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Author Topic: A Melodic Minor Scale  (Read 1181 times)

Jonny

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A Melodic Minor Scale
« on: March 21, 2008, 10:56:42 PM »
Out of sheer curiosity, why does the A melodic minor scale ascend/descend differently?
Code: [Select]

E||----------------------------4-5-----------------------------|----||
B||------------------------5-7-----8-6-5-----------------------|----||
G||------------------4-5-7---------------7-5-4-----------------|----||
D||------------4-6-7---------------------------7-5-------------|----||
A||--------5-7-------------------------------------8-7-5-------|----||
E||--5-7-8-----------------------------------------------8-7-5-|----||
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Johnny Mac

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waves

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A Melodic Minor Scale
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2008, 09:13:45 AM »
Ok basically as a general rule in classical writing the harmonic minor scale is used for harmony (i.e. the chord progression that accommpanies the melody) and the melodic minor scale is used for melody. I'll explain this below.

Firstly, A minor as a key has no sharps or flats. (The same as C major, A minor is the relative minor of C major. So the natural minor scale in A minor has no sharps of flats:  A B C D E F G A

When composers were composing in minor keys they realised that while they were using the minor key's scale (if taken from the key signiture this is the natural minor scale) they would often approach the tonic/root by semitone. Thus raising or sharpening the leading note (seventh degree) by a semitone. This produces the harmonic minor scale :  A B C D E F G# A

However,  many composers found that when writing melodies, the augmented second (three semitones) between the sixth and seventh degree (in your a harmonic minor case between the F and the G#) was a melodically awkward leap. So composers started to sharpen/raise the sixth degree to make the scale sound nicer but still work in a minor context. This is whats known as the melodic minor scale:  A B C D E F# G# A

However, it descends identically to the natural minor scale: A G F E D C B A.

This came about simply due to musical practice and what sounded right to the composers rather than from theory as such.



All of the above only really applies to classical music of course though. Just thought i'd explain it.

In rock guitar terms, the harmonic minor scale is used for an arabic/gyspy feeling and this is because of that awkward leap mentioned above. Yngwie Malmsteen milks the harmonic minor scale.

The natural minor is probably the most commonly used minor scale as in general and a good place to start.

I always find the melodic minor (especially in ascending form) a hard one to use because it sounds to me too much like the major scale with a flat third.


Hope i've helped. Sorry for getting too into it, i'm a bit keen for musical theory.  :P

Jonny

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A Melodic Minor Scale
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2008, 09:38:54 AM »
lol, thanks! I am feel as if I know more than I did when asking.
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noodleplugerine

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A Melodic Minor Scale
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2008, 01:00:36 PM »
Do you really think that haromic minor is more milked than Aeolian?

I'm not so sure - I think Harmonic minor is a superb scale, but its very unique sounding, only useful for certain situations.
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il˙ti

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A Melodic Minor Scale
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2008, 02:05:52 PM »
Waves did a great explanation, but I thought I'd add that melodic minor isn't just useful for classical music. Some call it "the jazz minor". It's very useful if you've got a ii-V-i progression (in minor), like for example Dm G Cm. You're gonna sound very off just playing in C Aeolian over the G chord. Harmonic minor can do becasue it's got the raised 7th (B, the third in the G chord) but the Ab (being the minor second in the G chord) adds a lot of tension that might be unnecesary. Tension is good, but sometimes it's too much. Acsending over G A B and ending on C sounds a whole lot more relaxed than G Ab B C.
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A Melodic Minor Scale
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2008, 02:23:07 PM »
Quote from: noodleplugerine
Do you really think that haromic minor is more milked than Aeolian?

I'm not so sure - I think Harmonic minor is a superb scale, but its very unique sounding, only useful for certain situations.



I meant by Malmsteen. I can't say i'm his biggest fan, but from what i've heard a lot of it is harmonic minor. And yes it is only useful for some situations. In fact i find myself using the phrygian dominant more than the harmonic minor scale especially for the classic E E E E E E F F F F. Open String then First Fret thing. But yeah, Aeolian is mostly what i play with. Lydian occasionally.

Jonny

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A Melodic Minor Scale
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2008, 03:10:47 PM »
Quote from: ilyti
Waves did a great explanation, but I thought I'd add that melodic minor isn't just useful for classical music. Some call it "the jazz minor". It's very useful if you've got a ii-V-i progression (in minor), like for example Dm G Cm. You're gonna sound very off just playing in C Aeolian over the G chord. Harmonic minor can do becasue it's got the raised 7th (B, the third in the G chord) but the Ab (being the minor second in the G chord) adds a lot of tension that might be unnecesary. Tension is good, but sometimes it's too much. Acsending over G A B and ending on C sounds a whole lot more relaxed than G Ab B C.

Aye, Jazz players love the Melodic Minor, however it goes like:
Code: [Select]

E||----------------------------4-5-4---------------------------|----||
B||------------------------5-7-------7-5-----------------------|----||
G||------------------4-5-7---------------7-5-4-----------------|----||
D||------------4-6-7---------------------------7-6-4-----------|----||
A||--------5-7---------------------------------------7-5-------|----||
E||--5-7-8-----------------------------------------------8-7-5-|----||


I'm only just getting into scales. I usually just play cover songs.
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Johnny Mac

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A Melodic Minor Scale
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2008, 09:19:45 AM »
Some usefull info there Waves, thanks for that. An ex of mine was a music teacher and I did get a lesson this on the back of a beer mat in the pub one night!  :lol:
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