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Melodic minor mode? (Music theory)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Roger DeLarge, May 13, 2017.

  1. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    This seems to be overlooked by far too many people. If the kind of confusion you see regularly on this forum is any indication acquiring theory without the guidance of an experienced player causes at least as many problems as it solves. Inexperienced players trying to "apply" modes over chord changes is a classic example. Sure it works mathematically but honestly superimposing modes over chord changes has never made much sense to me musically. I was taught the Berklee modal system in my late teens but right away I realized that taking it too literally didn't always sound very good. Fortunately I had some good teachers who didn't let me loose sight of the fact it's musical theory not musical laws.

    Another thing I think gets badly overlooked is that trying to learn theory from what you can hear on an instrument like the bass which functions primarily using single note lines makes it incredibly difficult to gain any real depth of practical understanding of harmony.
    Whousedtoplay and AngelCrusher like this.
  2. inanimate_carb


    Aug 11, 2016
    Most of the over-thinking and overanalyzation seen in threads like this would scare me away from the study of theory if I was a young player.
    Whousedtoplay and Groove Doctor like this.
  3. AngelCrusher

    AngelCrusher Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    Agree. I have been saying this for a while in these threads. I love to learn theory and challenge myself musically, but at the end of the day it boils down to teaching your ears to hear and be able to apply these concepts in a musical and organic way.

    Learning rules is vitally important to expanding vocabulary, but forgetting those rules and just playing what's inside you afterwards is equally essential.
    Whousedtoplay and Groove Doctor like this.
  4. Honestly, I really enjoy these types of discussions, because I usually end up learning something I didn't know. They do get heavy sometimes, but I guess that's the nature of the thing.

    The upright forum tends to have more structured jazz theory discussions, since if you play a lot of upright, you generally are studying jazz pretty heavily. That at least gives you a framework for discussion.

    It seems that when electric players who live in the rock/funk groove world try to get involved with it that it goes in somewhat complicated directions.

    Textbook jazz courses are difficult because they try to quantify every single nuance of the music. They have to give a name and a reason for everything, which isn't the point at all. While it does take a lot of dedication, Jazz really isn't as hard as it looks in those books. They make it that way so that they can have something to grade, come test time.
    Groove Master and Whousedtoplay like this.
  5. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    P.S. I hope we are not going to end this thread as "just another one bashing Music Theory".

    Here is a short and lame exercise using the Ab melodic minor notes.
    My question is more about the fingering.


    I'm shifting for the fourth and sixth notes, also for the last triplet.
    Here is my first choice of notes/fingering.
    I've highlighted my left hand fingers with TAB.
    I'm using a few shifts.
    The fourth note - one shift, the sixth note - another shift.
    In Bar2, I play the first note with my Finger 4 (it could also be Finger 3). I know it's cramped but it's the best way for me to properly articulate the next two notes (without using Finger 1 as Barre).
    Here is my alternative TAB and fingering for Bar 1.
    It looks like Barre with Finger 1 for the third and fourth notes. Also, the eighth note could be fretted with Finger 3.
    The same possibility for the first note in Bar2.


    Here is an alternative ending - Bar 4 with different TAB and fingering.
    I did not want to use the 19th fret on the E string.
    The alternative ending does not have that clear shifting with was, kind of, my personal "requirement" for that exercise.
    Just for Entertainment purpose, I've "doubled my speed" in Bar 3. I still cannot properly articulate that bar with the 16th notes, but I will eventually.

    Any other fingering ideas for that particular exercise?

    Here is a sound clip from GP.

    Attached Files:

  6. I dig the sound of this... I will give it a good look over later on.

    One question I do have for now is how did you arrive at that key signature? Does Melodic Minor have a key? I'd never really considered it, but I don't think it does, and for argument/information sake I guess you'd have to call it something.

    I think I'd be more likely to relate Ab melodic minor to the key of Eb minor since the MM scale is basically dorian with a #7th. So I would have written it in Eb minor with an accidental on the Gb, making it G natural.

    In the big picture, I'm not sure it matters which key you relate it to though...
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017
    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  7. So I've looked it over a little and I'm pretty sure it should be written in Eb minor, with 6 flats. That way you get rid of all the accidentals on the F's and B's. The B will be written as Cb, which is in the key. You will keep the accidental on the G notes.

    I'll try playing it later.
  8. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    Ab Melodic minor scale has 5 flats but it belongs to the Ab minor family starting with the Ab natural minor which has 7 flats in the key. The "theorists" want us to put those 7 flats in the key and use "naturals" for those raised 6th and 7th notes.
    Mushroo likes this.
  9. Ahh ok. That makes sense.
  10. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    P.S. Some comic relief.

    I don't have a teacher; therefore, I can have fun while playing scales.
    (Please, don't try it at home).

    Here is an easy "lite" way of my playing the A melodic minor scale.
    Here is how it sounds with GP.

    How would that Ab Melodic Minor scale sound in 5/4?
    (I don't know why my Guitar Pro decided to notate it in some "strange" way.)

    AbMelodicMinorScale-5-4.PNG Here is the sound from GP.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2017
  11. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    This morning, I was noodling along with some drum pattern and decided to approach the Ab Melodic Minor scale as some kind of exercise/riff. It has a lot of repetitive scale notes (which creates a sense of being a "riff") and helps me to memorize the notes from Ab Melodic Minor.
    For that exercise I've used my right hand thumb. GP uses the letter, "p" for Thumb.

    Here are the notes. Bar 1, 2, and 3 are the same.
    I've highlighted the last Beat in Bar 1 and Bar 2 to show that I can use either the "M, I, and P" or "A, M, and P" fingering.

    MemorizingAbMM-1.PNG MemorizingAbMM-2.PNG
    Here is how it sounds with GP.

    P.S. Who said the scales are boring?

    Attached Files:

  12. Some interesting stuff you have going here lately. Melodic Minor is my current focus of study so any info I come across is welcome.
    Whousedtoplay likes this.

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