dansm's guitar scale lessons
the melodic minor scale
the melodic minor scale is common in rock music. this page will tell you what the melodic minor scale looks like. from there, i will teach you the seven modes of the melodic minor scale. so pick up your guitar and get ready to play some scales!
the melodic minor scale contains seven different pitches. the melodic minor scale is made up of the following pattern of half and whole steps:




notice that the e melodic minor scale has the exact same notes as the harmonic minor scale, except the sixth is raised a half step: from c to c#. this maintains the half step leading tone between the seventh and the tonic, which sounds a lot better than the whole step which appears in the natural minor scale, but avoids the awkward 1 step between the sixth and seventh which appears in the harmonic minor scale. on standard musical notation, the e melodic minor scale looks like the diagram below. shown below that is the e melodic minor scale played on one string. notice the pattern of half and whole steps while you play this:




this pattern of half and whole steps will be important for the rest of the melodic minor scale lessons. try to get an understanding of how it sounds and how it feels to your ears. don't necessarily memorize the pattern; memorizing will not help you learn. get a feeling of how it sounds and remember it that way. everything from here on will be in the key of e minor, just to provide continuity. move on to the first mode once you understand the pattern.
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1997 daniel e. smith.