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A melodic minor key signature

The Solution below shows the A melodic minor key signature on the treble clef and bass clef.

The Lesson steps then explain how to write the key signature using both clefs, including the display order and line / space staff positions of the notes, and the sharp / flat accidentals.

For a quick summary of this topic, have a look at Key signature.

Melodic minor key signature keys
KeyCC#DbDD#EbEE#FbFF#GbGG#Ab[A]A#BbBB#CbAll On 1 page

Solution

1. A melodic minor key signature

This step shows the A melodic minor scale key signature on the treble clef and bass clef.

The A melodic minor scale has 2 sharps.

A melodic minor scale
No.12345678
NoteABCDEF#G#A

This melodic minor scale is based on the natural minor scale with the same key / tonic note - A natural minor scale.

Since the natural minor key is itself on the Circle of 5ths - A minor on circle of 5ths, this means that this is a commonly used melodic minor scale key.

These note names are shown below on the treble clef followed by the bass clef.

A melodic minor key signature

A melodic minor key signature

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bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3
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Lesson steps

1. Piano key note names

This step shows the white and black note names on a piano keyboard so that the note names are familiar for later steps, and to show that the note names start repeating themselves after 12 notes.

The white keys are named using the alphabetic letters A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, which is a pattern that repeats up the piano keyboard.

Every white or black key could have a flat(b) or sharp(#) accidental name, depending on how that note is used. In a later step, if sharp or flat notes are used, the exact accidental names will be chosen.

Sharp and flat note names

The audio files below play every note shown on the piano above, so middle C (marked with an orange line at the bottom) is the 2nd note heard.

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bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

2. A melodic minor notes

This step shows the number of sharps or flats in this melodic minor scale so that the number of symbols needed for the key signature can be identified.

The A melodic minor scale has 2 sharps.

For the major and natural minor scales, no more information is needed to write the key signature. Just put the correct number of sharp or flat symbols next to the treble clef.

However, melodic minor key signatures use the natural minor key signature of the same key (in this case - A natural minor key signature) next to the treble clef, and then the differences between the two scales are shown as adjustments next to the note names on the staff.

Firstly, in this step, the melodic minor scale is shown on a piano keyboard. Now compare this to the next step showing the natural minor scale (specifically the 6th and 7th notes).

A melodic minor scale
No.12345678
NoteABCDEF#G#A

A melodic minor scale

To understand why the A melodic minor scale has 2 sharps, have a look at the A melodic minor scale page, which shows the music theory rules for identifying the note positions and names for this scale.

Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

3. A minor key signature

This step shows the number of sharps or flats in the related natural minor scale so the two scales can be compared for differences.

The A natural minor key signature has no sharp or flat notes, which is different to the melodic minor scale above.

A minor scale has no sharp or flat notes
No.12345678
NoteABCDEFGA

A minor key signature

A minor key signature

To calculate the A melodic minor scale from the A natural minor scale, the 6th and 7th notes position of the natural minor scale - notes F and G are both raised by one half-tone / semitone, as shown in the next step.

However, the melodic minor key signature next to the bass or treble clef will not reflect this raised note, as explained in the next step.

Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

4. A melodic minor key signature adjustments

This step shows the A melodic minor key signature on a treble clef musical staff, together with a table showing the note adjustments that need to be made relative to the natural minor scale.

Below is a table showing the note name adjustments that describe the difference between this melodic scale note and the natural minor scale, whose key signature it uses.

The 6th and 7th note of the natural minor scale need to be raised by one half-tone / semitone, which will result in adjustment actions on the existing natural minor note names.

A melodic minor key signature adjustments
NoNatural minor
note name
melodic minor
note name
Adjustment
action
Adjustment
name
1AANoneSame
2BBNoneSame
3CCNoneSame
4DDNoneSame
5EENoneSame
6FF#RaisedSharp
7GG#RaisedSharp
8AANoneSame

A melodic minor key signature

A melodic minor key signature

The natural minor key signature of the bass or treble clef is used, with the differences between the two scales shown as adjustments next to the note names on the staff, not in the key signature itself.

Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3
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