73 Chords From D Melodic Minor Scale

73 Chords From D Melodic Minor Scale

The melodic minor scale is really only used by jazz musicians, but there are a lot of chords that can be built from the scale. If you are writing a song in a minor key, then the scale gives you a lot of crunchy chords to choose from. The scale builds a total of 73 chords and I cover all of them in the key of D melodic minor.

 

The melodic minor scale in detail

There are 3 minor scales (not counting minor modes): natural, harmonic and melodic. The melodic minor scale is the least common of the 3 but is used by jazz musicians and film composers. One confusing aspect of the melodic minor scale is that it has different scale degrees ascending vs. descending.

Read my Music Intervals article if you do not know your intervals so you understand the following paragraphs.

The harmonic minor scale has the interval of an augmented 2nd or minor 3rd between the 6th an 7th scale degrees. Because of the minor 3rd interval, either the 6th is raised (ascending melodic minor) or the 7th is lowered (descending version) to make the scale more “melodic”.

And yes, the descending version is the same as the natural minor. It depends on the notes in the melody and/or harmony as to which form is used. However, the ascending & descending versions are only played in classical music.

In jazz, the melodic minor is known as the jazz minor and they only use the ascending version. That is what I consider as the “melodic minor” and is what I cover in this article. Let’s compare the natural & melodic minor scales along with the major scale.

Interval, formula and scale degree comparisons

Just so you know, “W” stands for a whole step or whole tone, “H” stands for half-step or semitone.

Natural minor scale formula = W-H-W-W-H-W-W
Melodic minor scale formula = W-H-W-W-W-W-H

Natural minor scale degrees = 1-2-♭3-4-5-♭6-♭7-8
Melodic minor scale degrees =  1-2-♭3-4-5-6-7-8
Major scale degrees =  1-2-♭3-4-5-6-7-8

Natural minor intervals = R-M2-m3-P4-P5-m6-m7
Melodic minor intervals = R-M2-m3-P4-P5-M6-M7
Major scale intervals = R-M2-M3-P4-P5-M6-M7

Notice how the melodic minor has the same intervals as the major scale with the exception of a minor 3rd. That’s probably easier to remember if you already know the major scale (which you should). Here is a comparison with the actual notes for the scales in the key of D:

D Natural minor notes = D-E-F-G-A-B♭-C
D Melodic minor notes = D-E-F-G-A-B-C#
D Major scale notes = D-E-F#-G-A-B-C#

 

Application of the melodic minor scale

It’s common to use the melodic minor scale for soloing when you see a major V chord in a minor key song or over a 7alt chord. The 7th sale degree builds 7alt chords can you will see them in songs that are not in a minor key.

You can also use it over chords such as  m-maj7, maj7#5, m9♭5, 7#5#5 and others are chords from the scale. The Lydian Dominant mode built on the 4th scale degree is also a great choice for 7#11 chords.

If you’d like to learn more about the melodic minor and the other minor scales, then check out the Wikipedia Minor Scale page. Also, read my articles on the D Harmonic Minor Scale as a comparison, and Writing Minor Scale Songs where I have song examples of all 3 minor scales.

 

D melodic minor triads and open scale shapes

Here is sheet music and tab for a one-octave D melodic minor scale and across all 6 strings in open position:

One octave D melodic minor scale on guitar
One-octave scale of D melodic minor

 

Open position D melodic minor scale
D melodic minor across all open strings in the open position

 

The degrees of the melodic minor scale build the following triads and sevenths:

Melodic minor scale triads: i, ii, ♭III+, IV, V, vio, viio
Melodic minor scale 7ths: m-maj7, m7, maj7#5, 7, 7,m7♭5, m7♭5

D melodic minor triads: Dm, Em, F+, G, A, Bdim & C#dim.
D melodic minor sevenths: Dm-maj7, Em7, Fmaj7#5, G7, G7, Bm7♭5, C#m7♭5

However, because of the option to choose different chord tones, the notes G, A & C# build additional 7th chords. The same thing happens with the harmonic minor scale. Let’s look at all the chords now.

 

D chords from the D melodic minor scale

The chords on the tonic are similar for the D harmonic minor but the major 6th enables you to build 3 additional chords.

