Whole seep and half step diminished scales

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Steve1216, Oct 2, 2017.


  1. Steve1216

    Steve1216 Member

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    what are the actual differences? Are these just different fingering positions of the same scale? Or are they totally different scales with different uses and purposes?
     
  2. JonR

    JonR Member

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    One is a mode of the other. IOW, the diminished scale has just two modes, WH dim and HW dim. (And there are only three diminished scales; each one has 8 potential names.;))

    The application of the scale (either mode) is where it adds notes a half-step below chord tones.

    So for a Bdim7 chord (B D F Ab), the B WH dim scale adds A# C# E G (like adding an A#dim7 arpeggio beneath the Bdim7).
    For a G7b9 chord (G B D F Ab), the G HW dim scale adds A# C# E (the chord already has G, obviously). Think of this chord as Bdim7 with a G root. Or think of Bdim7 as a rootless G7b9.

    IOW, it's all the same set of notes, it just depends where you count it from, which note you think of as root.
    What's important is that the dim7 takes WH dim, and the 7b9 takes HW dim, and not vice versa.
    Dim7s are symmetrical chords, of course, and they have various uses, but the way to remember the scale is it always just adds notes a half-step below (or whole step above) each chord tone.
    Likewise, if have a 7b9 chord, you ignore the root and just add notes a half-step below all the other chord tones.
     
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  3. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Not “the same” any more than the C major scale and E Phrygian are.
     
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  4. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    Mick Goodrick defines that as a "derivative" analysis. E Phyrian is derived fron C major.

    The other way Goodrick defines this info is to look at it as "parallel", how do they differ when having the same root. The way I was taught to do this is, C Phrygian is just like C Ionian but with a b2, b3, b6, and b7. That is a parallel comparison.

    I use both these ways depending on which way the wind is blowing.
     
  5. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Check out Robben Ford's playing to see how he uses the HW.

    I-IV in a blues is a V-I move so he's uses the HW over the I chord moving to the IV to create tension (alteration).
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
  6. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Damn! Yes that's a typo on my behalf. I'll edit my post.
     
  7. Buduranus2

    Buduranus2 Member

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    Jon, one of the other members mentioned in a previous post that there are four dominant chords a minor third apart in a diminished scale. If I think of them as 7b9 chords, they're all the same chord if you leave off the root. For example, G7b9 (B D F Ab) Bb7b9 (D F Ab B) Db7b9 (F Ab B D) E7b9 (G# aka Ab B D F) Can you provide an example of how I can apply this? Appreciate you as always.
     
  8. blueworm

    blueworm Member

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    Interestingly the 'Hendrix' chord is included in HW diminished scale (e.g. G7#9 in G HW)... at least from enharmonic point of view. But it's more a byproduct of the scale (whereas the Hendrix chords comes from the blues). btw since classical composers have used this scale (it's referred as octotonic) you can spot the 'Hendrix Chord' in some classical pieces, way before Hendrix.
     
  9. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Well, personally, I wouldn't apply it. :) It's too much for my little brain to think about while I'm playing.

    If I see a 7b9 chord, I am aware I can use dim7 arpeggios built off any of the chord tones. That's easy, and relatively effective. And there are chromatic passing notes a half-step below each of the dim7 chord tones (one of which is the 7b9 root of course), if I need any more notes (which I rarely do).

    If I see a dim7 chord, it matters how it's functioning. It's not always a vii chord. If it is a vii chord, then I see it as functioning the same as a V7(b9). But I don't really see any point in seeing it as also the other three 7b9s (or 7#9s) that can be harmonized from the respective WH dim scale. Yes, they will offer a series of 5-note arpeggios, which might be interesting. But essentially, like I say, it feels like too much to think about. How long is this chord lasting? Four beats at most, and probably only two. Why would I want to make hard work for myself? (I can't hear fast enough to make sense of that many notes, even over 4 beats.)

    I'm more interested in where the dim7 is going, how to make whatever I play on the dim7 resolve to the next chord. I might well play only one or two notes on the dim7 - and they're almost certainly going to be chord tones, because obviously they're safe regardless of function. It could be a common tone diminished (Cdim7 going to Cmajor), or a passing chromatic dim7 (Cdim7 between C#m and Bm). The WH dim scale would still be the best source of notes outside the arpeggio, so in that sense the dim7's function can be ignored, but the point about resolving to following chord tones is still crucial.

