• A Quick Guide To The Fingering Of The Melodic Minor Scale In All Twelve Keys

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    You want to learn the proper fingering of the melodic minor scale in all twelve keys and that’s why you arrived at this page.

    Believe it or not, playing a given scale in all twelve keys can be frustrating without a proper understanding of the right fingers to play the scale with. Although we’ve covered the melodic minor scale in a previous post, we’ve not dedicated a lesson to learning its fingering.

    Today’s lesson will start out with a review of the melodic minor scale, before proceeding to its fingering for both hands. At end of this lesson, I’ll be really sure that you’ll be able to effortlessly play the melodic minor scale with both hands, and in all twelve keys.

    A Review On The Melodic Minor Scale

    Let’s start from the scratch by defining a musical scale.

    Jermaine Griggs has given us the most basic definition of a musical scale. Check it out:

    A scale is a ladder of notes.

    As simple as this definition may seem, I appreciate it because it takes us back to the Latin word scala, where the English word ‘scale’ is derived from.

    The musical scale looks like a ladder in ways more than one:

    • The horizontal support for the foot (aka – “rungs”) on the ladder are the notes and traditional scales usually have eight rungs.
    • The ladder can be used to ascend or descend and so is the musical scale.

    In a nutshell, a succession of notes in ascending and descending order using a fixed formula produces a scale. A common example is the C natural major scale:

    …which can be formed by playing all the white notes on the keyboard in a regular succession, from C:

    …to C:

    “Alright! Let’s Get Down With The Melodic Minor Scale…”

    Every key has its scale which outlines all the notes in that key – major scales for the major key and minor scales for the minor key. The melodic minor scale is one of the long-established (aka – “traditional“) scales in music.

    For several centuries now, the melodic minor scale has been associated with the minor key as a chromatic variant of the natural minor scale, which is the oldest known scale of the minor key.

    The melodic minor scale can be derived from the natural minor scale by raising its sixth and seventh tones. Raising the sixth and seventh tones of the A natural minor scale:

    …which are F and G:

    …by a half step (to F# and G#):

    …produces the A melodic minor scale:

    Following the same procedure, you can form the melodic minor scale in all twelve keys.

    “Here’s The Melodic Minor Scale In All 12 Keys”

    C melodic minor scale:

    C# melodic minor scale:

    D melodic minor scale:

    Eb melodic minor scale:

    E melodic minor scale:

    F melodic minor scale:

    F# melodic minor scale:

    G melodic minor scale:

    Ab melodic minor scale:

    A melodic minor scale:

    Bb melodic minor scale:

    B melodic minor scale:

    The Fingering Of The Melodic Minor Scale In All Twelve Keys

    Before going any further into exploring the proper fingering for the melodic minor scale in all twelve keys, let’s talk about the importance of fingering.

    “Why Is The Fingering Of A Scale Important?”

    One of the common challenges a vast majority of pianists have is fingering. Although there’s no absolute manner of using the fingers on the piano, there are long-established fingering guidelines that have been tested and trusted by musicians of all eras.

    Learning and mastering the fingering technique for the melodic minor scale may be boring initially, but with practice comes mastering, and when mastered, helps the pianist play with the slightest mechanical difficulty.

    You may not really appreciate the value of fingering if you’ve not found yourself in a situation where you want to play something on the piano and for one reason or the other, you’re not able to execute it smoothly.

    Fingering is important for a variety of reasons, the most common being that it guides you into the most comfortable way a scale can be played with effortless ease.

    Let’s go ahead and learn the proper fingers to use on each hand when playing the melodic minor scale in all twelve keys.

    Right Hand Fingering Of The Melodic Minor Scale In All Twelve Keys

    On the right hand, here’s how the fingers are numbered from left to right…

    Thumb (1)

    Index finger (2)

    Middle finger (3)

    Ring finger (4)

    Pinky finger (5)

    C melodic minor scale:

    …1, 2,3 – 1,2,3,4 (repeat severally or end with 5.)

