The Melodic Minor Scale: Were There Two Different Versions?

Author: Tommaso Zillio

There’s no other scale quite like the Melodic Minor scale. This is because it has both a separate ascending and descending pattern.

What is this particular scale all about then? And why should we care?

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Open up any book on musical harmony and it will describe the melodic minor scale as one that can be played in two ways. For instance, the A melodic minor ascending scale would be played as such: A B C D E F# G#. And descending would be played the same as a natural minor would: A B C D E F G.

The ascending version of the scale is used whenever your pitch goes higher. When the pitch goes lower, the descending version is used.

Why is this so? Some “expert” players might say that the restriction originated in classical music. However, these days (especially when it comes to jazz) one can use the ascending version in either case of the pitch going up or down. (Those jazz players, always breaking the rules for us)

Still not clear to you?

Well, I don’t mean to be rude. But what I have just described, which is more or less what we are being told by traditional music theory, is a load of crap. There is in fact plenty of examples where classical musicians have used the melodic minor scale in the “wrong” way (which is something I explain in the following video).

Watch my video below and lets get to the bottom of this melodic minor scale situation.

Hopefully this video has cleared up some misconceptions about the melodic minor scale for you. Don’t let whats been traditionally taught about it confuse you. Have fun with it!

About the Author

Tommaso Zillio is a professional guitarist and guitar teacher. Visit Tommaso’s site to know more about music theory for guitar and visit his YouTube channel for more videos

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