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> Sounds Of The Melodic Minor Scale, Learn the Chords, Scale, Triads and Arpeggios Built From Melodic Minor
The Professor
post Apr 18 2013, 02:17 PM
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The Melodic Minor Scale



In this series of articles we will be taking a look at the different sounds that you can build from any mode in the Melodic Minor scale, in particular the chords, scale, triad and arpeggio that go with each mode in the Melodic Minor scale system.

To start digging into learning and applying the different sounds that derive from the Melodic Minor scale, let’s take a look at the chords, scale, triad and arpeggio that are built from the parent mode, the Melodic Minor Scale itself.

The Melodic Minor Scale is one of the most commonly used scales when soloing in modern music, and it is usually one of the first scales we learn on the guitar when venturing beyond the pentatonic, blues and major scales scales that we usually start with on the instrument.

But, besides learning a fingering or two for this important scale, it is good to know the other melodic and harmonic devices that are built from the Melodic Minor Scale so that you can apply these to your practice routine, as well as build your theory chops so that you recognize when to use the Melodic Minor Scale in your soloing and song writing.

Here is a quick look at each device from the Melodic Minor Mode, with further details provided below to read further.


Attached Image




Melodic Minor Triad and Chords



To begin, there are two main chords that are built from any Melodic Minor Scale, the minor triad and the mMaj7 chord.

The minor triad is built from the Root, b3rd and 5th note of the Melodic Minor scale, and the mMaj7 chord is built by adding one note to that triad so that you have a root, b3rd, 5th and 7th in that chord construction.

Each of these items can be played as a whole, to produce the triad/chord, or they can be plucked one note at a time to produce arpeggiated versions, both of which you saw in the tab/notation example above.

So, in the key of C, the minor triad would be:


C Eb G or R b3 5 of the Melodic Minor Scale

And the mMaj7 chord in C would be:

C Eb G B or R b3 5 7


You can see an example of both of these in the notation and tab provided above.

Notice that the notes of the triad, C Eb and G, and the 1st, b3rd and 5th notes of the Melodic Minor Scale next to it, and that the notes of the CmMaj7 chord, C, Eb, G and B, and the 1st, b3rd, 5th and 7th note of the scale next to it.

This knowledge will help you learn to transpose these notes around the neck and into different keys as you learn to build different triads and four-note Melodic Minor-based chords in all 12 keys.

Further Reading


How to Play Minor Triads for Guitar

Sounds of the Ionian Mode



Theory Exercise



Write out the note for each minor triad and mMaj7 chord in all 12 keys.

Post your answers below and I will correct them and give you feedback if you are having any trouble writing out the notes of these triads and chords.



Melodic Minor Scale



The Melodic Minor Scale is built from the following interval structure:

Whole-Half-Whole-Whole-Whole-Whole-Half

In this pattern, whole equals a whole step (2 frets on the guitar) and half equals a half-step (1 fret on the guitar).

So, if you apply that formula to the key of C, as in the example above, you get the following notes.

C (W) D (H) Eb (W) F (W) G (W) A (W) B (H) C

Or, you will also see this scale written in numbers as such:

1 2 b3 4 5 6 7 1

Since the Ionian Mode, and the Melodic Minor Mode, are both the parent scales of the Major and Melodic Minor scale systems, they are also very closely related.

This means that you can think of the Melodic Minor Mode, in theory or on the guitar, as a Major Scale with a b3.
So, you can take any major scale fingering that you know, lower the 3rd note by 1 fret (half-step) and you have yourself a Melodic Minor Scale fingering.

More on that in future lessons, but for know just know that the major scale uses those numbers and is built with that group of Whole and Half-Steps.



Theory Exercise



Write out the notes of the Melodic Minor Scale, in all 12 keys.

Post your answers below and I will check them out and post feedback, as well as answer any questions you may have on this scale construction.


Learning the structures behind each mode that you are learning on the guitar can help shore up your theory knowledge, as well as make it easier for you to apply these modes to your solos and song writing as you learn to relate them to chords, triads and arpeggios.

If you have any questions or comments, post them below.


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PosterBoy
post Apr 19 2013, 07:25 AM
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I'm up to the point in some Frank Vignola lesson material where he teaches the melodic minor.

I was also reading about in a blues when on the v7 you can use the melodic minor a half step up as it also gives the pull back to the I.

Personally I couldn't make that work for myself just playing the scale, are there any particulars you need to focus on using it in that way?


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The Professor
post Apr 19 2013, 07:48 AM
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Hey
Yeah, that's the Altered Scale, the 7th mode of Melodic Minor. We'll be digging into that in this series, but in the meantime here is a short primer on that scale to get you started. As well, there are some licks in there that you can use to begin to get the sound of the scale in your ears from a practical, musical situation.

http://www.mattwarnockguitar.com/altered-s...for-jazz-guitar


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korblitz
post Apr 19 2013, 08:32 AM
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Minor Triads {Cycles of fourths/all 12 keys}
Spoiler:
[attachment=31558:Minor_Triads.PNG]

mMaj7 Triads {Cycles of fourths/all 12 keys}
Spoiler:
[attachment=31559:mMaj7Triads.PNG]

Melodic Minor Scale {Cycles of fourths/all 12 keys}
Spoiler:
[attachment=31560:MelodicMinorScale.PNG]
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The Professor
post Apr 19 2013, 09:46 AM
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Nice work man, all good and dig the charts!


