HomeLJS Podcast3 Melodic Minor Scale Jazz Improv Hacks

3 Melodic Minor Scale Jazz Improv Hacks

The melodic minor scale is one of those scales that can be used to explain what we call “chord scale theory” in jazz improvisation. It’s essentially like the mixture of a minor scale and a major scale, having the major third included in it, and you can do all sorts of different cool things, playing the melodic minor scale in different sorts of ways over top of different kinds of chords.

Well, in today’s episode, I want to simplify all of that. Forget about all of the possibilities that you could use the melodic minor scale and jazz improvisation and narrow it down to three. That, I think, will be really helpful for you for using the melodic minor scale.

Welcome to episode 423

In this episode:

The melodic minor scale is a versatile scale in jazz improvisation.

  1. Simplify the approach by focusing on three specific applications of the melodic minor scale.
  2. Scales are tools for conceptualizing note choices, not the primary resource for improvisation.
  3. The first application is using the melodic minor scale a minor third up from a half-diminished chord.
  4. The second application is using the melodic minor scale a half step up from a dominant seventh chord, creating an altered sound.
  5. The third application is using the melodic minor scale of the minor chord itself.
  6. The melodic minor scale can provide altered sounds and substitutions for minor chords.
  7. Understanding the melodic minor scale and its applications help develop patterns and muscle memory for improvisation.
  8. Jazz musicians focus on hearing the scale’s sound rather than analyzing each note.
  9. The melodic minor scale provides pitch collections that sound good over specific chords in jazz standards.

Important Links:
Free Guide to learning standards by ear: Learn Jazz Standards the Smart Way
LJS Inner Circle Membership
Listen to the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast

Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstrahttp://www.brentvaartstra.com
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for learnjazzstandards.com which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."

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