Fundamentals of
SCALES AND KEY SIGNATURES

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10. Melodic Minor Scale Structure.

a. Ascending. The formula for the ascending melodic minor scale is m L M. Unlike other major and minor scales, the ascending form of the melodic minor scale is different from its descending form. The intervals between the notes of the ascending melodic minor scale are two half steps, one half step, two half steps, two half steps, two half steps, two half steps, one half step (Figure 3-17).


Figure 3-17: Melodic Minor Structure (Ascending).

b. Raise the sixth and seventh scales degrees of a natural minor scale one half step to form the ascending melodic minor scale (Figure 3-18).


Figure 3-18: Melodic Minor (Ascending).

c. Descending. The formula for a descending melodic minor scale is N L m. The intervals between the notes are the same as the intervals of a descending natural minor scale, or two half steps, two half steps, one half step, two half steps, two half steps, one half step, two half steps (Figure 3-19).


Figure 3-19: Melodic Minor Structure (Descending).

d. The raised sixth (submediant) and raised seventh (leading tone) scale degrees of the ascending melodic minor scale are lowered in the descending melodic minor scale. Therefore, the descending melodic minor scale is identical to the descending natural minor scale (Figure 3-20).


Figure 3-20: Melodic Minor (Descending).


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