The Melodic Minor Scale

Melodic minor is an extremely interesting scale that can be used over chords. It sounds great and shouldn’t be seen as the “red-headed stepchild” of major scales as some might assume.

This diatonic scale, created to assist with melodies, starts on Eb and ends at C. When ascending it is similar to a major scale with an absent third note; but when descending it changes into an organic minor scale.


This scale is unique because its notes change depending on whether it is ascending or descending. Ascending, its sixth and seventh scale degrees increase when compared to natural minor scale, while when descending it uses similar notes. This dynamic between ascending and descending notes creates an effect of both lightness and gravity in its performance – creating an engaging contrast.

Notably, this scale also shares its key signature with G flat major, meaning that it contains six flats: B flat, E flat, A flat and D flat. As a result, chord progressions based on melodic minor scale notes often don’t work as effectively as those using other scales.

Musical scales can be useful tools when writing songs and are commonly found across genres and music styles. For instance, in jazz the G melodic minor scale is frequently employed to transition from a dominant 7th chord to minor tonic chord as its sounds similar to natural minor but its seventh scale degree raised one semitone or half step compared to natural minor scale.

The descending melody minor scale, commonly referred to as the pentatonic scale, is an invaluable skill to possess. This scale can add tension and emotion to jazz pieces while country songs may benefit from adding bluesy overtones with this scale’s use.

Melodic minor scales can be difficult to learn, but with proper technique they don’t need to be so difficult. First step should be finding appropriate fingerings: index and middle fingers should start by starting on one fret and moving accordingly as necessary; additionally it’s beneficial if both ring and pinky fingers begin on their respective frets for best results.

Once you’ve mastered your scale, practice playing it ascending and descending in both keys. Once you’ve accomplished this step, try building chords upon it – please refer to our article on minor scale chords for further guidance.


The F melodic minor scale is based on the E natural minor scale, but with sixth and seventh notes raised by one half-tone or semitone. This makes it particularly useful for harmonizing seventh chords since their degrees complement each other well; additionally it gives more major tone than normal minor scale and may work well over altered dominant chords.

As is the case with other major melodic minor scales, we can construct this scale on a piano diagram using white and black keys. Note names appear first on treble clef followed by bass clef and above each tablature are suggested fingerings numbers.

This step shows an ascending melodic minor scale in F. The scale is derived from E natural minor, with six and seventh scale degrees raised by one half tone / semitone; its tonic, supertonic, mediant, subdominant dominant submediant leading note and octave levels are identical; their note names depend on which key / scale combination you use.

For the descending melodic minor scale we reversed the scale degree order. Based on E natural minor but with its seventh note raised one half tone/semitone to D, this scale gives more of a major sound than traditional minor and can be used for playing harmonic minor scale patterns and licks.

Chord progressions based on melodic minor scales may not be as widely practiced, but that doesn’t make them any less worth studying. Below is a chart displaying both triad and 4 note extended chords belonging to F melodic minor in terms of chord chart representations.


The G melodic minor scale consists of seven notes, from E to G: E, F, G, A, B, C and D. It differs from its natural minor counterpart by raising sixth and seventh degree by half step when ascending and descending – this makes its sound significantly different when ascending and descending as we will discuss later.

This scale can be played on any instrument, particularly guitar. It is particularly prevalent in jazz music and contemporary pop songs; particularly when used to descend from a dominant 7th chord to minor tonic chord. Examples can be found in popular Beatles tracks like Yesterday as well as classic jazz standards like Autumn Leaves.

To play this scale effectively, it’s necessary to understand its intervals. To do so, start by reviewing its key signature; this will show any necessary adjustments such as raising notes 6th and 7th by one half tone / semitone, changing their names to Cb and Db respectively.

On its descent, the scale is identical to its ascending version; however, with D raised as the seventh degree. This gives a very different melody sound to what might otherwise be found with natural minor scale and marks the difference between melodic minor and harmonic minor scales.

While melodic minor has a flat seventh (minor third), harmonic minor has a natural seventh. You can gain more insight into this difference by looking at each scale’s key signature and comparing it to its relative major scale. With this information at your disposal, it becomes much simpler to figure out the notes in each key by subtracting out how many flats there were in one major scale from how many sharps there were in another minor scale.


The melodic minor scale can be an intriguing beast when it comes to traditional music theory. Classically speaking, its properties include ascending and descending modes and an altered 3rd (making it sound closer to major), without an actual flat 6th like in harmonic minor. But practical music performance (particularly jazz) uses melodic minor scale extensively when playing V7 chords as it offers access to some very useful altered sounds.

If your chosen key features a natural minor key signature, accidental symbols used for major or harmonic minor scales can also be applied to create melodic minor scale key signatures. This is because melodic minor scale uses notes found within natural minor scale and just raises or lowers existing sharp/flat symbols accordingly to change its key signature.

Ascending melodic minor scales differs from harmonic minor scales in that they retain a b6 in their second scale degree, which reduces melodic awkwardness when ascending them. But when descending them they revert back to harmonic minor scale form with its flat 6th.

Chord progressions based on melodic minor scale chord progressions may not be as popular due to its non-agreeable note spacing in chords, yet that shouldn’t dissuade you from exploring these sounds to help broaden your harmonic vocabulary and grow as a guitarist.