In this Music Theory For Bass lesson we look at the modes of the melodic minor scale

What Is The Melodic Minor Scale?

The melodic minor scale is a variation on the natural minor scale. It contains a flattened third like the Natural Minor, but the sixth and seventh are major instead of minor.

Melodic MinorC D Eb F G A B1 2 b3 4 5 6 7

Natural MinorC D Eb F G Ab Bb1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

Modes Of The Melodic Minor Scale

The modes in the key of C Melodic Minor are as follows:

C Melodic Minor – C D Eb F G A B
D Dorian b9 – D Eb F G A B C
Eb Lydian Augmented – Eb F G A B C D
F Lydian Dominant – F G A B C D Eb
G Mixolydian b13 – G A B C D Eb F
A Aeolian b5 – A B C D Eb F G
B Superlocrian – B C D Eb F G A

Practice these scales using the notation below. A one-octave shape is provided in the TAB, but don’t forget that it is important to learn different patterns for every scale so you are prepared to play it anywhere on the neck and starting on any finger. Once you feel comfortable with these shapes, try starting the scales on different fingers and work out other patterns.

Applying Modes

If learning all of these new scale patterns seems overwhelming, try stripping each one back to its triad and go from there. It is actually a lot more important to know the chords associated with a scale than it is to know the modes. This is because our function as bass players is to outline the harmony of the chord progression, so chord tones are essential.

To find a chord within a scale, start with the root and take every other note. For a triad, you should have three notes – Root, Third and Fifth.

To create a Seventh Chord, add another third to the triad.

Triads

Seventh Chords

For more information on modes, click here, and to find out how to build the modes of the harmonic minor scale click here

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