Another thread earlier this year on dim scales ...
This may not be a thread for beginners, but I think most intermediate players have already been confronting this issue. Of course, every intermediate level player knows you can use the diminished scale over dim 7 chords (whole-step/half step) and over dom7 b9 chords (half/whole). The good thing about using this scale is: there only 3 of them to learn, with 2 modes for each, containing beautiful, sometimes avant-garde-sounding patterns which repeat every minor third. The hardest thing about the scale is resolving it to the following chord in a way that makes sense. This has to be practiced just as often as the pattern weaving.
There are other possibilities for playing through the dim 7/dom7 b9 which are more tonally centered. One that is often espoused is the use of harmonic minor. So, say in the key of C, you have a C#dim7 going to Dm. You play a D harmonic minor, and presto, you have strong tonal leading, all the chord tones fall in place, beautiful... But some people aren't comfortable with the aug 2nd gap in that scale, and most players use #9 in combination with b9, so we can throw in a C nat in that scale. We've filled the gap, and now we have an 8-tone scale. In the key of C, you could use this over C#o7, Eo7, Go7, and Bbo7. And itís a perfect scale for playing over A7b13b9. You could use the altered scale, yes (A Bb C C# Eb F G), but itís farther away from C major or D minor, and a bit more difficult to resolve. So what is that scale? From A you have: A Bb C C# D E F G. Chick Corea called this ďSpanish Phrygian,Ē which is a perfect name, I think. Spanish music uses this often, either with A as tonal center, or D. From D you can call it natural minor with an added leading tone. From F, you can call it F Major Bebop.
What about G7b9 in the key of C? If youíre using b13 in the chord, then it could get the same treatment: C nat minor plus B natural. But often a chord player or arranger would use a G13b9 to keep the sound of C major (E natural instead of Eb). Here, the diminished scale could be used (G Ab Bb B C# D E F) but thereís no C in there, and thatís where itís going to resolve. Of course, thatís good if you want more tension/resolution. But if you want more continuity, you can make the C# into a C. Then you have (from C): C D E F G Ab Bb B. Thatís C harmonic major (a scale thatís too often skipped over) plus Bb. Again, the gap is filled in. You can also look at it as a F melodic minor with an added #4. Then itís easy to see what a great scale this is for E7 altered as well. Itís the E altered scale plus a natural 5th. You can also look at that as an E half/whole dim scale with the C# changed to C.
This sounds like it could get very complicated, and itís easy to see why many musicians prefer the cut-and-dried solutions of one-scale-fits-all. But itís really not so complex. Itís about staying close to the key, itís about not forgetting the natural fifth when dealing with altered chords, and yes, it does require some practicing different combinations and patterns. But I believe a lot of musicians use these combinations, maybe in a more unconscious way,but they do fall naturally on the ear and on the ax.
This is using the harmonic minor of the chord from which you are coming (plus the plugged in b7 that I mentioned. This gives a good backward-reaching continuity.
It could also receive a treatment looking forward, treating that biii o7 as a V7b9/V. Though it doesn't move directly to F7, that is where it's going. In this case, the dim scale gives a strong leading, or we can use the harmonic major variation I mentioned. That's F harmonic major adding a b7, and that b7 (Eb) is the key to pulling the sound forward.
So from F: F G A Bb C Db Eb E from C: C Db Eb E F G A Bb
Thanks for that link, I had missed that!
The logic of how Nettles & Graf arrive at this scale, is basically that the same scale that's appropriate (e.g.) for #iio7 (ascending to iii7) is also appropriate for the enharmonically equivalent biiio7 (descending to ii7) ... even though the first of those has dominant function but the second one doesn't ... because the key context is the same.
Just to add some observations to Michaelsorg's scale description; omitting the fourth in those scales:
A) 1 b2 b3 3 (4) 5 b6 b7
ex: G7#9b13: G Ab Bb B D Eb F
B) 1 b2 b3 3 (4) 5 6 b7
G13#9: G Ab Bb B D E F
A) is actually Harmonic Major from b6 (i.e., Eb harm. major for G7)
B) is just the H/W Diminished with the fourth degree omitted.
In both cases, we would introduce an A2 to the scale instead of the consecutive half-steps. The fact that an A2 is in the scale doesn't mean that it is in the music, cf. any Bach piece using harmonic minor. And just because you eliminate it from the scale doesn't mean it is eliminated in the music; in the first example, if you played 4 3 b2 or 5 3 b3, you would still have an A2 even though it's not "in the scale".
A) can also be regarded as the altered scale with a natural 5 instead of b5.