    C# melodic minor scale:

    …2,3 – 1,2,3,4 – 1 (repeat severally or end with 2.)

    D melodic minor scale:

    …1,2,3 – 1,2,3,4 (repeat severally or end with 5.)

    Eb melodic minor scale:

    …3 – 1,2,3,4 – 1,2 (repeat severally or end with 3.)

    E melodic minor scale:

    …1,2,3 – 1,2,3,4 (repeat severally or end with 5.)

    F melodic minor scale:
    …1,2,3,4 – 1,2,3, (repeat severally or end with 4.)

    F# melodic minor scale:

    …2,3 – 1,2,3,4 – 1 (repeat severally or end with 2.)

    G melodic minor scale:

    …1,2,3,4 – 1,2,3, (repeat severally or end with 4.)

    Ab melodic minor scale:

    …3,4 – 1,2,3, – 1,2 (repeat severally or end with 3.)

    A melodic minor scale:

    …1,2,3 – 1,2,3,4 (repeat severally or end with 5.)

    Bb melodic minor scale:

    …4 – 1,2,3 – 1,2,3 (repeat severally or end with 4.)

    B melodic minor scale:
    …1,2,3 – 1,2,3,4 (repeat severally or end with 5.)

    Left Hand Fingering Of The Melodic Minor Scale In All Twelve Keys

    Playing scales on the left hand can be challenging no doubt. However, with practice anyone can master how to play the melodic minor scale on the left hand.

    Check out how the fingers are numbered from left to right…

    Pinky finger (5)

    Ring finger (4)

    Middle finger (3)

    Index finger (2)

    Thumb (1)

    …the same numbers but in reverse order.

    C melodic minor scale:

    …start with 5, then 4,3,2,1 – 3,2,1 (which can be repeated severally.)

    C# melodic minor scale:

    …3,2,1 – 4,3,2,1 (repeat severally or end with 3.)

    D melodic minor scale:

    …start with 5, then 4,3,2,1 – 3,2,1 (which can be repeated severally.)

    Eb melodic minor scale:

    …2,1 – 4,3,2,1 – 3 (repeat severally or end with 2.)

    E melodic minor scale:

    …start with 5, then 4,3,2,1 – 3,2,1 (which can be repeated severally.)

    F melodic minor scale:
    …start with 5, then 4,3,2,1 – 3,2,1 (which can be repeated severally.)

    F# melodic minor scale:

    …4,3,2,1 – 3,2,1 (repeat severally or end with 4.)

    G melodic minor scale:

    …start with 5, then 4,3,2,1 – 3,2,1 (which can be repeated severally.)

    Ab melodic minor scale:

    …3,2,1 – 4,3,2,1 (repeat severally or end with 3.)

    A melodic minor scale:

    …start with 5, then 4,3,2,1 – 3,2,1 (which can be repeated severally.)

    Bb melodic minor scale:

    …2,1 – 4,3,2,1 – 3 (repeat severally or end with 2.)

    B melodic minor scale:
    …4,3,2,1 – 4,3,2,1

    Final Words

    Getting to this segment let’s me know that you’re serious about learning the proper fingering of the melodic minor scale in all twelve keys and that’s a really good thing.

    In subsequent lessons, we’ll be learning the proper fingering for other traditional scales like the natural major scale, the natural minor scale, and the harmonic minor scale.

    See you then!

    P.S.

    I want to recommend that you make the playing of the melodic minor scale an active part of your warm up before a practice session.

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    Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku is a Nigerian musicologist, pianist, and author. Inspired by his role model (Jermaine Griggs) who has become his mentor, what he started off as teaching musicians in his Aba-Nigeria neighborhood in April 2005 eventually morphed into an international career that has helped hundreds of thousands of musicians all around the world. Onye lives in Dubai and is currently the Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group and the music consultant of the Gospel Music Training Center, all in California, USA.




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