What Makes the Melodic Minor Scale So … Melodic?

Find out why this pattern favored by metal shredders and jazz gurus is one of the most accurately named modes.

Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Advanced
Lesson Overview:
• Learn about the entire harmonic universe of the melodic minor scale.
• Understand how to match the different modes to the appropriate chords.
• Develop a deeper understanding of altered dominants.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

It's interesting how scales develop their names. In particular, what makes Super Locrian super? I'm sure there are a whole host of reasons/theories surrounding that one, but let's save that for another time. Today I want to focus on a different scale that somehow has earned the most admirable of adjectives—the melodic minor scale. The name might lead one to believe that this particular group of notes is the only way to be “melodic" on your instrument. Can we all agree that isn't the case? Cool. Let's move on.

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You could WIN a Greenhouse Effects Deity in This week's All-new giveaway! Ends December 15, 2021.

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Sam Fender shares a moment with his saxophonist and childhood friend, Johnny "Blue Hat" Davis, at London's O2 Brixton Academy in September 2021.

Photo by Linda Brindley

The British songwriter traversed the bleak thoroughfares of his past while writing his autobiographical sophomore album, Seventeen Going Under—a tale of growing up down-and-out, set to an epic chorus of Jazzmasters and soaring sax.

British songwriter Sam Fender hails from North Shields, England, an industrial coastal port town near the North Sea, about eight miles northeast of Newcastle upon Tyne. Fender grew up in this small village, which he calls "a drinking town with a fishing problem." He lived there with his mother on a council estate, a type of British public housing. This is the mise-en-scène for Sam Fender's coming-of-age autobiographical new album, Seventeen Going Under. On the album's cover, a photograph shows Sam sitting on a brick stoop.

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