Characteristic Chords of the Melodic Minor Scale

Chord I chord II chord III chord IV chord V chord VI chord VII chord
Scale melodic minor Phrygian +6
Dorian -2
Lydian +5 Mixolydian +4 Mixolydian -6
Locrian +2 Altered
dim. whole tone
Locrian -4
C Cm(maj7) D7sus(♭9) E♭maj7(♯5) F7(♯11) G(-6) Am7(♭5) B7(alt)
C♯ C♯m(maj7) D♯7sus(♭9) Emaj7(♯5) F♯7(♯11) G♯(-6) A♯m7(♭5) B♯7(alt)
D♭ D♭m(maj7) E♭7sus(♭9) F♭maj7(♯5) G♭7(♯11) A♭(-6) B♭m7(♭5) C7(alt)
D Dm(maj7) E7sus(♭9) Fmaj7(♯5) G7(♯11) A(-6) Bm7(♭5) C♯7(alt)
E♭♭ E♭♭m(maj7) F♭7sus(♭9) G♭♭maj7(♯5) A♭♭7(♯11) B♭♭(-6) C♭m7(♭5) D♭7(alt)
D♯ D♯m(maj7) E♯7sus(♭9) F♯maj7(♯5) G♯7(♯11) A♯(-6) B♯m7(♭5) Cx7(alt)
E♭ E♭m(maj7) F7sus(♭9) G♭maj7(♯5) A♭7(♯11) B♭(-6) Cm7(♭5) D7(alt)
E Em(maj7) F♯7sus(♭9) Gmaj7(♯5) A7(♯11) B(-6) C♯m7(♭5) D♯7(alt)
F♭ F♭m(maj7) G♭7sus(♭9) A♭♭maj7(♯5) B♭♭7(♯11) C♭(-6) D♭m7(♭5) E♭7(alt)
F Fm(maj7) G7sus(♭9) A♭maj7(♯5) B♭7(♯11) C(-6) Dm7(♭5) E7(alt)
F♯ F♯m(maj7) G♯7sus(♭9) Amaj7(♯5) B7(♯11) C♯(-6) D♯m7(♭5) E♯7(alt)
G♭ G♭m(maj7) A♭7sus(♭9) B♭♭maj7(♯5) C♭7(♯11) D♭(-6) E♭m7(♭5) F7(alt)
G Gm(maj7) A7sus(♭9) B♭maj7(♯5) C7(♯11) D(-6) Em7(♭5) F♯7(alt)
A♭♭ A♭♭m(maj7) B♭♭7sus(♭9) C♭♭maj7(♯5) D♭♭7(♯11) E♭♭(-6) F♭m7(♭5) G♭7(alt)
G♯ G♯(maj7) A♯7sus(♭9) B♯maj7(♯5) C♯7(♯11) D♯(-6) E♯m7(♭5) Fx7(alt)
A♭ A♭m(maj7) B♭7sus(♭9) C♭maj7(♯5) D♭7(♯11) E♭(-6) Fm7(♭5) G7(alt)
A Am(maj7) B7sus(♭9) Cmaj7(♯5) D7(♯11) E(-6) F♯m7(♭5) G♯7(alt)
B♭♭ B♭♭m(maj7) C♭7sus(♭9) D♭♭maj7(♯5) E♭♭7(♯11) F♭(-6) G♭m7(♭5) A♭7(alt)
B♭ B♭m(maj7) C7sus(♭9) D♭maj7(♯5) E♭7(♯11) F(-6) Gm7(♭5) A7(alt)
B Bm(maj7) C♯7sus(♭9) Dmaj7(♯5) E7(♯11) F♯(-6) G♯m7(♭5) A♯7(alt)
C♭ C♭m(maj7) D♭7sus(♭9) E♭♭maj7(♯5) F♭7(♯11) G♭(-6) A♭m7(♭5) B♭7(alt)

  • Cells are color coded according to piano keys. This makes it easy to see the scale to use for a given chord—just use the black and white notes in the horizontal row for the desired chord.
  • The B♭♭, A♭♭, and E♭♭ melodic minor scales are included because of the useful half-diminished (VI) and/or altered (VII) chords they generate.
  • Pianist Dave Peck calls the characteristic V chord "an augmented 7th add 12—as in G+7(12)—since the +5, 12 and -7 can all be present in the chord." The 12 indicates that that the fifth degree of the scale is played above the +5. Mark Levine devotes page 242 of The Jazz Piano Book to a dismission of this chord.
  • Minor ii-V-I can be implemented with the Locrian +2 (mode 6), altered (mode 7), and melodic minor (mode 1) scales respectively. In this common scheme, three notes are flatted moving from the ii to the V (the 1, 2, and 7 of the Locrian +2) and four notes are sharped moving from the V to the I (the 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the altered scale).
  • Highly stylized major ii-V-I can be implemented with the Phrygian +6 (mode 2), Mixolydian +4 (mode 4) or altered (mode 7), and Lydian +5 (mode 3) scales respectively. In this unusual scheme, the 2 and 7 of the Phrygian +6 scale are sharped moving from the ii to the V, and then the 4 is flatted and the 1 and 7 sharped moving from the Mixolydian +4 to the Lydian +5.

Created on 2/11/99. Updated on 10/7/99 and 1/17/2010.