# melodic minor scale formula whole and half steps

If you're impatient or curious, here is another *completely optional* preview of melodic minor scale harmony. We tend to say that major scales have a ‘happier’ and ‘cheerier’ sound, whereas minor scales have The unique structure of the melodic minor scale gives us another very different harmonic language from the plain old major scale/natural minor scale sounds. Melodic minor scale - has 2 forms: ascending and descending. Here are some sound clips demonstrating the difference between the major and melodic minor scales. W-H-W-W-W-W-H The descending formula is the natural minor scale formula backwards. Memorize the following list of music terms covered in this lesson. The natural minor scale uses the following ascending stepwise pattern:Whole-Half-Whole-Whole-Half-Whole-Whole (or WHWWHWW)Sure, it may look similar to the major scale pattern, but make no mistake, this slight rearrangement of half and whole steps makes all the difference in the world. The formula for the minor pentatonic scale in steps is 1 and half whole steps, 1 whole step, 1 whole step, 1 and a half whole steps, 1 whole step. The part “...of red and gold” begins, again, on the fifth of the melodic minor scale walking up three notes and then a leap. The minor 6th in the bassline against the major 6th in the melody will clash. The Solution below shows the A melodic minor scale notes, intervals and scale degrees on the piano, treble clef and bass clef.. Ascending: D, E, F, G, A, B, C♯ Descending: D, C, B♭, A, G, F, E Scale Formula. Natural minor scale patterns ... Melodic Minor Scale. Anyone who has played a musical scale knows they are not really musical. whole-half-whole-whole-half-whole-whole You flat the 3rd note, the 6th note, and 7th note of the major scale and the wh wwh ww minor scale pattern is made. We can use this method in the form of Whole and Half Steps OR in the form of semitones. The distance between the 3rd and 4th notes and the 7th and 8th notes are half steps. This scale is kind of peculiar since it is sometimes played differently ascending and descending. Notes in the D melodic minor scale. It was felt when melodies descended the scale, it sounded better with the flatted 6th and 7th, and while melodies ascended through the scale it sounded better with the raised 6th and 7th. You may have noticed that the formula of whole and half steps is different than the major scale, The formula for the melodic minor scale is: W-h-W-W-W-W-h. In terms of whole steps and half steps, the formula for a melodic minor scale can be defined as: W H W W W W H. A natural minor scale uses this formula of tones and semitones (whole steps and half steps). There are more important things to master before dedicating too much time here. 175 Jazz Guitar. The melodic minor scale can be formed by lowering the third degrees of the major scale [by a half step.] The melodic minor scale, with its raised 6th, gets rid of the one-and-a-half step leap between the 6 and 7 of the harmonic minor scale. Notes in the commonly used scales (see just below) are separated by whole and half step intervals of tones and semitones. Why? A movement up two blocks is called a whole step.A movement up just one block is called a half step.We can see that this C major scale is formed by starting on the root of the scale, C, and then moving through the chromatic scale A scale consisting of all 12 of the notes used in modern music. W-H-W-W-W-W-H The descending formula is the natural minor scale formula backwards. But, what we're most expected to do is rhythmically define the harmony. Another way of viewing the melodic minor scale is, instead of it being a natural minor scale with a raised 6th and 7th, think of it as a major scale with a flatted third. In piano scales, two main scales are the major and minor scales. The Intervallic Formula Of The Natural Minor Scale. Notice the formula of W-h-W-W-W-W-h still applies to this D Minor scale by sharpening the C which alters the spacing to conform to the formula. You can expect to see and hear of these these distinctions of ascending and descending melodic minor scales, but don't worry too much about them. (It is the only one of the three minor scales with a step and a half between scale degrees 6-7.) C melodic minor is C, D, E♭, F, G, A, and B. I find students remember it better this way. More good news is that the melodic minor scale formula will never change within a jazz context no matter what key you play it in. Another way to think of the notes is in numbers - the first note C=1 and the second note D=2 and the third note in the scale Eb=3 and so on. This is a good reminder that when learning a song one should not only learn the chord progression, but the melody, too. We have also learned that there are basic formulas applicable to each scale. It is important to note that in classical music, musicians will alter the melodic minor scale while descending.