B melodic minor scale

The Solution below shows the B melodic minor scale notes, intervals and scale degrees on the piano, treble clef and bass clef.

The Lesson steps then describe how to identify the B melodic minor scale note interval positions, choose the note names and scale degree names.

For a quick summary of this topic, have a look at Melodic minor scale.

Keys in the melodic minor scale
KeyCC#DbDD#EbEE#FbFF#GbGG#AbAA#Bb[B]B#CbAll On 1 page

Solution - 3 parts

1. B melodic minor scale

This step shows the ascending B melodic minor scale on the piano, treble clef and bass clef. It also shows the scale degree names for all 8 notes.

The B melodic minor scale has 4 sharps.

This melodic minor scale is based on the natural minor scale with the same key / tonic note - B natural minor scale.

Since the natural minor key is itself on the Circle of 5ths - B minor on circle of 5ths, this means that this is a commonly used melodic minor scale key.

B melodic minor scale note names
Note no.Note intervalNote name
1tonicThe 1st note of the B melodic minor scale is B
2B-maj-2ndThe 2nd note of the B melodic minor scale is C#
3B-min-3rdThe 3rd note of the B melodic minor scale is D
4B-perf-4thThe 4th note of the B melodic minor scale is E
5B-perf-5thThe 5th note of the B melodic minor scale is F#
6B-maj-6thThe 6th note of the B melodic minor scale is G#
7B-maj-7thThe 7th note of the B melodic minor scale is A#
8B-perf-8thThe 8th note of the B melodic minor scale is B

B melodic minor scale

Middle C (midi note 60) is shown with an orange line under the 2nd note on the piano diagram.

These note names are shown below on the treble clef followed by the bass clef.

B melodic minor scale

B melodic minor scale

The stave diagrams above show the scale notes without a key signature, with the sharp / flat adjustments inserted before each note on the staff.

For the key signature of this scale, showing the symbols grouped correctly next to the bass or treble clef symbol at the beginning, have a look at the B melodic minor key signature.

B melodic minor scale degrees
Note no.Degree name
1B is the tonic of the B melodic minor scale
2C# is the supertonic of the B melodic minor scale
3D is the mediant of the B melodic minor scale
4E is the subdominant of the B melodic minor scale
5F# is the dominant of the B melodic minor scale
6G# is the submediant of the B melodic minor scale
7A# is the leading tone of the B melodic minor scale
8B is the octave of the B melodic minor scale

For ascending scale notes, the difference between the B melodic minor scale and the B natural minor scale is that the 6th and 7th note positions of the minor scale are raised by one half-tone / semitone.

So whereas the B natural minor scale has notes G, A for the 6th and 7th notes, these notes are raised to arrive at notes G#, A# for this melodic minor scale.

Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

2. B melodic minor scale reverse descending

This step shows the reverse descending B melodic minor scale on the piano, treble clef and bass clef.

The difference between the two types of melodic minor descending variations are explained in steps 6 and 7 of the Lesson steps below.

B melodic minor scale reverse descending

B melodic minor scale reverse descending

B melodic minor scale reverse descending

B melodic minor scale reverse descending
No.1234567
NoteA#G#F#EDC#B
Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

3. B melodic minor scale classical descending

This step shows the B melodic minor scale on the piano, treble clef and bass clef, using the natural minor scale descending notes.

B melodic minor scale classical descending

B melodic minor scale classical descending

B melodic minor scale classical descending

B melodic minor scale classical descending
No.1234567
NoteAGF#EDC#B
Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

Lesson steps

1. Piano key note names

This step shows the white and black note names on a piano keyboard so that the note names are familiar for later steps, and to show that the note names start repeating themselves after 12 notes.

The white keys are named using the alphabetic letters A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, which is a pattern that repeats up the piano keyboard.

Every white or black key could have a flat(b) or sharp(#) accidental name, depending on how that note is used. In a later step, if sharp or flat notes are used, the exact accidental names will be chosen.

Sharp and flat note names

The audio files below play every note shown on the piano above, so middle C (marked with an orange line at the bottom) is the 2nd note heard.

Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

2. B tonic note and one octave of notes

This step shows an octave of notes in the key of B, to identify the start and end notes of the scale.

The numbered notes are those that might be used when building this note scale.

But since this is a scale in the key of B, it is certain that notes 1 and 13 will be used in the scale.

Note 1 is the tonic note - the starting note - B, and note 13 is the same note name but one octave higher.

B chromatic scale-1 octave of notes

B chromatic scale-1 octave of notes
No.12345678910111213
NoteBCC# / DbDD# / EbEFF# / GbGG# / AbAA# / BbB
Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

3. B melodic minor scale note positions

This step applies the melodic minor scale note interval pattern starting from B, so that the correct piano keys and note pitches can be identified.

