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Diminished Scale/Chord help

mtfingers

Member
Messages
119
The Dominant 7th chord of the note you flatted by a semitone!
That's exactly it. This implies some very cool things:

1.) The note you are flatting is the b9 of the chord whose root is one note down. No matter what note you are flatting, so you can really look at any given diminished chord as three 7-9 chords. For instance an Ab dim would be a G7-9, but it would also be Bb7-9, Db7-9 or E7-9. Of course, its the same thing every three frets up! Now you have inversions (??) out the wazoo.

2.) Keeping that in mind, notice that a diminished seventh chord, is the 7th degree of the harmonic minor scale. So, for instance in a basic progression like this: |Cmaj7 | C#dim | Dm7 | G7 | , you can play a D har. min. scale over that C#dim. This becomes immediately apparent if you see the C#dim chord as an A7-9.

3.) BUT...isn't a C#dim 3 other 7-9 chords? Yeah man, they are, and what this implies is that you can play ALL 4 harmonic minor scales over that C#dim, and it will sound cool!!! Basically moving the scale patterns up in minor thirds, just like the diminished scale itself is all you have to do, so that C#dim chord will breed: D har. min. F har. min. Ab har. min, and Bhar. min. Now THAT'S cool.

4.) This is all diatonic, but not really diatonic, if you know what I mean. That C#dim is supposed to substitute for an A7b9 about 99% of the time, and this would be the sound you would want to go for. Still, nobody is going to shoot you if you play the other scales.
 

beavis

Member
Messages
116
Great thread guys, very interesting stuff. I'm a complete noob to this and don't mean to hijack the thread, but, is what you guys are talking about similar to the sound of playing melodic minor a half-step above the root of the dominant chord? It looks kinda' close to me...???

Also, I was recently shown the diminished arp. (I think) which was just all minor 3rds...i.e. if you start on A:

A, C, Eb, Gb

I am new to this but have sorta' been trying it in "turn around" type places and it definitely can create tension (maybe too much) but what specific chord types would it make sense over?

Thanks!
 

Tim Bowen

Member
Messages
3,483
Hey Beavis,

Whole tone, diminished, and augmented sounds sorta play together after a point.

Regarding use of the melodic minor mode, up a half step from the root of a dominant seventh chord, it's, as related to the root:

b2/b9 - b3 - 3 - #4/#11/b5 - b6/b13 - b7

For what it's worth, and to put it into a 'real world' context, I use this approach (and similar sounds) over an altered V7 chord, but never over a I7, IV7, or static I7 (plenty of FusionMeisters do so, however, and they're welcome to it; it depends on how much your ears [and never forget the ears of your audience] enjoy being tweaked).

Over a I7, IV7, or static I7, I'd personally be more inclined to choose melodic minor up a fifth from the root, which is merely a mixolydian mode with a raised 4/11. Listen to Wynton Kelley's piano ride on "Freddie the Freeloader" from Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.

About the only time I use harmonic minor scales anymore is up a 4th from a (non-altered) dominant chord.

Listen to the sounds of minor7b5 arps, up a major 3rd, as well as up a major 6th, from the root of a (non-altered) dominant 7th chord.

Keep in mind that I've not done mainstream jazz gigs in at least ten years, and I generally abhor the sounds of "fusion". What I'm talking about here is (my) practical application over pop, swing, blues, rockabilly, country, for what it's worth.
 

Tim Bowen

Member
Messages
3,483
Originally posted by Tim Bowen

As for practical application, a common usage is in bar (measure) #6 of a twelve bar blues.
Originally posted by jeffh

I just gave that a try... very cool. The band I play in hosts an open stage night. We get lots of 12 bar stuff and I get tired of hearing myself play :) Thanks for something new !!
Coolness, happy to have made myself useful for a change!
 

bbarnard

Member
Messages
3,632
Originally posted by fusion58
How to get started using this scale?

