes and ingrain them into muscle memory.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#8
according to john stowell.."...jazz musicians are not smart enough to have another scale in two directions.."

in praise of limits !!
#9
Nope, just smart enough to figure out an application of it that did not require differing forms of the scale based on direction. (By the way, the classical musicians beat them to that long ago)

In all seriousness though, that's a good line, and I will be using that joke.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp