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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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The Melodic Minor Scale

The melodic minor scale is the third member of the minor family group of scales. Bringing this scale into the picture makes the minor key seem even more complex. The major mode has only one form, whereas the minor mode has three—natural, harmonic, and melodic. So why is the minor key so complicated? Really, it is very much a holdover from classical music theory.

Classical composers were dissatisfied with the way in which the natural minor mode lent itself to their purposes. Although beautiful in themselves, the harmonies of the natural minor scale were not incisive enough for the dramatic kind of narrative favored by classical composers. To remedy this problem, the first step was sharpening the seventh, giving rise to ...

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