Dominant Chord Scale Choices - Melodic Minor Scales
Which Melodic Minor Scale For Dominant 7th Chords?
The melodic minor scale is extremely useful when playing over dominant 7th chords. Depending on the sound you are looking to achieve, various melodic minor scales can be played. The most common melodic minor scale choices are as follows:
- Up a 5th from the root of the dominant 7th chord.
- Up a 4th from the dominant 7th chord.
- Up a semitone from the dominant 7th chord.
The first two choices of melodic minor scale can be played over static, unaltered 7th chords. Playing a melodic minor scale up a semitone from a 7th chord is reserved for altered 7th chords and this sound needs to be resolved to whichever chord sound follows.
Melodic Minor Over Dominant Chords
This lick uses the F melodic minor scale over a Bb7 chord. This scale choice could be called the Bb Lydian Dominant scale, although it is much easier to think of F melodic minor scale and not worry about the name.
Some people refer to this scale as Lydian Dominant because it has a 3rd, 5th and b7th which implies a dominant 7th chord, along with a #4 (or #11) which is the characteristic note of the Lydian mode.
I would advise you not to concern yourself with the name, but understand and be able to hear the interval structure.
Melodic Minor Scale Up A 4th
A scale sound that I love playing over a dominant 7th chord is the melodic minor scale up a 4th from the root of the dominant 7th chord.
This sound doesn't seem to get mentioned often, but I think it sounds great. The result of playing the melodic minor scale up a 4th is a b6 (or b13) against the dominant 7th chord. This is similar to playing the harmonic minor scale up a 4th without the Eastern sounding b2nd to 3rd jump that is the characteristic sound of mode 5 of the harmonic minor scale.
This is one of my favourite scale sounds to play.
More Melodic Minor Scale Up A 4th
This lick uses the same idea as the previous lick. A touch of chromaticism has been added, although the lick keeps to the sound of this melodic minor scale mode.
As with any melodic minor scale idea, there are multiple melodic minor scale choices that can be played over dominant 7th chords, so any of these licks can create different sounds when played in other positions that fit the chord.
Want To Train Your Ears For Free?
Lots of different sounds can be played when experimenting with the various scale choices that can be played over dominant 7th chords. Visualising the scale patterns is one thing, but hearing the interval structure of each scale is essential.
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