I looked through my notes and I saw the formula for descending mode. I had written that the formula was "WWHWWHW". I'm confused because I'm sure that is also the formula for the Mixolydian mode.

It has a long time since I wrote these notes so I don't really remember where I got them from. I tried several times to find more information on the formula, and searched "WWHWWHW" and something like 'Descending Melodic Minor'.

Is Mixolydian just the same as descending mode or descending melodic minor with a different name? Thanks.


2 Answers 2


The classical melodic minor scale is different ascending and descending. In its descending form, it is known as the Aeolian mode (same both ways).So it's simply a mode of the parent major scale, with all the same intervals.

Consider WWHWWWHWWHWWWHWWHWWWH - the continuing set of intervals ascending using a major scale. Depending where you start will affect which mode is being looked at. Start at the very beginning, and it's Ionian. Mixolydian starts just before a middle W.

The notes (therefore their intervals) for the descending melodic minor would start just after the middle W, so there's your answer! - If indeed that's what you're asking...


The descending aeolian scale and the ascending mixolydian scale have the same interval sequence: WWHWWHW.

Most scales are asymmetrical, meaning the interval sequence is different for the ascending and descending versions of that scale. For example, the major scale ascending is WWHWWWH, but the major scale descending is HWWWHWW. In fact, the descending major scale has the same interval sequence as the ascending locrian scale. And the ascending major scale has the same interval sequence as the descending phrygian scale.

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