The melodic scale can be represented by these notes: c, d, e, f, g, a, b.
The melodic scale is proper, and, like the diatonic scale, it is smooth with only two sizes of second (major and minor second). This makes the scale particularly suitable for melodic purposes, including improvisation. The two tonal scales which can be derived from it are, however, amongst the least effective and convincing at providing a tonic of all the tonal scales.
Two of the other modes of this scale are very familiar in jazz circles as melodic modes used as the basis for improvisation (or indeed composition) over dominant seventh type chords. These two modes are usually called the lydian dominant scale and altered scale.
These two jazz modes and the two tonal harmonic scales are listed below. They are all taken from the same melodic scale (c, d, e, f, g, a, b) and the name of each scale is listed next to its home note. It should be stressed here that neither the lydian dominant scale nor the altered scale has a tonic triad on its home note, because that is the root of the (unstable) dominant chord over which it is used. The term "home note" is used only to indicate that this note is the most convenient reference point of the scale since it matches the root of the chord over which it is used.
|Home note||Name of mode|
|f||f lydian dominant (or lydian flat 7)|
|c||c (ascending) melodic minor|
|g||g (descending) melodic major|
The melodic scale above has two triads which are capable of functioning as tonics: c minor and G major, so these are the tonics of the two tonally effective modes of the melodic scale - the (ascending) melodic minor scale and the (descending) melodic major scale.
Both of these scales can be understood to be melodic "improvements" of the harmonic minor and harmonic major scales respectively, although the strength of the tonic in both these melodic scales is weaker than in their harmonic counterparts.