    TL;DR. If you want some fancy jazz advice on "applying" stuff, you're asking the wrong person. I work with what the song gives me, and add chromatics if that's not enough. That principle has served me well for 50 years now, in all styles and genres, and I see no sense in changing it at my advanced age ;).
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
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  10. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    That's a cool move, taking a note in the dim7 1/2 step down and get a dominant 7 chord.

    And if you raise any note in a dim7 chord you get a m7b5 that is a super common sub for a dominant chord. And as you go up in m3rds, you get the four different shapes of the m7b5.

    This raising and lowering idea works the same with the augmented triad, except it moves up the neck in maj3rd leaps. So lower a note in the aug triad and it makes a major triad. Raise any note up 1/2 step and you get a minor triad. Between the two you can harmonize a major scale.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
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  11. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    Another very cool use of the diminished chord is to harmonize bebop scales.

    Key of C major (alternate C6 and dim7)
    -----------------------------------------------------
    -1-----3-----5-----6-----8-----9----10----12
    -0-----1-----2-----4-----5-----7-----9-----10
    -2-----3-----5-----6-----7-----9----10----12
    -0-----2-----3-----5-----7-----8----10----12
    -----------------------------------------------------

    A more "automatic" way of playing this is by getting rid of the 3rd voice. In the above example that would be the 4th string, don't play it and get rewarded with easy to play, and easy to be fast with these three note chords.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  12. Bb7

    Bb7 Supporting Member

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    I think that would be me? OK, buckle up....

    So, taking the HW dim: C Db Eb E F# G A Bb C

    Major triads : Cmaj Ebmaj F#maj Amaj
    Minor triads : Cmin Ebmin F#min Amin
    Dim. triads : Cdim Ebdim F#dim Adim -- also Dbdim Edim Gdim Bbdim

    These are useful over bass notes esp. the maj triads: A/Bb = Bb A C# E = C13b9

    Notice no aug triads.... but you can freely use them if you want.... maybe sneak in an Ab...

    The dim7 chords:
    Cdim7 = Ebdim7 = F#dim7 = Adim7 -- and -- Dbdim7 = Edim7 = Gdim7 = Bbdim7

    Dbdim7 = Db E G Bb (should be written C#dim7 but lots of enharmonic things to deal with here...Db Fb Abb Cbb?)

    Lowering one voice = C7 > C E G Bb > a.k.a. F#7b9(no root)
    Lowering two voices = C6 > C E G A > a.k.a. Am7
    Lowering two voices = Cm7 > C Eb G Bb > a.k.a. Eb6
    Lowering two voices = C7b5 > C E F# Bb > a.k.a. F#7b5
    Lowering three voices = Cm6 > C Eb G A > a.k.a. Am7b5
    Lowering three voices = Cm7b5 > C Eb F# Bb > a.k.a. Ebm6
    Lowering four voices = Cdim7 > C Eb F# A

    *N.B. Cdim7 can also be a part of HW starting on B as in B7b9, and as in C7b9>F7b9

    You can also raise voices....

    Take an open A chord and add a G on the low E string > A7/G and raise A to Bb for G dim7

    G E Bb Db - raising one voice a whole step:

    G E Bb Eb (Hendrix w/5th in the bass - you can always play C)
    G E C Db
    G F# Bb Db
    A E Bb Db

    These give you major triads with the b9 (m2) or dim triads with a maj7

    G F# Bb Db = F#/G = Gdim/F# (the denominator in slash chords doesn't have to be the bass, more like "add")

    Raising multiple voices leads to other possibilities

    G F# Bb Eb = Ebm/G = Eb/Gb
    G F# C Eb = Cm/F# = Cdim/G

    This is where the "blues" thing happens in this context - voicings with min/maj 3rds, dim/perf 5ths


    Then apply to Eb, F#, A

    Dbdim7 = Db E G Bb (here Db makes more sense....)

    Lowering one voice = Eb7 > Db Eb G Bb
    Lowering two voices = Ebm7 > Db Eb Gb Bb etc............

