- MM was formed by lowering the 3rd degree of a Major Scale, which altered it's internal intervalic relationships.
- Whereras Major has 6 perfect fourths and one tritone, MM now possesses 4 perfect fourths, a diminished fourth (Maj. 3rd), and 2 tritones.
- MM contains substantial pieces of both the whole tone, and diminished scales.
The truth......... is....that........MM was .......born with.......without........OMG.........this is tough, folks!.......that MM was born without an............!
Maybe you're asking yourself "what's an avoid note?" As the name suggests, it's a note you would tend to avoid holding on to in certain musical instances. More specifically, in a Major scale, the avoid note would be the fourth degree (F against C Maj , for instance).
Why? Because, due to the way our western ears have been programmed, the perception is that "F" wants to resolve to "E" (the all important Maj. 3rd), so holding an "F" against a C Maj. chord (or especially a C Maj. 7, creating a tritone with with the 7th, "B") would be considered "dissonant" and a note to "avoid". Having said that, holding and F against a C Maj. can sound great, depending on the intention and context.
Like all mutants, what they lack naturally they make up for in other areas, often supernaturally. While I don't think I'd go so far as to say that Melodic Minor is something supernatural (then again, maybe music itself could be considered a naturally occurring supernatural phenomenon), but to in order to compensate for it's lack of avoid notes............, it has freed itself of any notes to avoid.
Way back in Part 1 when we lowered the 3rd degree of a Major scale by a half step and made it a minor 3rd, we altered a very important chromosome. Play an F against a C minor chord and you have a very consonant C - sus or C - 11 sound. This would not have been possible in C Major, where "F" was the avoid note.
In fact, on the piano, if you play Eb - G - B - D in your right hand as a chord, and with your left hand, very slowly play a C Melodic Minor ascending scale (ie: C - D - Eb - F - G - A - B) holding each chord out with both hands for 3 beats or so, you'll get these chords:
C min (M7) / Dsusb9 / Eb Maj 7#5 / F7#11/ G b6 / Amin7b5 / B7alt
This means that since Melodic Minor has no avoid notes, each chord of MM is interchangeable with any other MM chord. The same phenomenon exists for any phrases or melodic ideas you may think of. This unique flexibility of our mutant means that, unlike Major, the individual MM chords are not the focus, it's the MM "key" that means everything.
Coming soon: Part 5, MM ii-V-i.