The C Melodic Minor Scale

The C melodic minor scale is similar to C natural minor with two key differences; 6th and 7th scale degrees raised to create more tension at its endpoints. This increases major tones within its tone series.

This scale is often employed in Jazz and Classical guitar music, making it an excellent way to add drama and tension into your playing. Learning it will add drama and tension into any performance!


Jazz musicians frequently use this scale, which provides an alternative sound fusing tonal and atonal sensations. Understanding its context of use is also paramount; typically you’ll find this scale being played over dominant chords due to its unique feature – an ascending curve different than any other scale’s descend curve – making the c melodic minor scale one of its signature features.

All other minor scales ascend in an incremental manner with every note ascending one step at a time, but melodic minor differs by having an additional step on every third note, creating a major second interval between fifth and sixth notes that creates what is known as a leading tone and leads to its distinctive sound; its seventh note gives off an upward pulling force towards tonic note.

This sound stands out from other minor scales due to the tension it creates between dominant and tonic notes – similar to what can be heard in major chords – making it perfect for adding drama and tension into music compositions.

A striking feature of the C melodic minor scale when ascending is its distinctive feature when ascending: both sixth and seventh scale degrees are raised by half steps (semisonotes). This gives a more melodic sound than other minor scales as tonal music requires that its 7th note always feel like it leads towards its tonic – thus inflecting scale-degrees 6 and 7 to reflect this function.

As can be seen from the image, the c melodic minor scale has an altered key signature, which can help distinguish it from other minor scales. This is because it uses three lowered scale degrees rather than just two for greater effect and sounding very different than natural minor, which has only two such decreases. Being aware of this difference will allow you to identify it quickly when playing any c melodic minor scale or similar minor scales.


There are two forms of melodic minor scale: ascending and descending. When ascending, melodic minor scale is similar to natural minor except for its sixth and seventh degree being raised by one semitone – making intervals more melodic while also avoiding an augmented second that would otherwise occur. Ascending melodic minor scale requires shifting your fingers up and down the fretboard; with practice it should become much simpler, providing another way for developing your skills as you build upon them.

Descending melodic minor scale is similar to ascending due to not needing to create drive upwards towards the tonic, similar to ascending. Thus, its pattern mirrors that of natural minor scale.

As with ascending melodic minor scales, descending melodic minor scales are created by altering a parallel major scale. When descending an A Minor Scale needs to be modified by raising sixth and seventh scale degrees by half tones; this will change its intervals to make them more melodic while avoiding an augmented second tone.

A melodic minor scale can also be created from a major scale by adding flats to its key signature, since a melodic minor scale only contains one sharp or flat (the same as C natural minor). When using melodic minor scale in music compositions, its key may change, so be aware of any accidentals needed on sheet music sheets before starting work on an assignment using melodic minor scales.

To play melodies in the melodic minor scale, it is ideal to start from the last note and work down from there, starting on tonality by beginning from its final note before moving down gradually. This ensures that chord progressions fit within this scale correctly; additionally it may be worth keeping in mind that even though chords within a piece may be diatonic to C Melodic Minor, they may still incorporate chords from different major and minor keys to create effective progressions.


The melodic minor scale is a diatonic scale that starts and ends on one note (in this instance C). The melodic minor scale differs from its natural minor counterpart in that its sixth and seventh intervals have raised values, as opposed to being constant as with natural minor scales; upon returning back down it returns back into natural minor form with regular major intervals; though this feature might only add one extra melody line at times due to sounding more “major.”

One reason that jazzers use the melodic minor scale so often is its versatility in creating melodic lines; its chords provide the foundation of melodic lines, while the raised sixth and seventh intervals give it more “major” qualities than regular minor scales.

Classical music theory defines melodic minor as an amalgamation of natural and harmonic minor scales, sharing intervals from both types while raising 6th and 7th notes by half steps as opposed to using standard major scale intervals for ascending melodic minor. Descending melodic minor follows the same pattern of half and whole steps seen in its natural counterpart for descent melodic minor.

So if your piece of music is set in C minor, you can use this scale to build chords relating to it more easily. Knowing this scale well makes matching up chords with scales much simpler.

Note that certain chords derived from this scale do not correspond directly with its note values, as songs will often use chords from different keys when modulating into another key.

The melodic minor scale can be broken down into four chords that can be found by looking at its diagram: I, III, VIO and VIIIO. Notice how these chords correspond with their scale counterpart by looking at this diagram below; note also that all contain all notes found within it but may require adjustment depending on key signature.


The C melodic minor scale stands out among major and minor scales with its flat third note, making it unique among its peers. Although seemingly minor in nature, this small change can have a powerful impact on how it sounds; for example, exaggerating lightness when ascending and heaviness when descending; creating some very interesting effects when used within chord progressions that move between different keys, such as those found in The Beatles song “Yesterday” with its ascending melodic figure which includes lyrics “All my troubles seemed far away”. Another great example is found within chord progressions where chord progressions move between different keys; herein lies one such effect created within chord progressions between different keys – think “Yesterday”, where its ascending melodic figure that contains lyrics such as “All My troubles seemed far away”, creating very interesting effects that add another level to what could otherwise sound effects made possible with C melodic minor scale!

The C melodic minor scale can be played several ways on guitar. One option is to use all flats, creating a sharper tone which works well with minor chords. Or alternatively use all naturals, creating a warmer sound. However it is essential that both types of notes be utilized when performing this scale to achieve full sound.

One way of altering the C melodic minor scale is to raise its sixth and seventh scale degrees by one semitone (half step). This alters their intervals from minor to major, making the melody-friendly intervals of these notes major while eliminating an awkward one-and-a-half step interval between 6th and 7th notes as seen in harmonic minor scale.

The melodic minor composite scale is known to be very melodically friendly and easier for singers than its harmonic minor scale counterpart, hence making it very popular in jazz settings.

The c melodic minor scale and its composite forms are closely associated with the diatonic minor scale, with only subtle distinctions separating the three forms. Listening to examples written using each form and noting its differences will allow you to assess its sound compared to songs written using its relative key type.