How to study the melodic minor scale?

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  1. omolina
    Member

    Hi!!! I am studying the different modes of melodic minor scale, but I would like to know how to think at the time of study. I have to think of them as separate modes?, think of the scale to which they belong?, or thinking patterns?, which I think to play them around the neck?

  2. Poparad
    Member

    Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

    Secret
  3. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Actually thats a personal choice that applies to every scale - if if you think over the specific chord or the tonal center. I was really surprised when Kurt told in a workshop here in Lisbon he reduced everything to major, minor harmonic, minor melodic or symetrical scales. He said he used cardboxes to get used to it.

    The more tunes you play or solos you write the more you will get it, I found a middle way that´s good to me. For example if I am in Cmaj7 and a Em7 or Am7 shows up I dont think phrygian or eolian, I think in Cmajor7. Or if its a really tonal tune like the beginning of Skylark or At Long Last Love I just think of the tonal center.

    With the melodic minor scale you have to find what suits you best. I reduce the melodic minor to two chords: C melodic minor (which I also use for Ebmajt#5 and Am7b5 nat 9 if it comes after Cm7) and B altered (which I also use for Dsus4b9 and F7#11). G7 9b13 I can think about the actual chord. Am7b5 nat 9 on a II V I thin locrian nat 9. But this is the way I think, is sort of a middle way between one scale one chord and always relating to the first degree...

  4. geetarted
    Member

    I like to think of the only minor pentatonic that occurs in the melodic minor scale. On the second step/interval of the scale is a minor pentatonic. In C melodic minor you get a D pentatonic scale. All the harmonic uses of all the modes aside, it's a great open sound. 3..4 notes a string.. Combining 2 pentatonic shapes together.. To get the full scale out of this approach you just add the b9 and the natural 13th to the pentatonic.
    If in C melodic minor... with the D pentatonic.. add E flat and B to get all the notes of the scale. It pulls one out of the box of mode learning from the root and all the guitar book hang-ups.

    One way anywho.

  5. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Yes, that pentatonic is great (I actually prefer to think the major pentatonic on the IV step, which is exactly the same thing). Triads or pair of triads are good melodic options also.

  6. geetarted
    Member

    Ya! The Major pent approach is great and helps me simplify my ideas over altered dom chords.. Your on it man!!

  7. DGP
    Member

    Learn the modes all over the neck. Practice the scale beginning on different notes, and you'll be playing (and hearing) the modes. Once you have a good grasp of the geography of the scales, think of each as a pool of notes applicable in different harmonic situations.

    Most important, I think, is to learn the scales in the context of tunes -- that's where all the learning really happens. You can understand the different modes, where they fit in, and how they sound, but actually using them requires that you apply that understanding. I'd try not to get too overly-conceptual until you start fitting them into tunes. Then again, it's frustrating to play through scales you don't really know well, so definitely commit the scale to memory.

    Patternizing a scale is cool because you can find permutations that you like to hear. I think for study you can understand how a scale works without resorting to patterns, but patterns help you turn a scale into music. You don't even need to run a pattern up and down -- just a brief melodic lick can provide some powerful motives for solos. Apply the patterns to tunes, too. I can't stress that enough.

    Another thought: harmonize the scale in chords. This is what kurt does every time he learns a scale or chord. Try writing some tunes based on the progression of the scale... or play some solos in block chords.

    On guitar, it seems to make more sense to think in terms of the parent scale more than each individual mode. Sax / horn guys usually think of the modes, because they usually think in note names, but the fretboard seems to be set up for thinking in relationships more than note names, and for that you really only need to know what scale fits where. The rest is music and melody.

    Best of luck, man, and keep at it!

  8. omolina
    Member

    Thank you very much for your post!!!....

    Sometimes is easier for me to think the melodic minor scale like a major scale with the minor third. I studying thinking in a melodic minor scale more than differents modes, for example if a want to play G7 alt i think in a Ab melodic minor scale...

  9. smoke
    Member

    I saw this book advertised in the most recent Abersold catalog. No idea if it is any good so this is not an endorsement. Just something to consider, I suppose.

    http://www.amazon.com/Melodic-Minor-Handbook-Players-Perspective/dp/1562240862/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301444341&sr=8-1-fkmr1

  10. jorgemg1984
    Member

    A lot of people think Ab melodic minor on G7alt. I dont do that, i actually think G alt, but do it if it works for you. Dont fight against whats natural to you just because someone tells you its wrong - Kurt himself said he always related to the tonal center of chords on a workshop.

    That seems like a good book, i will buy it one day.


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