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Old 2007-04-22, 05:55
JonR JonR is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 67
Originally Posted by \m/Eat At Joe's\m/
hang on a minute. when i was learning piano melodic minor was minor ascending, more of a major feel descending. which means you could only really use it for ascending/descending scalar type passages. as far as chord progression, i have no idea. maybe something with tonic major??? who knows
The classical concept is that ascending melodic minor has a raised 6th and 7th. In A minor:
A B C D E F# G# A
This is in order to make a major-type resolution to the upper tonic (A).
When descending, the scale reverts to natural minor:
A G F E D C B A.
IOW, the descending sound is more minor in feel than the ascending one. (This applies to composition, not improvisation.)

Melodic minor is not really associated with any chord progressions per se. The ascending form would be used over the V7 chord (E7 in A minor), but not anywhere else.

In jazz, however, melodic minor is used in both directions as an improvisation scale. Its first mode is used over the tonic chord in a minor key. IOW, A melodic minor on an Am chord in the key of A minor. (The chord might be written as Am(maj7), or Am6.)
More interestingly - as Unanything says - modes of melodic minor are used over other chords, often in major keys.

E.g., for an E7 chord (in key of A minor or A major), a jazz player might use the "E altered" scale, which is 7th mode of F melodic minor. This gives the root, 3rd and 7th of the chord (E, G#, D), plus a b5 and #5 (Bb, C) and b9 and #9 (F, G). Jazz practice is to use it to resolve to A (melodic) minor or A major. But nothing says you have to...

The other common use of a melodic minor mode is "lydian dominant" = 4th mode melodic minor. E.g., D melodic minor over a G7 chord. This is basically normal G mixolydian, but with a raised 4th: G A B C# D E F G.
In jazz, this chord typically resolves down a half-step, to F# major or F#m. Or it can resolve a whole step up - to A major. (It's not normally used to resolve to C major, although it could be.)
(Its nothing to do with the key of D minor. G7 wouldn't be used in that key.)

Another cool, but rarer, mode is "phrygian natural 6".
Over an Em chord, instead of E phrygian, you could play the D melodic minor scale = E phrygian natural 6: E-F-G-A-B-C#-D-E. A slightly brighter sound than plain E phrygian.
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