Harmonic and melodic minor scales

When is the proper time to use harmonic and melodic scales while jamming? Wouldn't it sound weird to use an E flat while playing in C major?

1 Answer


Harmonic minor and melodic minor scales are typically best used over a minor key. However some songs in major keys are tolerant of minor scales played over the top; particularly rock songs. The flat 3 is a pretty common note to hit when jamming as it can give a bit of a rock feel. Same goes for the flat 7. The flat 6 can be used as well, but not as freely. It could be used as a passing tone between the fifth and sixth, or as a tension note leading down to the five.

As an example, a song in a major key that uses a minor 4 chord (iv) would contain that lowered sixth degree. A iv chord in a major key will normally resolve down to the tonic chord (I). When this happens the flat sixth will resolve down to the 5. Hope that helps!

Jan 12, 2015

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