Melodic Minor Mode 7 – The Altered Scale – Lesson 106

About Melodic Minor Mode 7 – The Altered Scale – Lesson 106

Level: Advanced

Melodic Minor Mode 7 – The Altered Scale – Lesson 106

In this lesson we cover the 7th mode of the Melodic Minor Scale – The Super-Locrian or “Altered” Scale.

The 7th mode is the “altered” scale. It plays over the V chord in both Major & minor.

The first backing track is ii-V-i in E minor (F#m7b5 – B7 alt – Em)

The second backing track is ii-V-I in E Major (F#m7 – B7 alt – EMaj7)

Syn’s Tips

Nice! So now we have some really great options to play over our "V" chord to add to our "ii" and "I/i" chords.

Hopefully you remember our Tritone Sub for the "V" chord as well which you'd play a Lydian Dominant over. Well it's a small world ladies and gentlemen because the Lydian Dominant over the Tritone Sub, belongs to the same Melodic Minor scale as the Super Locrian over the "V" chord.

For example, if you have a "ii V I" progression in the key of "E", the "V" chord would be a B7 and you would play a "B" Super Locrian over that which is the 7th mode of C Melodic Minor. Well the Tritone Substitution for that B7 would be an F7 and you would want to play an "F" Lydian Dominant over that which is the 4th mode of.....C Melodic Minor. See how they are all intertwined?

So you may be asking yourself, "why don't you just think of it as the same scale?" and that is simply explained by, Context. It's all good to think of it as the same thing at first. This helps to get you playing this stuff faster than breaking it all up but once you get familiar with the modes of Melodic Minor, it's best to deconstruct everything so that you can use one scale in a multitude of ways. If you just run up and down the scale, it will sound just like that, and your playing will have little depth but if you apply a different element each time, it will sound like your musical pockets run incredibly deep, which they will.

For example, each time you come across the "V" chord when you're playing to the backing track, play a different concept we've discussed over it each time. Let's say you play a Super Locrian over it the first time, next time play a C minor arpeggio over it(since we are in "E"). The next time play your Tritone Substitution but arpeggiate it meaning that you would play an F7 arpeggio. Next play a C minor9 arp and so on and so forth.

This is no small feat and will take years of hard to work make the material comfortable enough to play especially when considering that there are Arpeggios, Licks, Exercises, and Comping to apply. I still work on this every day, I'm obsessed with Substitutions, complex Harmony, and Technique. It's a never ending story and you really have to love it to pursue it deeply. You can help yourself out tho and make it as fun as possible. Don't get to the point of frustration over this stuff, go revisit a simpler lesson and play over it's backing track. Then come back to this and read the comments and see if anyone's brought some insight to the party that really works for you! And of course, ask us questions and post videos demonstrating issues you may be having so we can pinpoint exactly whats going on to best serve you!
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Lesson Comments

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Josh Arnold
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Josh Arnold So I watched this and it was so far above my head I thought there was no way I could begin to understand it. I spent some time working those chord progressions, learning how they sound, because honestly the theory is super difficult for me as a person. But as an ear guy, and as someone who breaks it down, these few little patterns begin to make total sense in all of these contexts. I still don't know the math behind it very well, but the sound they make, my ears are like homing devices and they definitely can tell as I got these patterns into these chord changes... there is more depth to the sound.
Josh Arnold
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Josh Arnold You guys are changing the game, Mr. Brian. A few of my friends I've shown this to arr thankful, con permiso, gracias.
Brian Haner Sr.
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Brian Haner Sr. It's ALL about your ear. The math is just a way to categorize and communicate this stuff. Bottom line is ALWAYS your ear. Does it sound good? Can you play it in a song? If so - you are ahead of 99% of the players out there.