D Chords From D Melodic Minor
Chord Name 1st Note 2nd Note 3rd Note 4th Note 5th Note 6th Note Equal Chord1 Equal Chord2 Equal Chord3
Dm Dm F A
Dm6 D F A B Bm7♭5
Dm add9 D F A E
Dm6 add9 D F A B E Bm11♭5
Dm-maj7 D F A C#
Dm9-maj7 D F A C#
Dsus D G A Gsus2
Dsus2 D E A Asus

 

E chords from the D melodic minor scale

I prefer the melodic minor scale because you get a minor chord built on the 2nd scale degree. That is way better than the diminished triad from the harmonic minor scale.

E Chords From D Melodic Minor
Chord Name 1st Note 2nd Note 3rd Note 4th Note 5th Note 6th Note Equal Chord1 Equal Chord2 Equal Chord3
Em E G B
Em6 E G B C# C#m7♭5
Em7 E G B D G6
Em11 E G B D A G6 add9 A9sus
Em13 E G B D C#
Esus E A B Asus2
E7sus E A B D
E13sus E A B D C# A add9/11

 

F chords from the D melodic minor

Well, you only have two chors that can be built on the flat 3rd of the D melodic minor scale, same as for the harmonic minor scale.

F Chords From D Melodic Minor
Chord Name 1st Note 2nd Note 3rd Note 4th Note 5th Note 6th Note Equal Chord1 Equal Chord2 Equal Chord3
F+ F A C# A+ C#+
Fmaj7#5 F A C# E

 

G chords from D melodic minor

With the major 6th interval, the 4th scale degree builds a major chord as opposed to a minor chord in the other minor scales. The mode built on this scale degree is called the Lydian Dominant or Mixolydian #11. You have 19 chords to choose from here.

G Chords From D Melodic Minor
Chord Name 1st Note 2nd Note 3rd Note 4th Note 5th Note 6th Note Equal Chord1 Equal Chord2 Equal Chord3
G G B D
G6 G B D E Em7
G add9 G B D A
G6 add9 G B D E A Em11 A9sus
G add9/#11 G B D A C#
 G6 add9/#11 G B D E A C# A9/11
G7 G B D F
G9 G B D F A
G13 G B D F E
G9/13 G B D F A E
G7#11 G B D F C# C#7♭5♭9
G9#11 G B D F A C#
G13#11 G B D F E C#
Gsus2 G A D Dsus
G7♭5 G B C# F C#7♭5
G9♭5 G B C# F A A9#5 C#7♭5♭13
G13♭5 G B C# F E C#7♭5#9

 

A chords from D melodic minor

Here are the chords built on the 5th scale degree and its mode is called Mixolydian ♭6.

A Chords From D Melodic Minor
Chord Name 1st Note 2nd Note 3rd Note 4th Note 5th Note 6th Note Equal Chord1 Equal Chord2 Equal Chord3
A A C# E
A add9 A C# E B
A add9/11 A C# E B D E13sus
A7 A C# E G
A9 A C# E G B
A11 A C# E G D
A7♭13 A C# E G F
A9/11 A C# E G B D G6 add9/#11
Asus2 A B E Esus
Asus A D E Dsus2
A7sus A D E G
A9sus A D E G B Em11 G6 add9
A+ A CE F C#+ F+
A7#5 A CE F G
A9#5 A CE F G B C#7♭5♭13 G9♭5

 

B chords from D melodic minor

This is the first mode where you can build a m9♭5 chord. As a matter of fact, this may be the only scale mode that builds that chord, but don’t quote me on that. The problem though is that the tritone B-F wants to resolve to a C major chords, not Dm.

B Chords From D Melodic Minor
Chord Name 1st Note 2nd Note 3rd Note 4th Note 5th Note 6th Note Equal Chord1 Equal Chord2 Equal Chord3
Bdim B D F
Bm7♭5 B D F A Dm6
Bm9♭5 B D F A C# C#7#5♭9
Bm11♭5 B D F A E Dm6 add9

 

C# chords

The 7th scale degree builts diminished chords but also what is known as 7alt chords. You can use the diminished chords to resolve to D minor but try the altered dominant 7ths as well. Some people prefer to notate the 7♭5♭13 chord as 7#5#11. Both are valid names.

