<![CDATA[bobbysternjazz.com - Blog: B Natural]]>Wed, 27 May 2015 04:32:45 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Diminishing Perspective - A Diminished Scale Line]]>Fri, 22 May 2015 10:51:41 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/05/diminishing-perspective-a-diminished-scale-line.htmlDiminishing Perspective - A Diminished Scale Line
Here's a nifty little four bar line, best served over a modal type vamp, which utilizes the complete 8 note symmetrical diminished scale.

Because the diminished scale is devoid of avoid notes, and due to its symmetry, is essentially polyphonic in nature (hosting 4 Major and 4 minor triads, 4 dominant 7th chords, as well as 2 distinct non enharmonic diminished 7th chords), a single tonal center can be somewhat ambiguous and not always immediately apparent. Nor does it need to be.

However, for the purpose of this exercise, letting my ear be the guide, a tonal center was chosen which felt natural, with alternates, based in the same diminished 7th chord (listed in parentheses).

They all "work", in both theory and practice, and are only suggestions in any case.

In line #1, measure #1, notes 2 through 7 (Ab to A natural) spell out a descending Tritone Scale, which is a hexatonic (6 note) scale formed from a Triad Pair; in this case, 2 Major triads spaced a tritone (an augmented 4th or diminished 5th) apart. The Maj. triads here are Ab and D.

In measure #2, the tritone scale idea continues.....almost (absent the note Eb), and in measure #3 transposes down a minor 3rd (missing the note C).

The line is presented in groups of 4, each line in that group belonging to the same diminished scale, and therefore, interchangeable.
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Treble Clef             Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Three's a Pair! Pt. 2 - Melodic Minor Triad Pairs - Rhythm Changes Bridge]]>Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:03:56 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/04/threes-a-pair-pt-2-melodic-minor-triad-pairs-rhythm-changes-bridge.htmlThree's a Pair! - Part 2
Melodic Minor Triad Pairs - "Rhythm Changes" Bridge

Back on the subject of Triad Pairs in general and Melodic Minor derived triad pairs in particular, this previous post would be a good preliminary read, containing the basic premises for this post.

As mentioned in that article, the pair of adjacent triads which most captures the sound of Melodic Minor are the Major & augmented triads, built off of the 4th and 5th scale steps, respectively.

(In C Melodic Minor = F Maj.(F-A-C) & G aug. (G-B-Eb) triad pair).

However,  the quality of the pure diatonic triad built on 5th step of Melodic Minor is not augmented, but Major - G Maj. = G-B-D, which is exactly the same in C Major.


In order to differentiate this triad pair from Major and give it the distinct MM flavor, the D in the G Maj. triad is raised a half step to the all important Eb (minor 3rd of minor key!), creating a G aug. triad.

In fact, he only augmented triad occuring diatonically in Melodic Minor is based on the 3rd scale degree, or Eb (Eb aug. = Eb-G-B) in C MM.

Because the inversions of an augmented triad are symmetrical, G aug., Eb aug. (as well as B aug) are all interchangeable. I just thought it more accurate, given the diatonic nature of the augmented triad in MM, to refer to it as forming from the 3rd scale degree, rather than the fifth.

Regardless how you call it, the premise of this exercise is based on the bridge - the middle 8 bars - of "I Got Rhythm" changes.

Because the harmonic structure of these eight bars is made up of 4 dominant 7th chords moving along the Cycle of Fifths at a rate of 2 bars apiece, the exercise can be pieced together in groups of 3 to complete a full cycle.

Anyway. it breaks down like this:

Line 1, Measures #1 & 2- The first line is simply made up of ascending triads, with one inversion. Since the bridge to "Rhythm Changes" begins on the III7 of the key in question, we're looking at E7alt in this case (Rhythm Changes in C).

Since the "altered scale" of choice for this E7alt would be - you guessed it - the E altered scale, or the 7th mode of F Melodic Minor, the triad pair derived from the 3rd & 4th degrees of F MM are Ab aug. & Bb Maj. In this case, however, we begin the line on the Major triad, which doesn't really impact its overal tonal flavor.

Measure #2 continues the ascending line, offering the next inversion of both the Bb Maj and the Ab aug. triads.

Line 1, Measures #3 & 4 is similar to the first 2 bars, with chord, scale, and triad pair transposing down a Perfect 5th (or up a P4th) - A7alt = Bb MM = Eb Maj. & Db aug. triad pair.

