A harmonic minor scale is a seven note scale with a numeric formula of 1-2-♭3-4-5-♭6-7-8/1. The harmonic minor scale has a very "Gothic" or "Medieval" sound which comes from the major seventh interval opposing the minor third.
In melodic composition, the augmented second interval between the sixth and seventh degrees of the harmonic minor scale is considered by many to be harsh, so some composers raise the sixth degree by a semi-tone if the melody is ascending to the seventh (creating a standard melodic minor scale or ascending melodic minor), and when the melody is descending from the seventh to the sixth, the seventh is lowered a semi-tone (creating a natural minor scale or descending melodic minor). Guitarists tend not to use this theory and have a separate scale pattern and formula for melodic minor, harmonic minor and natural minor which are the same regardless of which direction the melody is going, and this is the way I will teach you here.
Harmonic minor scale profile
|Notation formula (key of C)||C-D-E♭-F-G-A♭-B-C/1|
|Stepping||whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole, half|
|Tonal||tone, semi-tone, tone, tone, semi-tone, tone, semi-tone|
|Harmonized triads (key of C)||Cmi / D⁰ / E♭⁺ / Fmi / GMA / A♭MA / B⁰|
|Harmonized tetrads (key of C)||Cmi(MA7) / Dmi7(♭5) / E♭MA7(♯5) / Fmi7 / G7 / A♭MA7 / B⁰7|
Harmonic minor scale patterns
Harmonic minor scale audio sample(s)
|C Harmonic minor scale patter #4|