Lesson 39: Melodic Minor Scale

  
Category: Lessons

Yes, another type of minor scale. I know you are probably sighing and wondering how many types there are! Well, the melodic minor scale is the last one.. for now. We have already discussed the natural minor scale, and the harmonic minor scale. If you need to review these, you can click on the links provided.

The melodic minor scale is interesting and different in that the scale going UP is different than the scale going DOWN. In the melodic minor scale, the 6th and 7th notes of the scale are raised one semitone on the way up, and lowered on the way down. To understand this lesson, you will have to understand first how to build a natural minor scale, which you can find in Lesson 37. I will demonstrate building a melodic minor scale using the A minor scale. (My favourite scale because it has no sharps or flats!)

How to build a melodic minor in 3 easy steps:

1. Build your natural minor using the steps from lesson 37. One difference you will notice below is that I build the scale going up and then back down. As usual, I have marked the semitones with a lovely red slur.

2. Identify your submediant (6th) and leading note (7th). In the case of the A minor scale these are F and G respectively. Raise each by one semitone. This means if the note is a flat, make it a natural. If it is a natural make it a sharp. If it is a sharp make it a double sharp. In our case, both F and G are natural, so we just have to make them sharp. Take a look at the scale below. Notice that the location of the semitones shifted when we raised the 6th and 7th notes.

3. Now you have to deal with the scale going down. The 6th and 7th notes should return to their natural form as we traverse back down the scale. This means we have to lower them from their heightened state. Because we used accidentals to raise the 6th and 7th notes, we will have to use accidentals to lower them back. Do you know which accidental we will use for the A minor scale? If you said a natural, you would be correct.  Here is the entire A minor melodic scale going up and down.

I usually only show the easy scales.. the ones without sharps and flats in the key signatures. You may want to try a few harder ones on your own. I would recommend trying E minor and D minor to start. I may write a minor scale practice post where I tackle some of these more difficult keys.

But in the meantime, good luck!

Posted on February 3rd, 2013 by sharlene

1 Comment

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