released

The melodic minor scale and its scales and chords

Back to content

In the following we build a tonal system on the 7-degree melodic minor scale. Melodic minor differs from the major scale only by one tone, namely the minor instead of the major third. But this has serious consequences:

MM1 - ImMaj7:
The ImMaj7 chord formed from the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th tone is a minor chord with a major seventh.

MM2 - IIm7:
From the second note, here the D, i.e. C melodic minor from note D, the following scale MM2 results:

The IIm7 chord formed from the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th tone is a minor seventh chord. The scale corresponds to the Dorian mode with the exception of the b9 instead of the 9.

MM3 - IIImaj7#5:
From the third note, here the Eb, i.e. C melodic minor from the Eb note, the following scale MM3 results:

The IIImaj7#5 chord, here Ebmaj7#5, formed from the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th note, is a Major7 chord with an augmented fifth.

MM4 (Mixo#11 oder Lydianb7) - IV7#11:
From the fourth note, here the F, i.e. C melodic minor from the note F, the following scale MM4 results:

The IV7 chord, here F7, formed from the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th tone is a dominant seventh chord. Except for the b7, MM4 is identical to the Lydian mode, which is why it is often referred to as Lydianb7 in English-speaking countries. However, since it is used as the dominant scale, the name Mixo#11 is more appropriate, because apart from #11 it is also identical to the Mixolydian mode. The usual use of the IV7#11 is as a so-called secondary dominant as a replacement for the dominant on the fifth degree. We will look at that later.

MM5 - V7:
From the fifth note, here the G, i.e. C melodic minor from the note G, the following scale MM5 results:

The V7 chord, here G7, formed from the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th tone is a dominant 7th chord.

MM6 (Locrian9) - VIm7b5:
From the sixth note, here the Ab, i.e. C melodic minor from the Ab, the following scale MM6 results:

The VIm7b5 chord, here Abm7b5, formed from the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th note, is a semi-diminished minor chord with a diminished fifth (b5). MM6 is identical to the Locrian mode except for the 9, therefore it is also called Locrian9.

MM7 (altered):
The following scale MM7 results from the seventh note, here the B, i.e. C melodic minor from note B:

The chord to be formed is the so-called altered dominant seventh chord with the options b9, #9 and b13. It is usually on the fifth level and can be resolved to major or minor.

Resumé melodic minor:

The following chords and scales can be derived from the melodic minor scale:

A characteristic feature of the melodic minor scale is that it contains three dominant seventh chords. The dominant seventh chords at the 4th (Mixo #11) and 7th (altered) degree contain the characteristic #11.