1) Learn the fingering patterns for the scale - familiarize your ear with the sound of the scale (and with the sound of the scale against the aforementioned chord types.)

2) Learn melodic lines and phrases built from the scale (whereupon you will begin to make music with the scale as opposed to merely running up and down the scale.)
Ah, there's the rub for me. I can typically get through #1 but don't have a clue where to go for #2. Thus anything I'm likely to trot out in real "playing" either 1) sounds like a scale run or 2) sounds like an arp played from root to whereever. I'd like clues on how to get to #2.
 

Tim Bowen

Member
Messages
3,483
Tone,

"Static" in this sense simply means that there are no chord changes. Players often choose a dominant 7th foundation as an improvisational vehicle (as opposed to minor or major tonalities), due to the fact that dominant tonalities yield or coax the wider array of harmonic possibility.

The most common scenario for the static I7 is probably a good ol' greasy funk groove. While the band was not particularly noted for improvisation, think any number of James Brown tunes that skank hard on a garden variety 9th chord voicing. "Acid Jazz" music is largely built upon this premise, although there are often interesting extensions and chord substitutions superimposed over the basic tonalities. For that matter, some examples of Rap and Electronica music would more or less fall in, although not so frequently depending on the dominant 7 backdrop. There are certainly examples of I chord vamps in other styles of music as well. One that comes to mind in the Blues genre is the Nighthawks' cover of Howlin' Wolf's "How Many More Years". Among classic Rock tunes, Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Born on the Bayou" springs to mind.
 

Tone

Member
Messages
608
Thanks a lot, Tim!

So static and vamp, are the same thing? I knew what vamp was, but never really heard static chord before.

Thanks!
 

bbarnard

Member
Messages
3,632
Originally posted by Tim Bowen


The most common scenario for the static I7 is probably a good ol' greasy funk groove. While the band was not particularly noted for improvisation, think any number of James Brown tunes that skank hard on a garden variety 9th chord voicing.
Which brings to mind the James Brown interview of a potential new guitar player for his band:

JB: Can you play a 9th chord?

NGP: Sure!

JB: All night long?:D
 

Tim Bowen

Member
Messages
3,483
Originally posted by Tone
Thanks a lot, Tim!

So static and vamp, are the same thing? I knew what vamp was, but never really heard static chord before.

Thanks!
My pleasure.

A "vamp" does not necessarily contain only one chord, but is usually quite simple in structure. Vamps are often utilized within tunes that contain more sophisticated chord changes, as vehicles for instrumental breaks, or as outro fades (endings).

A fairly common two chord vamp is the I-7 to IV7 move. A good example would be that of George Benson's cover of Leon Russell's chart, "This Masquerade". "Stormy" and "Spooky" by Dennis Yost and the Classics IV, as well as Steely Dan's "Josie" also contain this move. As best I recall, all of Benson's solos on the aforementioned recording were played over such a vamp, while the pianist took a ride over the changes that support the head (melody). I think Benson's vamp on the track was Fminor7 to Bb7 (voicing of which could contain extensions such as 9 or 13). "Vamps" are usually designed such that not a lot of cerebral forethought is required - the whole point is to set up a vehicle that is musically natural. There are of course exceptions.
 

Tim Bowen

Member
Messages
3,483
Originally posted by bbarnard
Which brings to mind the James Brown interview of a potential new guitar player for his band:

JB: Can you play a 9th chord?

NGP: Sure!

JB: All night long?:D

heh... a bandmate and I do this routine all the time - I suppose we're easily amused, we never seem to tire of it! I've often wondered if this was an actual conversation that took place, or if it was just a cute little story that was passed around for our amusement...

The dialogue that I'm familiar with is as follows:

JB: Can ya play an E9 chord?

GP: Yes.

JB: Can ya play it all night long?

GP: Yes.

JB: Let's go!




Either way, dat's some funny chit.
 




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