In this music theory lesson we will look at the C sharp melodic minor scale. The C sharp melodic Minor scale is a diatonic scale starting and ending on a C#. Melodic Minor scales were created mainly to help with melodies. The melodic minor scale ascending is the same as a major scale except it has a flat third and the melodic minor descending has the same pitches as a natural minor scale.
The C sharp melodic Minor Scale notes ascending are:
C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A#, B#
The scale notes of the C sharp melodic minor descending are:
C#, B, A, G#, F#, E, D#
Which intervals are in the C Sharp melodic minor scale?
The melodic minor scale is the same as the natural minor, except for a raised 6th and 7th degree by a semitone (half step) on the way up. The way down is exactly the same as the natural minor scale. In terms of intervals, this changes the minor 2nd interval between 5th and 6th notes to a major 2nd interval. We then have another major 2nd between the 6th and 7th notes.
A major 2nd is the same as a tone or a whole step. E-F# is a whole step and F#-G# is also a whole step.
Below you can see one octave of the C sharp melodic Minor scale below with the intervals labelled. It’s worth remembering that these intervals will be the same for all ascending melodic minor scales.
Descending has the same intervals as a natural minor scale, you can see them below.
The Melodic Minor Scale Formula
The melodic minor scale formula is based on the natural minor scale but rather than being the same notes both ascending and descending they are different.
- On the way up we have a sharpened 6th and 7th degree
- On the way down these are lowered so the scale becomes it’s natural formula.
Scale degrees of the Ascending Melodic minor scale
- 1st degree – root/tonic – C#
- 2nd degree – supertonic – D#
- 3rd degree – mediant – E
- 4th degree – subdominant – F#
- 5th degree – dominant – G#
- 6th degree – submediant – A#
- 7th degree – leading note – B#
Degrees of the descending melodic minor scale
Play C sharp Melodic minor on the piano keyboard
You can use the diagram below to play the ascending and descending version of the melodic minor scale with the right hand. The fingerings are labelled underneath.
You can use the diagram below to play the ascending and descending version of the melodic minor scale with the left hand. The fingerings are labelled underneath.
Play C sharp melodic minor scale on the guitar
The melodic minor scale can be played in several positions on the guitar. Here is the standard position starting on a C#. This shape can be moved up and down the neck to play different ascending melodic minor scales.
The key signature of C sharp melodic minor
The melodic minor scale is heard in pieces that are in a minor key. This means that if we are playing C sharp melodic minor scale, our piece will be in the key of C (natural) minor. C sharp minor is the relative minor of the E major scale. Both of these scales have a key signature of four sharps.
C sharp melodic minor in Treble clef – ascending and descending
C sharp melodic minor in Bass clef – ascending and descending
C sharp melodic minor in Alto clef – ascending and descending
C sharp melodic minor in Tenor clef – ascending and descending
The chords in C sharp melodic minor
Chords can be constructed from the notes of D melodic minor. Learn more about this in our post on D melodic minor chords. The following chords are the chords in the D melodic minor scale.
The Jazz C sharp Melodic Minor scale
The jazz melodic minor scale is slightly different to the regular melodic minor scale. In classical music as we have seen, the ascending version of the melodic minor scale is different to the descending melodic minor scale.
In jazz music, this is not the case. Both ascending and descending are the same and both the 6th and 7th degrees are raised. Essentially the jazz melodic minor is the classical music ascending version!
- Learn more about scales with our complete guide to minor scales.