Melodic Minor Scale: Theory & Ear Training

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The Melodic Minor Scale is unique among scales because some of the notes change depending on whether you are going up or down the scale…

Theory

Here, for example, are the notes in the C Melodic Minor Scale identified by letter names, scale degrees (numbers), and Solfege syllables…

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  1. The scale structure of the Melodic Minor Scale is always 1-2-b3-4-5-6-7 ascending and 1-b7-b6-5-4-b3-2-1 descending, no matter what key you are in.
  2. The Solfege syllables of the Melodic Minor Scale are always Do-Re-Me-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do ascending and Do-Te-Le-So- Fa-Me-Re-Do descending, no matter what key you are in.
  3. The only thing that changes when you change keys are the letter names.

Comparative Scale Study

The melodic minor scale is no more “melodic” than other minor scales. It is called that because in some (not all) musical contexts, the melodic line sounds better when you play La and Ti going up and Le and Te going down.

When going up the Melodic Minor Scale, 6(La) and 7(Ti) are the exact same notes used in the Major Scale!

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When going down the Melodic Minor Scale, b7(Te) and b6(Le) are the exact same notes used in the Natural Minor Scale!

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The Melodic Minor Scale in Action

Bach Bouree

Solfege Ear Training

Reading, playing, and singing the Solfege syllables out loud is a very effective way to internalize the unique sound-feeling of each note in a musical scale. Reminder: It is absolutely essential that you sing these out loud… and to play and sing slowly enough to allow the unique sound-feeling of each solfege syllable to make an impression on your mind’s ear.

C Melodic Minor Scale: Linear, Ascending…

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C Melodic Minor Scale: Linear, Descending…

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C Melodic Minor Scale: Do-X-Do, Ascending…

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C Melodic Minor Scale: Do-X-Do, Descending…

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Many other patterns are possible as well, but at this point your time is better spent going right to the kinds of music that YOU want to play for your study-practice material.

learn more… Harmonic Minor Scale: Theory & Ear Training