melodic minor - say what now?
Ok. So why on earth is melodic minor played differently depending on whether your ascending or descending? Surely then your going up one scale and down another? This makes no sense to me.
And what chords it "supposed" to be typically played over?
And on a somewhat related subject can someone remind what is meant by 'tonic'? (Not the drink...lol)
What you're describing is the traditional classical form. In Jazz, it's the same in both directions.
The classical way stems from the fact that the melodic minor was a modified form of the harmonic minor. It follows the common practice of raising both the 6th and 7th degrees in ascending melodic phrases. As this isn't a common practice in descending melodies, it was felt better to restore it to its natural unmodified form.
This is also the reason that the natural minor is often ignored in traditional classical studies. Students, typically, practise the harmonic and melodic forms only as the natural is already included in the descending form of the melodic minor.
It can be played over chords that agree with its notes.
The TONIC is the first note and tonal (key) centre of a scale.
To understand the melodic minor, it's best to look at it historically.
We start out with the natural minor - because that didn't need sharps or flats. But as harmony began to develop, composers found that the V7->I cadence available in major keys (like G7->C) wasn't available. In order to get that tension/release, you have to raise one note in the V chord. If you're in Am, you want an E7 chord - and that needs G#. Since G is the seventh note of the Am scale, the harmonic minor raises the seventh step to create that tension/release. (And it's called "harmonic" because of its role in creating that harmony.)
But singers hated it.
Singers like half steps and whole steps. The augmented second created in the harmonic minor - the distance between F and G# - is kind of tough to sing. If we raise the F to F#, you get all half steps and whole steps... so it's much easier for the vocalists.
Trouble is, if your melody spends much time in the "top half" of the scale, it doesn't sound minor at all. That's because the scale is identical to the major scale, except for the third:
The best way to make it singable AND minor is to use extra half steps. The melodic minor is really a nine-note scale... although it's taught in an ascending and descending version, you can find lots of pieces where the F is used ascending and/or the F# descending. But most music uses F# ascending and F descending (and G# in the harmony whenever it's needed for tension, regardless of the melody's direction).
The chords part of the question is tricky; because it's got nine notes, you have lots of choices. Basically, it can be used over any chord in the minor key, plus any chord that's not in the key, but has the same notes as the scale (like a C+ chord in Am)
Tonic is simply the most important note, the one that sets the key. A natural minor and C major both have the same set of notes, but different tonal centers. Tonal center is synonymous with "modality" - the thing that makes one mode different from another.
Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL
Melodic Minor - Ascending =1,2,b3,4,5,6,7---------> One flat= b3
Melodic Minor -Descending= 1,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7------> 3flats=b3,b6,b7
I don't think I need to explain why they are completely different from each other.
" Stalking is a sign of desperateness, a psychological problem hence a disease."
ok thanks for the background info. After playing around with, I actually prefer the classical way of using it, even though it seemed kinda absurd to call it one scale when its played differently up n down. But it makes for a good effect...even if a bit subtle for the average listener to appreciate. But hey, guitar nerds like me will! lol :D
But it makes for a good effect...even if a bit subtle for the average listener to appreciate.
Never underestimate the ability of 'average' people to 'get' music. They might not be able to explain verbally what happened but people are very much able to hear the effects of this. Consider the works of Yann Tiersen or Jeremy Soule, for example. Both make soundtracks for movies that without any exception always manage to move the audience, despite the fact that most of those people couldn't analyse those tracks if their lives depended on it.
I'm pretty average, but I picked right up on it when I heard a jazzer buddy of mine jamming onstage with a blues band (friends of mine) in a local club and he was soloing in melodic minor. Not traditional blues stuff, but it worked mighty well!
I asked him about it after he came offstage and he said yeah, he'd been working with a student teaching him the melodic minor scale, so it just came naturally.
"A cheerful heart is good medicine."