Minor II-V-Is make up a large part of the jazz repertoire varying from wholesongs in minor keys (like Yesterdays, Beautiful Love and Minor Blues) totunes that have sections of minor tonality (such as Autumn Leaves, NoGreater Love and Softly As in a Morning Sunrise). Due to this, it is importantto be able to negotiate around them in any key. There are two ways of thinking about Minor II-V-Is; harmonic minor and melodic minor. This sessionis concerned with the latter; the melodic minor scale. The melodic minor scale is the ‘descending’ melodic minor scale used inclassical harmony. A simple way of remembering how they are constructedis ‘it’s the same as a Ionian scale (major scale) with the flattened 3
. Therefore C melodic minor will be :CDEbGABCOne of the challenges with playing over Minor II-V-Is is that each chord in theprogression comes from a different key. Rather than bombard you withtheory (and you’ll have to trust me on this) I’m going to label themaccordingly.
– the two chord in a melodic minor key is actually from the 6
mode of the melodic minor scale (sometimes called Locrian II). The alterations in thescale means that the II chord has a b5th naturally occurring in the chord. Soa II in a minor II-V-I in the key of C would look like this:D-7b5 which is the same as DØ the spelling is D F Ab C in root position.Because we are thinking of this chord as the II of C it is easy to forget that itdoesn’t actually come from the key of C (there is no Ab in Cmajor!) Think of itas being the 6
mode of the melodic minor scale. Therefore DØ comes fromF melodic minor. You can also think of it as coming from the key a minor 3
up from the root of the chord.
The five chord in a melodic minor key comes from the 7
mode of themelodic minor scale (often called the altered scale). The chord symbol forthis in the key of C would be G7alt. So which melodic minor scale does G7alt