Tag Archives: how to use melodic minor

5 Great ways to use a minMaj7 arpeggio

The minMaj7 arpeggio is a beautiful Minor sound that most of us probably associate with the Tonic minor chord in Melodic minor. You can however use it in a lot of other places as I will go over here today!

In this video I am going to take a minMaj7 arpeggio and show you how you can use it in 5 different contexts on different chords. All the examples are using chord progressions from well know standards so that you have a place where you can put it to use right away!

1. The minMaj on a Tonic Minor chord

The first example is using the minMaj7 arpeggio in the most basic way: On the Tonic minor chord. The example I am using is the first three bars of Solar, a reharmonized or embellished minor blues progression.

The line is starting with the CmMaj7 arpeggio and then really highlighting the maj7. From there it makes a small descending melody and skips up to the 9th(D). In the second bar it is again emphasizing the maj7th(B) and making a clear transition to Gm7 by walking up to the 3rd(Bb)

2. Locrian ♮2

The Locrian Natural 2, or somtimes called the Locrian #2 sound, is a half diminished chord with a ♮9. In this example I am using the first 3 bars of the famous jazz standard Stella By Starlight.

Since Locrian ♮2 is a melodic minor chord this is basically the melodic minor version of a half diminished sound. Since the m7b5 chord is an Em7b5, the corresponding melodic minor scale is G melodic minor and 

Again the line starts with the G minMaj7 arpeggio, and the target note is the maj7(F#) which is then here the ♮9 over the Em7b5. The next part of the line is another upperstructure that works well for the Locrian ♮2 sound: The major triad on the 7th of the chord, which here is a D major triad.

On the A7 the line consists of a C#dim melody with some approach notes. The line resolves to the 9th of Cm7.

3. Lydian Dominant

One of the most common places to apply melodic minor is on the Lydian dominants. Any dominant that doesn’t resolve a 4th up or a 5th down we can make into a Lydian b7 chord.

The example I am using here is from the standard Take The A Train where I am using the minMaj7 arpeggio on the D7 which is a V of V. The melodic minor scale that goes along with this  D7 is the A melodic minor.

The line on the Cmaj7 is some relatively simple C7 or C major pentatonic melodies which then moves to the D7 with a chromatic approach.

On the D7 I start the line with the A minMaj7 arpeggio. The line continues by chaining the AminMaj7 arpeggio together with an F#m7b5 arpeggio (which is the arpeggio from the 3rd of D7). The 2nd bar of the line is using a small scale run with an enclosure that finally resolves to the 5th(A) of Dm7.

4. The Altered Dominant

The other dominant that we often use from the melodic minor scale is the altered dominant. The example I am using here is a II V I in the key of C with the altered domiant G7. G7 altered scale is the same scale as Ab melodic minor so the arpeggio is in this case an AbminMaj7 arpeggio.

The line starts with a Dm pentatonic melody with a skip from the 5th to the root. From here it uses a descending Am 1 3 4 5 pattern. 

On the G7alt the line starts with the Ab minMaj7 arpeggio. From the G it continues with a Fm7(b5) arpeggio that then resolves to the 9th(D) of Cmaj7.

5. Dorian #4

Dorian #4 is the 4th mode of Harmonic minor, so this is the only example that is not coming out of the melodic minor sound. 

The Dorian #4 sound is a m7 chord with a 9,#11 and a 13. In this case I am using the first four bars of a Cm blues, and that means that the it’s the G harmonic minor scale and the G minMaj7 arpeggios.

Essentially the sound we could use to describe this sound with could be a chord consisting of a D major triad over a Cm7, since the extensions 9,#11,13 spell out a D triad in C.

In the example I first state the Cm7 sound in the beginning. The first two bars are coming out of an embellished Ebmaj7 arpeggio which is the arpeggio from the 3rd of Cm7.

in Bar 3 I start using the #4 sound. In this case this is done with the GmMaj7 arpeggio. First the G is encircled with A and F# and then the arpeggio is played ascending. The final notes in the bar extend the arpeggio by using the 7th and two more notes to form a 1st inversion D major triad.

In the 4th bar the line transitions into C7 to move on to Fm7. The line here is using F harmonic minor and the melody is based around an E diminished arpeggio with an added scale run.

Effective practice!

For anything we practice it is important that we make sure to check out where it can be applied. Any arpeggio is going to fit on a substantial number of chords and therefore it is important to spend time working on this aspect of exploring an arpeggio as well.

I hope you can use the material I covered here in your own lines and put the minMaj7 to use in some new contexts in your guitar solos!

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5 Great ways to use a minMaj7 arpeggio

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