The point, of having flexibility in one's approach to dominant/diminished chords is important, especially the ability to differentiate what is staying closer to the key and what is going further away.
But my main point is to say, the biiio7 to iim7 functions as V7of V. Try playing (simple1357 voicings in whatever inversion) Em7 D7 Dm7 G7. Then try Em7 Ebo7 G7. Then Em7 Ebo7 Dm7 G7. The sounds are very similar, the meaning of these progressions, for me, is the same - just more tension and resolution with the diminished seventh chord.
The point in 8 tones here,for me, is to establish some balance and smoothness in pattern-building, just as we do with the diminished scale. My goal is seldom to run the scale up or down contiguously (for that, I do prefer the diminished scale!)
As far is Bach goes, he was the first one, as far as I know, to use the tone which we would call the #9 as an alternative to the aug 2nd leap upward. To fill it in...
It's in Dm; in the 5th bar of the A section is a Bbm6 chord. I wrote that chord because it's the sound I want harmonically. But it really means Bb dim 7. What I ideally play is an 8-tone scale (surprise!) which I like to call Romanian Melodic Minor. (Jazzoud might hate the name but like the scale; it's got an open aug 2nd!).
From Bb: Bb C Db E F G Ab A
And this one couldn't be easier to concieve of: you just approach the chord tones of Bbm7 by a half step below.
By the way, the tune is called Antonio Carlos.
As for the 2 modes you mentioned. I view them as 48 modes within the diminished scale. I make all the chords possible from the first 2 modes of the scale then transpose them up in minor thirds. I provided a chart of all 48 modes and video performance of the many modes in actual performance at the link below
All The Best
Here's something that may be of interest to some.
There are two 7 note scales which are subsets of the Octatonic scale. They seem to be little documented possibly because they offer too little sonic difference from the full scale (who knows?). But they are interesting for a number of reasons.
I've chosen the roots and the names arbitrarily.
edit: Sorry, that's a bit blurry. There's a bigger one here... http://www.chordspace.com/images/jpegs/Octatonic.jpg
Hi Bob, thanks for the graphic, but it's a bit impenetrable, perhaps you'd like to offer some notes on it?
I understand that Forte 7-31 is (0 1 3 4 6 7 9), or in standard terminology (1 b2 b3 3 #4 5 6), which is indeed clearly a subset of the H/W diminished scale.
I'm confused that you are calling Forte 7-31 both "diminished minor" and "augmented minor" and referring to "two scales" which are subsets of the octatonic diminished scale, but you only list one such pitch set.
From my perspective, there are two overall heptatonic sets that can be subsets of the octatonic diminished, most simply considered as:
0 (1) 3 4 6 7 9 10 (or 1 #2 3 #4 5 6 b7) I'll call this form "A"
0 1 (3) 4 6 7 9 10 (or 1 b2 3 #4 5 6 b7) I'll call this form "B"
The question being whether there which of the following intervallic structures are contained within the scale:
M2 A2 m2 ("A")
m2 A2 M2 ("B")
It appears that in the Forte system that both of these would indeed be rearranged as
0 1 3 4 6 7 9 (7-31)
But I confess that I don't understand how that works, since the intervallic structure is clearly different.
Since in jazz practice, the root of the chord is relevant to the structure of the scale, there are actually 8 viable heptatonic diminished subsets:
octatonic: C Db Eb E F# G A Bb (1 b2 b3 3 #4 5 6 b7)
h1: C Db Eb E F# G A (1 b2 b3 3 #4 5 6) "A"
h2: C Db Eb E F# G Bb (1 b2 b3 3 #4 5 b7) "B"
h3: C Db Eb E F# A Bb (1 b2 b3 3 #4 6 b7) "A"
h4: C Db Eb E G A Bb (1 b2 b3 3 5 6 b7) "B"
h5: C Db Eb F# G A Bb (1 b2 b3 #4 5 6 b7) "A"
h6: C Db E F# G A Bb (1 b2 3 #4 5 6 b7) "B"
h7: C Eb E F# G A Bb (1 b3 3 #4 5 6 b7) "A"
h8: Db Eb E F# G A Bb (b2 b3 3 #4 5 6 b7) "B"
As you suggested, these tend to sound so much like the full scale that there is not much use in specifically selecting the heptatonic version.
However, there are some advantages to h2 and h4 in particular: the omission of the 6th allows some major-minor ambiguity and the omission of the #4 retains a closer relationship to the key.
h5 and h8 and sort of charmingly weird in their omission of the 3rd of the chord and the root, respectively.
Good stuff guys! I can't wait until my 10 hour gig is over tomorrow night so I can dig into all of this!
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