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Jazz standards with Melodic Minor harmony built in...

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by needmoney, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. I'm trying to compile a list of Jazz standards that utilize Melodic Minor harmony (as well as regular Major harmony) for an assignment. Anyone know of some???
  2. Asher S

    Asher S

    Jan 31, 2008
    Well, first of all, while the melodic minor is just the flat-third version of the major scale, I don't know what you mean by "regular" major harmony.

    Secondly, if this is for an assignment, rather than have the TB community just tell you the answers, wouldn't it be better for your education to listen to a pile of jazz standards and try to hear which ones use the harmonies in question?
  3. i think he's referring to the fact that the chords in minor harmony are built off the melodic minor scale (with the exception of the V chord which is built off the harmonic minor scale I believe)
  4. Johnny StingRay

    Johnny StingRay

    Nov 24, 2006
    Try the link below. Jazz standards are broken down into basic chords and the guy does break them down into categories of different chord progressions. You might find what you are looking for under "Tonal Centers".
    Good luck.

  5. afromoose

    afromoose Guest

    Hey I don't know if this is what you mean, but I found a standard today where to play walking bass I had to play a weird scale over one of the chords so it sounded right - i just noticed while I was playing it it was a bit weird- I looked it up and it's called the Major Minor scale - I think it's a melodic parent mode.

    Just looked at my notebook and it's autumn leaves.

    Okay the changes are this for the verse:

    C- F7 Bb Eb+4
    Ahalfdim D7+9 G- G-

    I found that over the D7+9 it fits to play this major minor scale. Major minor is as follows

    1 2 3 4 5 b6 b7

    So it's the Aeolian mode with a major third,

    or another way of looking at it, the major scale with minor 6 and 7.

    or another way - the third mode of the melodic minor. (actually, sorry it's the fifth mode of melodic minor, and it's name can be mixolydian b6)

    I'm new to this jazz business so I'm open for correction. The piece isn't entirely based on melodic minor is that what you mean?

    I just did a google search and apparently it's related to this change: iiø-Vb9's

    Woah this is all quite exciting. check out that page

  6. You're right. The half diminished II to Vb9 is a what we call a minor two five, which is what I think OP is referring to. You can find them scattered through a whole range of tunes. Not necessarily all written based off minor harmony.
  7. Johnny StingRay

    Johnny StingRay

    Nov 24, 2006
  8. confirmation is a parker blues. maybe you're thinking of countdown?
  9. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    This will be difficult to find because the Melodic minor scale is too similar to the Major scale and isn't used as a scale source to build a Key center or chord progression. The Minor Harmonic scale does. The Modes built on the Melodic Minor scale doesn't function as specific degrees in a tonality but more like differents colors you can used on very specific chords like the altered dominant,the Lydian dominant,the Locrian #2 etc......,

    Good luck,

  10. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    I've played with a few pianists who voice the bar 8 Ab7 chord in "Stella by Starlight" as an Ab7#11 chord. This type of chord tends to resolve up a step, as it does in "Stella" to Bb major 7. The 7#11 doesn't function as a traditional V chord that would resolve to I.

    This briefly brings melodic minor harmony into play as the resulting 7#11 chord is the IV chord of Eb melodic minor, which is a useful improvising scale over this chord of the moment.

    Also, the Lydian Dominant scale starting on Ab reading 1 2 3 #4 5 6 b7 1 is the corresponding scale over the IV of Eb melodic minor fits perfectly over the Ab7#11 chord.
  11. Johnny StingRay

    Johnny StingRay

    Nov 24, 2006
    Yes, that's it. Thank you.
  12. If you take a look at Minority, which is otherwise a bebop-style blowing tune, the opening 4-bars are a 1-6-2-5 minor progression. But the melody on the 2-chord (usually gm7b5) is an A natural, so technically you could say that the composer intended a minor 9b5, which is a locrian #2 sound. I think in practice, though, people just blow F harmonic minor over most of the progression. I know I do. But I have not transcribed the original Clifford Brown/Gigi Gryce recording (although I have it on vinyl).

    In general, and real jazz-type historians (like Paul Berliner) would have quite a bit to say here, I think the melodic minor sounds didn't become too widely used until people like Herbie and Wayne started using them(Mingus and others, too). By that time, the so called "Standards" had been long-since written. But you might consider getting a hold of some Duke Ellington material and I think you would hear more than just the occasional 7#11 chord.

    Not to go on (hehe), but, the scary thing about using the locrian #2 sound is that the spooky and hip sound of the #2 is actually the Major third sound of the tonic of the minor progression, so you have to really know how to blow with it. So if you use an A natural in, say, Minority, you will find yourself in highly rarified territory in no-time-flat.

    Confirmation is the 32-bar AABA tune. But the 8-bar A-section is really similar to the Blues For Alice 12-bar blues. The 8-bar bridge of Confirmation is two long form 2-5-1s, straight-up.

    Color commentary: They both have the tasty I Major, but after they get to IV, Confirmation just goes back into a 3-6-2-5 turnaround phrase, but Blues for Alice turns on the highly groovy chromatic action before it hits the turnaround.
  13. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    The best usage for me for the Locrian #2 on a min7(b5) is when the I chord is Major like in the bridge of "All the things you are". The raised 2 becomes the Major third of the Major chord. A chord progression like F#min7(b5)- B7- EMaj7 is called an "Hybrid II-V-I, and the use of the Locrian #2 which is the 6th mode of A minor melodic is really a great choice on the min7(b5) chord,

  14. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    To come back on the OP, I don't recall seeing a whole tune based on a Minor melodic harmony because the modes of that scale don't define a minor key. You might try to find some portions of tunes where you have an Hybrid ii-v-i like this : Amin7-D9-Gmin6 or GminMaj7. Then this section would be based on a G minor melodic scale.

    I worked out a song today with one of my student where the opening solo section started with this: GmiMaj7-Emin7(b5)-Amin7(b5)-D7(b9).
    You can use the Gmin melodic scale for the first two chords but when the alt.ii-v occurs you have to imply the G minor harmonic scale / or the Eb minor melodic. So try to find chord progression where an unaltered ii-v resolves to a I min/min6 or minMaj7,then you'll have a portion of harmony based on the same melodic minor scale. Beside that, the modes of the melodic minor scale are not used as specific degrees in a tonality. (I hope written like this it makes sense to you),

    Good Luck,

  15. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    Actually one of my favorite example of Major/minor scales/harmony is Autumn leaves which is based entirely on a major and relative minor natural/harmonic scale. The use of the melodic minor can be involved as well on the imin chord too,

  16. How did you come across that assignment, anyway?

    Excellent notion, Sly. Also, like the turnaround on the 14-bar A section to Alone Together. I suppose that would be another hybrid there.

    Melodic minor simply yields more modern sounds. I love it, but I can't say that I am completely acclimated to using it.
  17. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    You are right, Alone together has a great deceptive cadenza in the first section, but the melodic minor scale is not really involved in the scale choice I think.

    Actually I think the modes of the melodic minor scale are good (and only choice) for Lydian dominant function,Altered dominant in minor,Locrian #2 in the right context,Min6 or minMaj7 chords...etc,

    In a ii-v-i in minor there are 3 melodic minor scales involved as scale sources.

    But they don't have an impact in key definition tough,

  18. JtheJazzMan


    Apr 10, 2006
    alone together utilises melodic minor in the melody on the last 4 bars of the form, similar to beautiful love.

    in jazz standards theres changes in melodic minor all the time, but if youre looking for pieces wth a melody and harmony based primarily on mel minor then classical composers like ravel or debussy spring to my mind more.

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