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Melodic Minor Scales - Introduction

Tom Quayle 164 lessons

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Hi Guys!

Welcome to this tutorial on using Melodic Minor Scales.

In this tutorial we'll be learning how to use melodic minor scales in conjunction with the major scales we already know in a harmonic context.

By the end of these lessons you'll have a good understanding of how some of the ways in which we can use melodic minor scales and their associated chords to enhance and develop chord progressions created in major keys.

I'll provide you with some example chord progressions and the chords available to you and provide you with three backing tracks to practice improvising, utilising these scales.

First of all though, how do we play a melodic minor scale and what is it? Well, very simply, a melodic minor scale is a major scale where the 3rd note has been flattened by one fret (in other words moved one fret down the neck.) For example, below in the TAB is the scale C major containing the notes C,D,E,F,G,A and B. Have a look at the C melodic minor scale next to it and you'll see that the note E has been flattened to Eb giving us the notes C,D,Eb,F,G,A and B. So, a melodic minor scale is a major scale with a flattened 3rd.

Before moving on, get the sound of this scale into your mind. The purpose of this tutorial is not to teach you this scale all over the neck. A separate visualisation tutorial would be required for that. For the time being that work is up to you guys. Today we'll be looking at how the scale functions in a harmonic context in modern music.

A very important side note! - If you've studied any classical harmony you may know that in this style of music there are two forms of a melodic minor scale, an ascending one and a descending one. In modern music we do not use both, only the ascending one which is the form shown below.

Move onto lesson two where we'll start to look at the chords contained in this melodic minor scale.

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