The melodic minor scale is a seven note scale with a numeric formula of 1-2-♭3-4-5-6-7-8/1. Some classical composers have two versions of the melodic minor scale, one ascending, the other descending. This comes from the harmonic minor scale and the augmented second interval between the sixth and seventh degrees which is sometimes considered too harsh in an orchestral environment, so composers tend to 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 use the same melodic minor pattern for both ascending and descending, which is the way I will teach you here.
Melodic Minor Scale Modes
Just like the major scale, there are also seven modes of the melodic minor scale and among them are the altered scale, the Lydian dominant scale and the Lydian augmented scale. Below you will find a complete melodic minor modal reference.
- Remember you don't have to learn five scale patterns for each mode, all you need to know is the relative melodic minor key and play one of the five melodic minor patterns in that key, for instance: If you want to play an E♭ Lydian augmented scale (which is the third mode of the melodic minor scale) over an E♭MA7(♯5) chord you would track back 3 semitones, E♭ > D > C, and play a C melodic minor which is exactly the same as playing an E♭ Lydian augmented.
- The View hyperlink next to the chord names will take you to each chords reference page showing chord voicings, formulas, alternatives etc etc
Melodic minor scale profile
|Notation formula (key of C)||C-D-E♭-F-G-A-B-C/1|
|Stepping||whole, half, whole, whole, whole, whole, half|
|Tonal||tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, tone, semitone|
|Harmonized triads (key of C)||Cmi / Dmi / E♭⁺ / F / G / A⁰ / B⁰|
|Harmonized tetrads (key of C)||Cmi(MA7) / Dmi7 / E♭MA7(♯5) / F7 / G7 / Ami7(♭5) / Bmi7(♭5)|
Melodic minor scale patterns
Melodic minor scale audio sample(s)
|C Melodic minor scale pattern #3|