The melodic minor scale uses the  W-H-W-W-W-W-H  note counting rule to identify the scale note positions.

To count up a Whole tone, count up by two physical piano keys, either white or black.

To count up a Half-tone (semitone), count up from the last note up by one physical piano key, either white or black.

The tonic note (shown as *) is the starting point and is always the 1st note in the melodic minor scale.

B melodic minor scale note positions

Again, the final 8th note is the octave note, having the same name as the tonic note.
B melodic minor scale note positions
No.12345678
NoteBC# / DbDEF# / GbG# / AbA# / BbB

What is the difference between the B melodic minor scale and the B natural minor scale ?

The 6th and 7th note positions (or scale degrees) of the minor scale are raised by one half-tone / semitone to arrive at the melodic minor scale note positions shown above.

Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

4. B melodic minor scale notes

This step tries to give assign names to the piano keys identified in the previous step, so that they can be written on a note staff in the Solution section.

The 7 unique notes in a scale need to be named such that each letter from A to G is used once only, so each note name is either a natural white name(A.. G) , a sharp(eg. F#) or a flat(eg. Gb).

The rule ensures that every position of a staff is used once and once only - whether that position be a note in a space, or a note on a line.

This is needed to ensure that when it comes to writing the scale notes on a musical staff (eg. a treble clef), there is no possibility of having 2 G-type notes, for example, with one of the notes needing an accidental next to it on the staff (a sharp, flat or natural symbol).

To apply this rule, firstly list the white key names starting from the tonic, which are shown the White column below.

Then list the 7 notes in the scale so far, shown in the next column.

For each of the 7 notes, look across and try to find the White note name in the Scale note name.

If the natural white note can be found in the scale note, the scale note is written in the Match? column.

The 8th note - the octave note, will have the same name as the first note, the tonic note.

B melodic minor scale
No.WhiteScale noteMatch?
1BBB
2CC# / DbC#
3DDD
4EEE
5FF# / GbF#
6GG# / AbG#
7AA# / BbA#
8BBB

For this melodic minor scale, all notes have a match, and so the Match? column shows the melodic minor scale note names.

B melodic minor scale

5. B melodic minor scale reverse descending

This step shows the notes when descending the B melodic minor scale, going from the highest note sound back to the starting note, by reversing the ascending note names.

The first variation for descending notes is to just reverse the ascending notes and note names as shown below.

This descending note variation is mostly used in non-classical music eg. Jazz, but is occasionally used in classical.

B melodic minor scale reverse descending

B melodic minor scale reverse descending
No.1234567
NoteA#G#F#EDC#B
Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

6. B melodic minor scale classical descending

This step shows the notes when descending the B melodic minor scale, going from the highest note sound back to the starting note, using the natural minor scale descending notes.

The second variation for descending notes is to use the descending notes from the B natural minor scale, as shown below.

This descending note variation is often used in classical music.

B melodic minor scale classical descending

B melodic minor scale classical descending
No.1234567
NoteAGF#EDC#B
Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

7. B melodic minor scale degrees

This step shows the B melodic minor scale degrees - tonic, supertonic, mediant, subdominant, dominant, submediant, leading note / tone, and octave.
In music theory, each note in this scale has what is called a scale degree name, which describes the relationship of that note to the tonic(1st) note.

Scale degree names 1,2,3,4,5,6, and 8 below are always the same for all major and minor scales (ie. 1st note is always tonic, 2nd is supertonic etc.) , but obviously the note names will be different for each scale / key combination.

In the melodic minor scale, the 7th note is called the leading note or leading tone because the sound of the 7th note feels like it wants to resolve and finish at the octave note, when all scale notes are played in sequence.

It does this because in this scale, the 7th note is only 1 half-tone / semitone away from the 8th note - the octave note. The B major scale and B harmonic minor scale scales share the same property - they both have only one half-tone / semitone between the 7th and 8th notes.

In contrast, the B natural minor scale has a whole tone (two half-tones / semitones, two notes on the piano keyboard) between the 7th and 8th notes, and the 7th note does not lean towards the 8th note in the same way. In this case, the 7th note is called the subtonic.

B melodic minor scale degrees
Note no.Degree name
1B is the tonic of the B melodic minor scale
2C# is the supertonic of the B melodic minor scale
3D is the mediant of the B melodic minor scale
4E is the subdominant of the B melodic minor scale
5F# is the dominant of the B melodic minor scale
6G# is the submediant of the B melodic minor scale
7A# is the leading tone of the B melodic minor scale
8B is the octave of the B melodic minor scale