Tag Archives: melodic minor guitar

This is Why Melodic Minor Is Awesome

Melodic minor is an awesome sound! It is a really beautiful rich minor sound. But sometimes we immediately get lost in Altered scale, Lydian dominant, Locrian Natural 2, etc and that is a pity because the tonic minor sound is certainly worth exploring.

In this video I am going to show you how to start using it, some of the things you can use to make lines and also how you can use it to get into some other great melodic minor sounds on other chords.

Hearing the sound in the chords

To have a place to use this, maybe take Autumn Leaves in G minor. (Sheet music)

In bars 7-8 there are two bars of tonic Gm.

A tonic minor chord is either a Gm6 or a GmMaj7 chord.

In a cadence that sounds like this:

Or like this:

In Autumn Leaves there is also a riff used on the Gm which is in fact a Gm6 arpeggio.

The Scale (The way we use it in Jazz🙂 )

A G minor melodic scale is G natural minor scale like G A Bb C D Eb F G where we change it so it has a maj6th and a maj7th:

G A Bb C D E F# G

If you play the scale it could be something like this:

You can also find Scale diagrams here: Scale, arpeggio and chord diagrams

In classical music, you use the melodic minor ascending and the natural minor descending.

That’s not how we do it in Jazz in part because that would mean that the one playing chords has to change the chord depending on the soloist playing descending or ascending melodies.

You can hear me play these two examples in the video if you want an idea about the difference:

Exploring the Harmony and the Sounds

If you want to improvise over a tonic minor chord then it is good to have the scale and also some arpeggios. Let’s start with the diatonic triads

So here we have the diatonic harmony of the scale in Triads: Gm Am Bbaug C D Edim F#dim Gm

The same with the 7th chords would be

The diatonic 7th chords are: GmMaj7, Am7, Bbmaj7(#5), C7, D7, Eø, F#ø

Now we have a lot of material to improvise over a GmMaj7, you just need to figure out what to use.

What arpeggios to use?

GmMaj7 is good, that is the diatonic arpeggio for G.

The Arpeggio from the 3rd: is always good: Bbmaj7(#5)
and Eø which is the same set of notes as Gm6

For the triads, you can use the same: Gm, Bbaug and Edim and the upper part of Bbmaj7(#5) which is a D major triad.

Making Lines with Melodic Minor

Now that we have a complete set of scale, arpeggios, and triads then making a few lines seems like a good idea.

The first example is combining Bbmaj7(#5), Eø and a D major triad. Really emphasizing the final maj6th.

The second example introduces some more chromaticism and uses E dim and Bb augmented triads.

Another great melodic resource in Melodic minor is Triad pairs. I have a few videos on this already:

Triad pairs in the altered scale

Triad Pairs – How To Use Them On a Minor Blues

In the example below I am using a Edim and D major triad pair over the Gm6 chord:

The great thing about Melodic Minor

A great aspect of Melodic minor is that the lines that fit one of the chords also mostly works over other sounds. In this way you can use a Gm6 line as an F#7 altered:

Or a Lydian dominant sound like this C7 backdoor dominant in D major:

A great progression for Melodic Minor: Minor Blues

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Melodic Minor – How to Make Beautiful Lines

Melodic Minor is a huge part of the sound of Jazz and especially Modern Jazz. In this video, I am going to go over how you make some great Melodic Minor Licks. In the examples, I will also breakdown the way I am thinking and which arpeggios and melodic devices I use in the lines.

Of course, I am using some of the arpeggios that you need to know to work with melodic minor, but there are also a few great options that most people don’t get around to mentioning because they are not considered a part of the diatonic arpeggio set.

The Melodic Minor Scale

The melodic minor scale is a minor scale with a major 6th or major 7th. In the key of C this is:

C D Eb F G A B C

1 2 b3 4 5 6 7 8

The scale is shown here below:

#1 The mMaj9th arpeggio

This line is build around the CmMaj7th arpeggio in bar 1. The 2nd bar also contains a part made using leading notes for chord tones.

#2 Ebmaj7(#5)

This line is chaining together two arpeggios from the Scale: Ebmaj7(#5) and CmMaj. The 2nd bar is made using chromaticism and a Cm triad.

#3 The Augmented Triad

One of the most flexible and useful parts of the of the sound of the scale is the augmented triad. In this example I am combining the Augmented triad with a Dsus4 triad. The Dsus4 is a good way to emphasize the extensions of 9 and 6th on the Cm chord.

The 2nd bar is mainly using some chromaticism and repeats the augmented triad in a higher octave.

If you want to check out more Melodic Minor material in terms of triads and arpeggios then have a look at this article: Melodic Minor – The Things You Need to Know

#4 Dom7th#5 arpeggios (a great secret weapon)

The B7(#5) arpeggio is a great arpeggio to use on a Cm melodic chord like CmMaj7 or Cm6. The arpeggio contains the augmented triad and the A adds a nice set of colors on the chord:

B7(#5) : B Eb G A

Relative to C: Maj7 3rd 5th 6th

#5 The G7(#5) and Gsus4

The G7(#5) is another way to use a non-diatonic arpeggio on a CmMaj7 chord. In the example below I am combining it with a Gsus4 triad, which is also a good device for a CmMaj7 arpeggio.

Using Melodic Minor on a Minor Blues

If you want to learn how to use Melodic minor in the context of a minor blues then check out this lesson:

Get ALL the basics down

Check out what you really need in Melodic minor: Diatonic chords, triads, and quartal arpeggios:

Things you NEED to know in Melodic minor

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