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    These m7/m7b5's are interesting - esp. to apply "bebop chromatic" stuff to:

    Minor 7ths : Cmin7 Ebmin7 F#min7 Amin7
    Minor 7b5 : Cm7b5 Ebm7b5 F#m7b5 Am7b5
    Major 6ths : C6 Eb6 F#6 A6
    Minor 6ths: Cm6 Ebm6 F#m6 Am6

    dom7:

    C7 Eb7 F#7 A7
    C7b9 Eb7b9 F#7b9 A7b9
    C7#9 Eb7#9 F#7#9 A7#9
    C7b5 Eb7b5 F#7b5 A7b5 (the french aug6?....)
    C13 Eb13 F#13 A13

    combinations > C13b9, A7b5#9b9 etc. these are where triads (or 7ths) over bass notes can be easier to think of

    C13b9 = A/Bb would be the strongest, but you can also move in m3rds
    "C7b9" = A/Bb C/Db Eb/E F#/G

    Sandwiching a m7b5 between these is cool...on the middle 4 strings play an open A chord and add a Bb instead of the usual open A string.

    Then move up through the scale:
    A/Bb Cm7b5 C/Db Ebm7b5 Eb/E F#m7b5 F#/G Am7b5 A/Bb

    there's no end to this kind of thing....

    voiceleading half dims > Cm7b5 Ebm7b5/Db F#m7b5/C Am7b5/C - or alternate m7b5 with m7 etc.
    structures like Cm7/E, Cm7b5/Db....

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This isn't music, more like "every crayon in the box" spilled out on the floor.

    It's important to use this vocabulary in a sentence i.e., Gm7 / C7b9 / Fmaj7

    The tendency is to run up and down the entire scale or grab every voicing you can - it's better to tag a small piece of it.

    We all know the dim7 repeating up in m3rds - but everything on this page can be moved in the same way. Also move any of the voicings diatonically through the scale and in position (all the m7ths in the open pos, etc.)

    We enjoy Escher's tessellations because they modulate across the page - take shapes from this scale and alter them chromatically over time. You can still add an 11th to a minor 7th chord, or play any bebop phrase....once you introduce subs/passing tones it all goes 12-tone more or less.

    And, if I add an Ab > (C Db Eb E F# G Ab A Bb C) suddenly everything changes....

    Yes. NEVER think this way (or think at all) while you're playing.
     
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  13. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Nice post.

    Once you realise the whole move in min 3rds thing it opens up a plethora of subs/lines etc.......

    I still really dig the synonyms section of Chord Chemistry.................which I know is another topic entirely, but it produces similar results. For example figuring out that Cmin7b5 = rootless Ab9 = Ebmin6 etc..... is gold.
     
  14. Bb7

    Bb7 Supporting Member

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    Cheers. Yeah you can really play anything.... very cool clips of Ted on youtube. this stuff slays me

     
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  15. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Love that.
     
  16. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Sure! The idea is to absorb all of that through practice until it's subconscious. It becomes a natural second language when you play.

    But - like I said before - I've found my own way of approaching improvisation which doesn't involve anything like the stuff you've spelled out. I'm well aware of all of it, but never found the inclination to practice it. I'm faint-hearted when it comes to jazz. Can't commit! I like to hang around too much with other kinds of music to give jazz the attention she deserves. ;)
     
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  17. Buduranus2

    Buduranus2 Member

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    Thank you Clifford. Really eye-opening. I'm guessing that if I raise and lower the right notes in a diminished chord there's a IIm7b5 V7b9 cadence in there?
     
  18. Buduranus2

    Buduranus2 Member

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    Whoa, this is enough to keep me busy for quite a while. Thank you for spelling things out so clearly. I'll digest it one small bite at a time. Many thanks!
     
  19. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Yes. You could use Bm7b5-G#dim7 to resolve to Am. Only one note different in those first two. Lower the F in G#dim7 and you have E7.
     
  20. Bb7

    Bb7 Supporting Member

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    Always fun to solve crossword puzzles like this ;) have never written all that out before... Yeah raise one voice for m7b5 is good, and easier to see than lowering 3 voices - the classic 2-5 in minor but reversed.... But use Cdim7 instead of Dbdim7

    Also when you take the HWdim from the chromatic scale you get a dim7:

    C Db D Eb E F F# G Ab A Bb B C

    Great colors (12-tone sort of) surfing in and out of these.... Our ear easily accepts G7b9 to C7b9
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017

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