C-flat melodic minor key signature

The Solution below shows the Cb melodic minor key signature on the treble clef and bass clef.

The Lesson steps then explain how to write the key signature using both clefs, including the display order and line / space staff positions of the notes, and the sharp / flat accidentals.

For a quick summary of this topic, have a look at Key signature.

Melodic minor key signature keys
KeyCC#DbDD#EbEE#FbFF#GbGG#AbAA#BbBB#[Cb]All On 1 page

Solution

1. C-flat melodic minor key signature

This step shows the enharmonic equivalent of the Cb melodic minor scale key signature on the treble and bass clef, including the note name adjustments relative to the natural minor scale in the same key.

The C-flat melodic minor scale has 1 double-flat, 6 flats.

C-flat melodic minor scale
No.12345678
NoteCbDbEbbFbGbAbBbCb

Warning: The C-flat key is a theoretical melodic minor scale key.

This means:

> Its key signature would contain either double-sharps or double flats.

> It is rarely used in practice, because it is too complex to use.

> It is not shown as a minor key on the Circle of fifths diagram, which contains the most commonly used minor keys.

> There is always an identical melodic minor scale that you can use in its place, which is on the Circle of 5ths.

> The B melodic minor scale sounds the same / contains the same note pitches, which are played in the same order, and so it can be used as a direct replacement for the C-flat melodic minor scale.

B melodic minor scale
No.12345678
NoteBC#DEF#G#A#B

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

Rather than use a key signature that would in theory contain double sharps or flats, usually the key signature of the replacement minor scale B, above is used, as shown below.

On the bass clef, Middle C is shown with an orange ledger line above the main 5 staff lines.

B melodic minor key signature

B melodic minor key signature

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. C-flat melodic minor notes

This step shows the number of sharps or flats in this theoretical melodic minor scale

The Cb melodic minor scale has 1 double-flat, 6 flats.

To understand why the C-flat melodic minor scale has 1 double-flat, 6 flats, have a look at the Cb melodic minor scale page, which shows how to identify the note positions and names for this scale.

C-flat melodic minor scale
No.12345678
NoteCbDbEbbFbGbAbBbCb

C-flat melodic minor scale

This melodic minor scale is based a natural minor scale that is not on the circle of 5ths - Cb natural minor scale, which means that its key signature would have double sharps or flats.

So rather than use this complex key signature, usually the key signature of a simpler equivalent scale would be used.

In ths case, the melodic minor scale having the same note pitches played in the same order is the B melodic minor scale, so its key signature will be used instead below.

B melodic minor scale.

B melodic minor scale
No.12345678
NoteBC#DEF#G#A#B

The next step will show the B natural minor key signature as a basis for calculating this melodic minor key signature.

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

3. B minor key signature

This step shows the number of sharps or flats in the related natural minor scale so the two scales can be compared for differences.

The B natural minor key signature has 2 sharps, which is different to the melodic minor scale above.

B minor scale has 2 sharps
No.12345678
NoteBC#DEF#GAB

B minor key signature

B minor key signature

To calculate the B melodic minor scale from the B natural minor scale, the 6th and 7th notes position of the natural minor scale - notes G and A are both raised by one half-tone / semitone, as shown in the next step.

However, the melodic minor key signature next to the bass or treble clef will not reflect this raised note, as explained in the next step.

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

4. B melodic minor key signature adjustments

This step shows the B melodic minor key signature on a treble clef musical staff, together with a table showing the note adjustments that need to be made relative to the natural minor scale.

Below is a table showing the note name adjustments that describe the difference between this melodic scale note and the natural minor scale, whose key signature it uses.

The 6th and 7th note of the natural minor scale need to be raised by one half-tone / semitone, which will result in adjustment actions on the existing natural minor note names.

B melodic minor key signature adjustments
NoNatural minor
note name
melodic minor
note name
Adjustment
action
Adjustment
name
1BBNoneSame
2C#C#NoneSame
3DDNoneSame
4EENoneSame
5F#F#NoneSame
6GG#RaisedSharp
7AA#RaisedSharp
8BBNoneSame

B melodic minor key signature

B melodic minor key signature

The natural minor key signature of the bass or treble clef is used, with the differences between the two scales shown as adjustments next to the note names on the staff, not in the key signature itself.

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