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Melodic Minor

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Spearhead, Feb 4, 2003.

  1. Ok, so i have learned this scale pretty well and its accompanying modes aswell as the arpeggios associated with those modes, but I keep reading that when its played it ascends with the melodic minor intervals and descends in natural minor. Is this correct? If so what is the reasoning behind this?
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    That is correct....the answer my old theory teacher gave me was that it is more "comfortable" ....think of it as walking up a set of stairs....if you walk down the stairs with the same intervals you walked up you will be more likely to trip, but walking up is easier...I don't know if this helps at all, but basically it boils down to being an issue of both contour, practicality and feel.
    Or so my old teacher taught me.

    Melodic minor scales sound really good...and I attribute this to the change in downward movement.
  3. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Thats some old school thing forget about it;)

  4. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    just because it is played so. There are many things in music that are not too logical, but they still sound good...;)
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Not in Jazz!! ;)
  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Bruce is correct. In jazz, and when using modes of melodic minor, only the acending form is used.
  7. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass

    Way back in the day some oner figured out that if you put the cromatic leading tone on a natural minor scale it solidified the tonic. So it doesnt sound like la in la ti do.(in Ionian)

    Thats the birth of harmonic minor

    Then singing this was a drag because of the augmented secound between the minor 6th and major 7th degrees (try it!) So they started using a major 6th also. The Effect of the leading tone only really works assending and desending it give a veary major sound(duh ) because you dont have that minor third untill you practically done with the scale. Hence one way up anoth down on melodic minor.

    But that some old school stuff just play it how you hear it.

  8. I ask because Ive always played it (at least within my excercises) the same way ascending and descending and wanted to know if that was wrong, and if so why?
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Are you playing Jazz?
  10. Yes, I am playing jazz, but as opposed to what. One song ive put some time into is Autumn Leaves (e minor) and if I wanted to use melodic minor for a solo what rules would guide me beyond my own ears.
  11. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    I think the dude was some guy from europe that went by JS Bach..;)
  12. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    The chords and the melody are a good guide :) With melodic minor - it's the major 6th and major 7th. The major 6th in particular - because it's this that distinguishes it from harmonic minor. Cannonball Adderley's version of Autumn Leaves (From "Something' Else") is a good example - listen for the major 6ths, it's littered with 'em.
  13. "When you put a shell to your ear it is not sound of crashing waves you are hearing. Its the amplified current of your own bloodstream. It was your self pulse that created that post human illusion of me; entireless heart pumping out an ocean of lies and I foolishly tried filling impossible shoes resulting in my stumblings as I fell into the trap of making a woman my element. Now I just cant get comfortable being out of you."

    Fahwwwk!! ......What is that??

  14. Its actually an excerpt from the song "come come now" by Sage Francis. I thought it was kinda cool so I put it in there for yall to see. What do you think?
  15. hard to explain...
    It's seems to do all the explaining itself. If you've ever been in the situation described, or one like it. It makes you stop and think.. actually more like reflect.
    I think it's more sad than anything though.
    attractive, but saddening.
    I feel fortunate to have read it.
    Thanx for that

  16. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    You have to look at the context. The subject of jazz minor is often difficult to embrace at first because of the varying types of 6ths and 7ths used. In Autumn leaves, you are faced with the following changes in Emi:

    Ami7 / D7 / GMa7 / CMa7(#4) / F#mi7b5 / B7alt (or, if you prefer, B7b9) / Emi7 / (E7alt) / ....

    If you were to use the E Melodic minor scale, that would give you the following:
    E, F#, G, A B, C#, D#, E

    When you combine that with the changes, you can see that the "raised" 6th (C#) and 7th (D#) clash with most of the chords: Ami, D7, CMa7, and F#mi7b5 all contain C naturals (and imply D naturals in the related "chord scales", if you adhere to that way of thinking), and B7 alt contains and/or implies C, D, and D#.

    So what do you do? Eventually, you just follow your ears. But until your ears are sending a clear message, you can apply theory to the situation to find out what will most likely work, and let your ears take it from there. In this case, the theory suggests that you'd want to play from E natural minor (otherwise known as G Major) for the entire sequence up through the F#mi7b5 chord, then add the D# to the set of "acceptable notes" over the B7alt chord. THEN, when you get to the Emi7, you can use whatever form of minor you're hearing at that point...this is where many jazz players will use the raised 6th and 7th of melodic minor. But really, it's up to what you're hearing at that point.

    Also, MOLE E brings up an interesting point about following the melody: In Autumn Leaves, the melody in bar 6 of the head - B, C#, D#, (G) - does NOT support either the C or the D in the chord, and yet most jazz players will play an altered B7 chord at that point in the changes when inprovising. Again, it's all about what you're hearing at that point...so season to taste.

    Hope this helps.

    (Edit: changed key of examples to match the question)
  17. That was an excellent post. That information has helped me tremendously, Thanks again.