Line 2, Measures #5 & 6 is a bit different in that the line begins with a descending augmented triad. The triads change direction and rhythmical shifting is employed as it spirals downwards.

As in the previous measures, each chord, scale and triad pair transpose down P5th from the last.

Measures #5 & 6 - D7alt = Eb MM = Ab Maj. & Gb aug. triad pair

Measures #7 & 8 - G7alt = Ab MM = Db Maj. & B aug. triad pair.

I guess the "Rhythm Changes" part of this exercise is really only incidental. The real purpose is to practice Melodic Minor triad pairs over dominant 7th chords through the Cycle, and this works well on the bridge of "Rhythm"

Try alternating the order and direction of the Maj. and augmented triads, as wel as of the line itself
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Treble Clef       Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Polly Juanna Safecracker? - Pentatonic b6 Combination Exercise]]>Sun, 12 Apr 2015 16:08:24 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/04/polly-juanna-safecracker-pentatonic-b6-combination-exercise.htmlPolly Juanna Safecracker?
Pentatonic b6 Combination Exercise

PictureMs. Polly Juanna Safecracker
Been feeling locked out (or up!) lately?

This pretty little combination exercise, which unlocks the door and lets you get "up close and personal" with the Pentatonic b6 scale and its modes, is similar in construction to an exercise which I posted previously, based on the Pentatonic b2 scale.

While the Penta b2 could be considered as a derivative of the 8 note diminished scale system (as well as the lesser used Harmonic Major scale),
the Penta b6 is derived from the Melodic Minor harmonic system (scale steps 5-6-7-9-b3), but also found as part of Harmonic Major (scale steps 1-2-3-5-b6).

As its name suggests, the Penta b6 is a 5 note pentatonic scale with the 6th
(as being the interval measured from its root, not its scale step), flatted (eg. G Penta b6 = G-A-B-D-Eb, derived from C Melodic Minor or G Harmonic Major).

The "combination" part of this exercise comes from the melding of one bar apiece of Bergonzi shape #5 (ascending), the interval make up being:

Skip up - Step up -
Skip down - Step up - Skip up - Step up - Skip down

or shape #1 (descending):

Skip down - Step down - Skip up - Step down - Skip down - Step down - Skip up

with diatonic 3rds, moving in the opposite direction.

This creates a 2 bar phrase which is very "loopable" as the 3rds lead back nicely to the starting note. Each 2 bar phrase begins on a different scale step of the pentatonic, which will give you a great sense of flexible manuverability, once you get it down.

Since the Penta b6 contains a tritone between the 2nd and 5th scale degrees, make note of which dominant 7th chords it could express.

For example, C penta b6 (C-D-E-G-Ab, derived from F Melodic Minor, with the tritone "D - Ab", would indicate an E7 alt, or a Bb7#11, which would normally resolve to an "A" something or other.

You've got the combination, so get to crackin'!

 Look Out!
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Treble Clef                        Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Toot Your Own Horn Dept. - A Self-Transcription / Etude of "Like Someone in Love"]]>Sun, 29 Mar 2015 17:56:07 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/03/toot-your-own-horn-dept-a-self-transcription-etude-of-like-someone-in-love.htmlToot Your Own Horn Dept.:
A Self-Transcription of  "Like Someone in Love"

PictureThe Rev. Dizman Tootoot
Welcome to another, "Toot my own horn!" moment, featuring a self-transcription of the van Heusen-Burke standard, "Like Someone in Love".

As I'd been checking this tune out lately (for about 30 years), I thought it would make good subject matter for a post, with a recorded solo example, as well as an audio file thereof; both downloadable.

Now ain't that generous?!

I think it's a very healthy thing, in terms of self-analysis, to record and  transcribe one's self from time to time. The fact is, that if you don't happen to be one of the handful of "household (make that "practice room") names", you might as well transcribe yourself, for yourself.

Besides, "it's my blog and I'll toot if I want to"! Dig?!

"Like Someone in Love" was written in 1944 by the songwriting team of Jimmy & Johnny (van Heusen and Burke, respectively) for the movie "Belle of the Yukon" and was originally sung by Dinah Shore. It became a hit for Bing Crosby a year later and has become a popular vehicle for improvisers ever since.

My firsr encounter with fhe tune was upon hearing John Coltrane's haunting, super slow trio version from his Prestige album "Lush Life", which was among the first few jazz albums I owned. Being a novice at the time, the pianoless version was hard for me to decipher harmonically, but it was ever so beautiful and mysterious, and still is.

