B. There! - "Invitation" - The Last Eight
This time, we'll take a look at the well known and oft played standard "Invitation", by Bronislau Kaper, the Polish born film composer who also wrote "On Green Dolphin Street'.
At the very end of last year, I posted an etude based on the complete set of changes of "Invitation" (here), for what it's worth.
The last eight measures (and especially the last four) of "Invitation" used to make me scratch my head (I'm sure it wasn't dandruff, or worse), before I knew how to recognize and handle Melodic Minor chord / scale relationships in these situations.
And if you didn't already realize it "Invitation" is a Melodic Minor lover's dream!
Here they are, chord by chord (in concert key):
Eb min = Eb Melodic Minor (Eb-F-Gb-Ab-Bb-C-D). Eb Dorian (change the D to a Db) is also a choice here.
B7#11 = F# Melodic Minor (F#-G#-A-B-C#-D#-F). The common way of thinking of this scale would be from the root of the chord "B", and you would call it "B Lydian Dominant", the 4th mode of F# Melodic Minor.
However, I find it to be much less confusing to simply think of it in terms of its parent Melodic Minor scale. Since Melodic Minor has no "avoid notes", you are free to start the scale anywhere, regardless of its root, and it therefore doesn't necessitate thinking of the names and notes of a million modes. You just be conscious of the Melodic Minor "key" you are in.
F7alt = F# Melodic Minor (F#-G#-A-B-C#-D#-F). Wow! Speak of the devil! Here's that exact same F# MM scale again. This time, for use over this F7alt. Starting F#MM on F, it's 7th degree, is known as the "F altered scale". But who cares what you call it? You're thinking the key of F# MM over F, right?; functioning as a dominant (V7) chord, looking to resolve somewhere; such as........
Bb7alt = B Melodic Minor (B-C#-D-E-F#-G#-A#). Again a so called "altered scale". Forget about it! Think "B Melodic Minor", which is the Melodic Minor key a Perfect 5tth below the previous measure, and resolves naturally (V7-i) to.....
Eb min = Eb Melodic Minor (Eb-F-Gb-Ab-Bb-C-D), before moving again, in the next measure, to the MM key a P5th below; namely......
G7alt = Ab Melodic Minor (Ab-Bb-Cb-Db-Eb-F-G), which is the dominant chord (V7alt) that leads back to the C min tonic chord at the top of the tune.
It's interesting to note that the harmonic movement of Perfect Fifths is accomplished here not only with root movement, but with the Melodic Minor keys as well; as is between the last two measures (Eb MM to Ab MM).
To sum up:
I think it's important, initially, to learn the names of each of the modes and chords (and their symbols) of all the Melodic Minor "keys". That way you'll recognize and relate them to the parent Melodic Minor scale when you come across them in a playing situation. You won't have to think, "What's G Lydian Augmented", for a G Maj7+5 #11, for example. You'll think "E Melodic Minor". Period. The lack of avoid notes allows you to do that.
It's like learning multiplication tables. You don't have to think about "What's 5 x 5", do you? I hope not.
You'd automatically know it's 55, right?!.........
Did I getchya?
So once again, to echo the words and sentiments of that great 20th Century American poet, Slim Harpo, in his epic poem, "Scratch My Back":
"I know you kin do it;
so baby, git to it!"