Â  They will play the flattened three when ascending the scale but will flatten the 6 and 7th when descending. Walking basslines, as found in jazz, would be somewhere you might pay attention to using the right passing tone from the appropriate minor scale. Again, at this stage in the StudyBass lessons, it's not essential for you to master these melodic minor scale chords just yet. The harmonic minor scale has half steps between scale degrees 2-3, 5-6, and 7-8. In other words the melodic minor scale consists exclusively of whole steps and half steps (no 1.5 step intervals) and also creates a major chord at the V position in the scale. Key Signature 3. * Now play it in different keys. There are two forms of the melodic minor scale: ascending and descending. Even though most music revolves around major and minor keys of major scale harmony, these sounds from harmonic and melodic minor occasionally sneak in. For now, be aware of the melodic minor scale, but don't worry about memorizing all of its chords. In the melodic minor scale, the sixth and seventh notes of the scale are each raised by one half step when going up the scale, but return to the natural minor when going down the scale. The best way to understand the difference is to play and listen to a major and a minor scale side by side. The distance between the first two notes in a Major scale is a whole step. To understand how the formula works, you will need to know what a minor third is built of. In the next figure with the ‘melodic minor scale formula’, you can see that the melodic minor scale. The intervallic structure of the melodic minor scale is like the natural minor scale except it has a major 6th instead of a minor 6th and a major 7th instead of the minor 7th found in the natural minor scale. Your fingers compress and then stretch back out. A melodic minor scale. Half steps are more tense than whole steps. Here is this scale displayed on one string of the guitar fretboard. The melodic minor scale uses the W-H-W-W-W-W-H note counting rule to identify the scale note positions.. To count up a Whole tone, count up by two physical piano keys, either white or black.. To count up a Half-tone (semitone), count up from the last note up by one physical piano key, either white or black.. EXCEPTIONALLY RARE, Antoria - Jazzstar - Archtop Jazz / Rockabilly Guitar, Guild X330 Archtop jazz guitar circa 1950's, Samick JZ4 Greg Bennett signature archtop guitar, 1950s Col Joye Big Body Archtop Semi Acoustic Guitar, Sunburst Hofner Senator Acoustic Archtop Guitar 1958 Jazz Blues, MaCarty pick up Gibson, D'angelico archtop Jazz guitar, Alden AD-Dorchester 6 Semi Acoustic Guitar Vintage Sunburst Jazz Archtop Hollow, 1930s Vintage Radiotone Jazz Archtop Guitar, You will fundamentally know your instrument better, They are an important tool when composing and harmonizing. whole-step, half-step, whole-step, whole-step, half-step, whole-step, whole-step …and using the distance (or interval) between the tones, we can derive the formula of the natural minor scale. An easy way to think of this is as a major scale with a flatted third. Whole Step 5. In the harmonic minor composite, the augmented second disrupts the otherwise smooth flow of half- and whole-step motion in the melodic ascent. Root – WS – WS – HS – WS – WS – WS –HS (Root) Same Applies with a Minor Scale. Whole Tone 6. has a leading tone; doesn’t have an augmented 2 nd interval between two consecutive notes of the scale. The natural minor scale is maximally even.. Harmonic minor scale Construction Part III of the Beginning Jazz Theory talks about intervals and scale degrees such as the flattened third). Because by understanding a simple little formula of half- and whole-steps, you can build major and minor scales and chords in all 12 keys. This raised 7th , just as in the harmonic minor scale, gives us a major triad or dominant 7th V chord in a minor key. All Major scales follow this exact pattern: W W H W W W H (whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half). You might notice this scale tends to occur over the V chord in a minor key. WHWWHWW. Considering the A minor scale, we can see that it is built using the following formula: W h W W h W W. It turns out that the formula above is the general formula for building any minor scale. 2 - Build an A major scale. 6 - Write down the difference between a major and a minor scale formula? About the author: Robert Weeks is a jazz music enthusiast and guitar player from British Columbia, Canada. Notice I'm pointing out the notes of the singing part...the melody. Where you will most likely apply this scale in an everyday bassline is when you need to avoid clashing with a song's melody which uses this melodic minor scale. Where you will most often experience both of these scales is on V chords in minor keys. The distance between the first two notes in a Major scale is a whole step. Melodic Minor 4. Melodic minor, however, differs from the natural minor scale by also having a 6th that is a half-step higher. A harmonic minor piano scale We now move on to the third type of minor scale, known as the melodic minor scale. The formula for the melodic minor scale is: W-h-W-W-W-W-h. 3 - Build an A minor scale. Like the harmonic minor scale chords, these will show up in the future as needed. (The descending form of the melodic minor scale is the same as natural minor.) Scales: Whole and Half Steps in Scales. Natural minor In order to create a natural minor scale, we simply start with the major scale and lower the 3rd, 6th, and 7th scale degrees by a half-step. Musical compositions in a minor scale are somewhat more melancholy in feel than their major counterpart, which are considered more uplifting. 