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does this scale have a name?


Dave Horne

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I stumbled onto this scale many years ago and occasionally incorporate it into my warm ups (and into my improvising).

 

This descending scale is based on an augmented triad. You approach each chord tone from a half step above. This particular scale sounds better when descending, but is still quite usable ascending.

 

Using a C+ (C, E, G#) chord, this descending scale would be:

 

Db, C, A, G#, F, E, Db, C, etc. (I made the chord tones bold as they are the target notes.)

 

If I had to guess a name, I would say this particular scale might be a C augmented scale(?). At any rate, it can be used over a dominant 7th chord or anywhere you want to step a little outside. Just passing this on. Have fun.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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I've always called it the augmented scale. I practice it in both ascending and descending fashion, and I find it sounds good in thirds too. (Ascending: C E D# G E Ab G B Ab C B D# C E....)

 

I've heard Keith Jarrett using it quite a few times. It sounds good on a major seventh chord - just be sure not to put the major sixth in your left-hand voicing, or you'll have a car wreck. :D

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Thanks Dave .... yes, having fun with this one.

 

Because of its symmetrical nature it lends itself to 4 note patterns ...

 

Ascending .. Db C (up) A G#, F E Db C, A G# F E, Db C A G#.

 

Descending .. Db C (down) F E, A G# Db C, F E A G#, Db C F E.

 

.... cheers, Guy :-)

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In addition to using it over a C chord, Dave, it could be used over a Db chord, too. In Db, it contains the major and minor thirds, and the perfect and augmented fifths, as well as the maj 7. So, you could use it over a Dbmaj7, a DbmMaj7, a Dbaug, for examples.

 

Try playing it (the Db version) over some major seventh chords on one of your next high-society gigs, and let us know how it goes over! :)

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Originally posted by Floyd Tatum:

In addition to using it over a C chord, Dave, it could be used over a Db chord, too. In Db, it contains the major and minor thirds, and the perfect and augmented fifths, as well as the maj 7. So, you could use it over a Dbmaj7, a DbmMaj7, a Dbaug, for examples.

Um. To clarify: If the scale you're referring to is C, Db, E, F, G#, A, Db, then to me the tonic is Db, and I would never use it over a C chord (unless I decide to play 'outside' :) ).

The augmented scale I would use over a Cmaj7 chord is C, D#, E, G, Ab, B, C.

 

To clarify further: I said the tonic of the first scale is Db - but it could be F or A as well. Like the augmented triad, and like the diminished chord and scale(s), the augmented scale is symmetrical; it repeats itself every major third.

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To add to what Marino said, the law of the half step comes into play. (This is the same discussion we can have with labeling and discussing the function of diminished 7th scales.)

 

The resolution of the half step makes one note more important than the other, so to speak. While I may have started this particular scale on a Db, the scale is really based over a C+ chord and would function as a C+ scale (and that's why I made the chord tones bold).

 

Of course, with such a scale, you can plug it in anywhere and use your ears to see of it works ... or not; that's always the bottom line for me.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Instead of invoking the 'law of the half step', I should have just stated voice leading. The resolution of the half step points, if you will, towards the target note.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Nice scale.

 

Since it's symmetric, it would also be cool with A, Aflat, F and E major tonalities as well as their relative minors. There is a strong "harmonic minor" allusion to it, that suggests some easy modulation between some of those scales.

 

Jerry

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I love this scale and I use it often. It has a vagrant and mysterious quality and it can be very effective for "outside" playing and adding tension in select places.

 

I've heard Kenny Werner do some really nice stuff with augmented scales...

 

Kirk

Reality is like the sun - you can block it out for a time but it ain't goin' away...
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