C# Chords From D Melodic Minor
Chord Name 1st Note 2nd Note 3rd Note 4th Note 5th Note 6th Note Equal Chord1 Equal Chord2 Equal Chord3
C#dim C# E G
C#m7♭5 C# E G B Em6
C#+ F A F+ A+
C#7#5 C# F A B
C#7#5♭9 C# F A B D Bm9♭5
C#7#5#9 C# F A E
C#7♭5 C# F G B G7♭5
C#7♭5♭9 C# F G B D G7#11
C#7♭5#9 C# F G B E G13♭5
C#7♭5♭13 C# F G B A G9♭5 A9#5

 

Useful chords from D melodic minor

So that is chord overload but I wanted to list all the possible chords that you have available to you. The tritone that wants to resolve to D minor is G-C#. You can use the chords with the B-F tritone in them but I’d stay away from them if this is your first time using this scale.

Here are my recommended chords to use in your songs:

D chords:

All are good options except doe Dm6, Dm6 add9, Dm13, and Dm9-maj7. If you are into jazz, then I’m sure you’ll be using the m6 chords but they do not work so well for other popular genres. It’s your music though, try them if you like them.

E chords: All the E chords are good so pick your favorites.

F chords: The augmented triad is good, but skip the Fmaj7#5.

G chords:

My suggested chords ae G, G6, G add9, and the G7 chords with a C# in them. You could also pull off G7, G9, and G13, but try G7#11 and/or G7♭5 for a stronger tendency to resolve to D minor.

A chords:

I like all of them. You can skip the A add9/11, A7♭13, A9/11, and A9#5. They are advanced chords. Look into them if you want but otherwise just stick to the basics.

B chords: Don’t use any of them unless you are going to modulate to C major or A minor.

C# chords: Every chord built on the 7th sale degree will resolve perfectly to D minor – all good.

Now let’s whittle that list down to just the basics. Feel free to add other chord types that you like but you should start out focusing on these.

D chords: Dm, Dm-maj7, Dsus, Dsus2
E chords: Em, Em7, Esus, E7sus
F chords: F+
G chords: G, G6, G add9, G7, G9, G13, G7♭5 or G7#11
A chords: A, A add9, A7, A9, Asus2, Asus, A7sus, A+, A7#5
B chords: none
C# chords: All/any of them

 

Examples of D melodic minor chord progressions

Here are simple chord progressions using my suggested chords in the section above:

Idea #1: Dm > G > Dm > G > Em > Esus > A7 > A7#5 > (Dm-maj7 – Dm) > Dm > (Dm-maj7 – Dm) > Dm

I played this in 2/2 or cut time with the Dm-maj7 only lasting for a half of a beat or so. I put the emphasis on the D minor chord.

Idea #2: Dm – Dsus > Dm – Dsus> G7 > Dm – Dsus > Dm – Dsus > A7 > G7 > Dm > C#7#5#9

That one has a 12-bar blues feel but I was varying the # of beats each time through. I’ll have to work on it some more.

Those 2 progressions took me a few minutes to come up with after scanning the tables above. Come up with a basic progression that sounds good to you or use and modify the ones above. But the question is, can you use only chords from D melodic minor scale to write a chorus AND bridge as well?

 

Final thoughts

I believe that you can use only the chords built from the D melodic minor scale to write a song in D minor. And that goes for any melodic minor key. I know you can do the same with the harmonic minor scale chords. It is more difficult though to use ONLY the chords from one minor scale if you intend on having a verse, chorus and bridge section.

By the way, I added up the total number of chords incorrectly plus I missed 2 chords – oops! The chords I missed are E7sus ♭9 and E13sus ♭9 which makes only 68 chords. If you add in D5, E5, G5 & A5 then that’s 72 and off by one of 73 in the title. Google already indexed the article so I can’t change the title. Sorry about the mistake.

In my next article, I’m going to bring together the chords from all 3 D minor scales: D melodic minor, D harmonic minor & D natural minor. I’ll analyze well-known songs in a minor key to help you write songs in a minor key using any chords from all 3 minor scales.

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