Melodic Minor

The Melodic Minor scale is a scale form that evolved from the natural minor. It is a scale form that is particularly popular in jazz. It is often called the jazz minor scale.

Originally, it was used in classical music in tandem with the natural minor scale. The melodic minor was used on ascending passages, and the natural minor on descending ones. This was done because the melodic minor sounds more stable in ascending passages than does the natural minor. It is now use in jazz because of its slightly bluesy sound. The Melodic Minor scale differs from the Diatonic scale in that its third note is a minor third interval from the first note of the scale. That means that this scale creates a minor chord as its first chord (tonic). The chart below shows how the Melodic Minor scale compares with the Natural minor and Major scale (Diatonic scale).

Natural Minor vs. Melodic Minor
This scale is a bit of a hybrid since its third note is minor and the seventh note is major. The tonic chord of this scale when extended to four notes is an unusual sounding chord called a minor-major-seventh. It has a rather ghostly sound to it. Because of this, the chord is often played as a minor triad.

Harmonized Melodic Minor Scale


The chart above show important elements of the Melodic Minor scale. The scale and each of its modes are listed showing the scale degree of each note. Each mode is given its name and with its chord degree indicated. The highlighted note show the notes that make up the chords listed along the right side.

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circle of fifthsDirty Guide Chord inversion coverFIN System Stretch System cover Chords and Arpeggio cover