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korblitz
post Apr 19 2013, 10:47 AM
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QUOTE (The Professor @ Apr 19 2013, 09:46 AM) *
Nice work man, all good and dig the charts!


I'm thinking that I should do neck diagrams instead of just writing the notes...from a learning standpoint, of course. Maybe I should use Guitar Pro...but Do you know of any other software that could do neck diagrams...{I tried sibelius...it's too advance and memory resource heavy on my machine}.

Thanks for the awesome theory forum, I'm really digging it.
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The Professor
post Apr 19 2013, 10:50 AM
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Hey, yeah I think Guitar Pro is the way to go, fairly affordable and will do what you need as a guitarist. You can also try Neck Diagrams but I found it a bit tricky to learn compared to other programs. Though once you get around it, it can do some great things.

http://www.neckdiagrams.com/


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PosterBoy
post Apr 19 2013, 11:15 AM
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Neck Diagrams is an awesome program, and easy to use, easier than Chord Alchemy which is another program I bought. I've been using it for a couple years

Thanks for the link Matt, I shall work through and see what I come up with.

This post has been edited by PosterBoy: Apr 19 2013, 11:10 AM


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korblitz
post Apr 19 2013, 01:43 PM
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I just remember that GMC has an awesome Scale generator

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klasaine
post Apr 19 2013, 05:00 PM
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QUOTE (PosterBoy @ Apr 18 2013, 11:25 PM) *
I'm up to the point in some Frank Vignola lesson material where he teaches the melodic minor.

I was also reading about in a blues when on the v7 you can use the melodic minor a half step up as it also gives the pull back to the I.

Personally I couldn't make that work for myself just playing the scale, are there any particulars you need to focus on using it in that way?


As a 'general' rule yeah, playing the mm scale (as a scale) up a 1/2 step from the root of the V7 in a blues (rock blues or trad blues) is probably not the best application. But you can certainly use elements of it. For example in an 'A' blues over the E7 (V) chord you can 'think' F mel/min but just try hitting the Ab, F, C and D notes ... Ab F Ab E C (or Ab) E.
Ab, F and E are the 'money' notes.

Here's a lick that incorporates the F mm scale (but I still know I'm in A blues):

------13-------12---(15)----------------
---------------------------13--14--15 (bend to high E)
--13-------13--------13----------------
----------------------------------------
------------------------------------
------------------------------------

*You'll find that you might like it better in a minor blues (the E7 going to an Am).

This post has been edited by klasaine: Apr 20 2013, 01:19 AM


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PosterBoy
post May 7 2013, 03:56 PM
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Are you just teaching the descending part of the melodic minor scale in this lesson?

I never quite understood the function of the melodic minor having an ascending natural minor and then descending with different intervals


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klasaine
post May 7 2013, 05:08 PM
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QUOTE (PosterBoy @ May 7 2013, 07:56 AM) *
Are you just teaching the descending part of the melodic minor scale in this lesson?

I never quite understood the function of the melodic minor having an ascending natural minor and then descending with different intervals



For jazz and most rock only the ascending is taught/used.

Originally, during the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods, composers would use both the ascending and descending (natural or aeolian minor) versions of melodic minor. Bach: Violin Partita # 1 uses it extensively. The reason why is that the mel/min 'ascending' scale won't actually sound minor when you descend until you hit the (desc) 6th degree. Watch ... mel/min desc: C B A G F - that's the same as a C Major scale. Until you finally get to that Eb, it sounds major. So, as a remedy they would descend natural (aeolian) minor giving you a 'minor' interval immediately: C Bb Ab G etc.


*Also, adding the natural 7th to the aeolian (natural) minor scale resulting in either the Melodic or Harmonic minor scales was originally so that they could use a major V chord for resolutions. Hence the terms melodic and harmonic.
Even today (though it is done frequently) a minor v is considered a little weak for resolutions - unless treated carefully. There was whole thread on minor v a while back - ?

This post has been edited by klasaine: May 7 2013, 09:28 PM


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The Professor
post May 7 2013, 06:06 PM
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QUOTE (PosterBoy @ May 7 2013, 03:56 PM) *
Are you just teaching the descending part of the melodic minor scale in this lesson?

I never quite understood the function of the melodic minor having an ascending natural minor and then descending with different intervals


Yeah this is just the ascending version of the Melodic Minor scale. As was mentioned we only really ever use that version, unless you are composing in certain genres of classical music. For the most part we just treat the MM scale as 1 2 b3 4 5 6 7 1, the version in this lesson, when song writing and soloing. Hope that helps!


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PosterBoy
post May 8 2013, 10:51 AM
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Thanks guys you've both cleared up my confusion


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