Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Diminished Scale As Two Partial Minor Scales

Here's a useful tip I picked up from a Barry Greene book.

The diminished (whole/half) scale is usually viewed as a series of consecutive whole steps and half steps:

A diminished whole/half scale = A, B, C, D, Eb, F, Gb, Ab

Playing the diminished scale in this manner usually yields mechanical patterns and sequential licks.

If we look closely at the first 4 notes of the A diminished scale we'll notice that they spell out the first 4 notes of an A minor scale, namely A, B, C, D.

The next 4 notes, Eb, F, Gb, Ab spell out the first 4 notes of an Eb minor scale.

Using Barry Greene's concept, a diminished (whole/half) is made up of 2 partial minor scales a b5 apart! Which should make for more melodic lines when playing diminished ideas.

Note #1: The whole/half diminished scale is used to improvise over diminished chords.

Note #2: Over dominant 7th chords resolving to a 4th above, eg. G7 to C, play the half/whole diminished scale. Or use the Barry Greene concept and play your partial minor scales a half step higher than the dominant chord you're playing over. Eg. for G7 think Abm/Dm partial scales.

Pretty useful stuff.

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