The melodic minor scale is a pretty interesting one, as it has both an ascending and descending version. But this is also what makes it kind of confusing.
What is this particular scale all about then? And why should we care?
Open up any book on musical harmony and it was describe the melodic minor scale as one that can be played in two ways. For instance, the A melodic minor ascending scale would be played as such: A B C D E F# G#. And descending would be played the same as a natural minor would: A B C D E F G.
The ascending version of the scale is used whenever your pitch goes higher. When the pitch goes lower, the descending version is used.
Why is this so? Some "expert" players might say that the restriction originated in classical music. However, these days (especially when it comes to jazz) one can use the ascending version in either case of the pitch going up or down. (Those jazz players, always breaking the rules for us)
Well, not to come off as insensitive, but what I've summarized, and also what we've been taught by 'traditional music theory', is all crap. I can point out heaps of instances where the melodic minor scale is being used "incorrectly" in classical music (which I do in the video below)
To give yourself a fair chance in really learning what the melodic minor scale is all about, watch my following video:
I hope you've left this video with a better understanding of this often misconstrued scale. Let us no longer write off the melodic minor as "too confusing" just because what has been traditionally taught about it is incorrect.