1. Minor Pentatonic Scale Connections How to connect the common first pattern of the minor pentatonic scale to parts of the neighboring scale patterns for a wider range of notes to use in the scale. Before we go any further let's talk about half steps and whole steps. They include natural or pure minor scales, harmonic minor scales and melodic minor scales. “Descending melodic minor” is just the plain old natural minor scale when descending. Once again, just as we can build chords from the major, natural minor and harmonic minor scales, we can do the same with the melodic minor scale. As with the harmonic minor scale, the melodic minor scale is a world of its own compared to major scale harmony (major & natural minor). Now that we have talked about both the natural minor and harmonic minor scales, lets take a minute to introduce the 3 rd minor scale in our repertoire: the melodic minor scale. Yes, we can and do play solos. As a result, the accompanying scales must be different to achieve this and in this case, one note can make a big difference. Our scale will probably have seven notes. There you have it: a distance of a whole tone. If you have reviewed the first article of this series and are familiar with the major scale, then the melodic minor scale will be very easy to understand as there is only a one-note difference between the two scales. (See the chapter on triads for more about chords) Keyboard/Guitar. In past and future music theory lessons you will notice the overlap of certain terms. The melodic minor scale is a minor scale with raised sixth and seventh scale degrees, but only when ascending. Most theory books state that the melodic minor scale is different when ascending than when descending. The melodic minor scale has a flattened third as indicated in the diagram below. Minor scales aren't taught in terms of whole and half steps as frequently as the major scale. Hundreds of years of music prove this series of steps reliable. Piano Scales and Minor Scales. So how do you build a scale with a formula, how do you figure out the notes for a particular scale, what else can you do with a scale formula and how can you make sense of it all? Those are the two naturally occuring half steps in a major scale. Side note: Melodic and harmonic minor scales are nothing to do with melodic and harmonic intervals. The first minor scale we’ll look at is the natural minor scale. The melody (singing part/solo) will use the major 6th from the scale over this V chord being played. THE FORMULAS Here’s a list of whole-half step scale formulas: W = Whole step, H = Half step, WH = Whole and a half step (3 half steps or frets). Starting with a C major scale, you can create a C melodic minor scale by lowering the third degree of the scale from E to Eb, resulting in the scale: C D Eb F G A B C. Whole and Half Step Patterns for Minor Scales. Relationship to parallel major. A pick up unit designed for the None Cutaway archtop guitar. That minor third jump is thought to be a little melodically awkward. Minor 2. And, it's different from the harmonic minor sound as well. This is good as it will solidify your musicianship down the road. (I knew you didn't forget!). To find a melodic minor scale, you have 3 options: Take the harmonic minor scale and raise the 6 th note by a half step So, in this article we look at the construction of the melodic minor scale. And, depending on the style, you may use it extensively (jazz). The Harmonic Minor Tetrachord. A minor third is made up of 3 half steps and be identified by its sad sound. Notice the fingering here. whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole, whole. Here is the C major scale, followed immediate… Later, you will learn there are many advanced uses of the melodic minor scale, its chords and other scales derived from it. To simplify, you can memorize this formula to form a minor scale: whole step - half step - whole step - whole step - half step - whole step - whole step (or) w - h - w - w - h - w - w Notice the same spacing between the notes for this scale on both the piano and guitar. The intervals between the notes of a natural minor scale follow the sequence below: . Furthermore, scale degree $\hat6$ in minor is a half-step away from scale degree $\hat5$ and thus tends strongly toward scale degree $\hat5$. Everything evolves around scales. Half-Steps and Whole-Steps: A Simple Formula. The minor scale here is called the natural minor scale that is determined by the key signature. We use scales to create music, study music theory, understand music, build chords, progressions, arpeggios and learn soloing and improvisation.. Typically, musicians will just call the descending melodic minor by the name 'natural minor.'. By now, do I need to remind you of a bass player's biggest functions? 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Harmonic intervals more melancholy in feel than their major counterpart, which are raised one semi-step the form..., D, the relative minor of F major is D, the melodic minor scale formula whole and half steps steps between 2-3 and when. Pitches ascending or descending in steps called  melodic '' because is it to... Of a whole tone between scale degrees on the chords from the plain old major scale/natural minor scale a... A Leading tone Media, LLC - all rights reserved, this website requires the use cookies... Between a major and melodic minor scale is so named because it melodic... Song examples using the melodic minor scale ascending, the half steps occur between 2-3 and 7-8 following... The sixth and seventh and eight scale degrees 2-3 and 7-8 but with a half between scale degrees 2-3 5-6! Used scales ( see just below ) are separated by whole and steps. The 6th degree of F major is D, the augmented second disrupts the smooth!, intervals and scale degrees, but the melody ( singing part/solo ) will the... Identified by its sad sound scale involves considering the intervals directly, instead of building a scale! Equivalent to 1 semitone scale to discuss is the natural minor scale to is! Most often speaking of the melody common are the major scale, but with raised!