'Trane's version was in the key of Ab (concert), as were most of the other recorded instrumental versions of the tune that I had heard, although all the lead sheets and playalongs I found were in other keys.

As I've always thought of this tune as being in Ab (tenor key Bb) by default, I was happy to find an Ab playalong track for this little project at www.playjazznow.com. The track has a very straight ahead, relaxed, bouncy feel to it, inside harmonically and easy to play to. They might have chosen a more imaginitve ending, but hey.

"Like Someone in Love " is no doubt an interesting tune harmonically, winding its way through several key centers along it's 32 bar journey. Its most noticeable harmonic device is the descending bass line which happens for most of the first four measures,

Ab7   C/G  |  F-   F-/Eb  |  Bb7/D   Db7#11  |  C-7   F7

as well as the deceptive bv - VII (D-7 G7) cadence in measure #6, resolving momentarily to the tonic (Ab Maj7) for a measure.
It then jumps up and ii-Vs (Eb-7  Ab7) to Db for a bar.
It just can't sit still, so it jumps up once more and ii-Vs itself (G-7 C7) to F, this time for 2 bars, before cycling back for 4 bars (F-7 | Bb7  | Bb-7 | Eb7) to the tonic Ab.

Pretty slick for 1944
! Pretty slick for right now!

PictureOl' King Toot - Retro Style
And now for the TOOT!!

It's kind of difficult to comment on my own playing, but I'll give it a shot

OK, to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't be posting this if I didn't think the results were decent enough, right?

I've been playing on people's tracks for a lot of years now, so I have a pretty good instinct for style, that tends to click in automatically, depending on the situation.

Play-a-longs are a great way to practice and learn the basics of a tune, but past a certain point, they can become confining and can actually limit what you can do harmonically. One work around for that is to mute the channel with the piano and play with only bass & drums. I love playing that way, anyway, with a strong bass player especially.

You need to know the tune really well, and have the ability to both define and move outside / inside the harmonic format, in order to make that work.

With this particular track, unfortunately one is unable to mute the piano, as it is recorded in stereo. The Aebersold play-a-longs allow you do this, but for this particular tune, I specifically wanted to play it in Ab concert, and this track is in that key, and swings nicely to boot.


One thing about this short solo, which lasts a chorus and a half, that I'm pleased with, is my use of false fingerings, both on the head and in the solo. Because the tenor key is Bb, I'm able to make effective use of the lower octave fingerings for middle range Bb, C, Db D & F, as well as alt fingerings for high C & D. I tend to move back and forth between the actual and alternate fingerings, creating a quasi "wah-wah" effect. Maybe, because I started out on bluesharp, I feel the need to do this. Maybe it's just oral gratification, I dunno.

I like the fact that I'm instinctively using space, especially after flurries of 16th notes, that allow the very together and well recorded rhythm section to come through.

I also like the fact that there's a pretty fair amount of rhythmical diversity in the solo; i.e., a mixture of swung eighth notes, sixteenth note groupings; a few quarter, eighth and sixteenth note triplets, thereby avoiding a flow of any one rhythmic division exclusively (constant streams of eighth or sixteenth notes, etc.).

Range-wise, it spans from tenor low Eb to altissimo Ab; so 2 1/2 octaves, for a chorus and a half. OK..

The only thing that bugs me a little bit is that the first two 16th note phrases (bar 6 and 9-11) feel a bit rushed to me, but maybe not terrible enough to do a Disney on it.

Harmonically, it's pretty straight up. Linear, for the most part, with a few Melodic Minor (altered scale) devices thrown in on most of the ii-V7s.

Anyway, I don't know how "killin'" it all is, but I think I sound like I was having fun; which I was.

I hope you do too!

Have yourself a good Toot de Jour!

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Bb               Concert
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Roller Coaster Ride! - A Snakey, Chromatic ii-V7 Line]]>Sun, 08 Mar 2015 12:53:23 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/03/roller-coaster-ride-a-snakey-chromatic-ii-v7-line.htmlRoller Coaster Ride!
A Snakey, Chromatic ii-V7 Line

Picture"Roller Coaster" - Karen Elzinger
This exercise, which features the smaller intervals of Maj. & min 2nds,  was developed from one that I made up for myself a while back; when I first heard guys like Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, Steve Grossman and, of course, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, and Miles Davis from the mid '60s before them; who made frequent use of these snakey, swirling, chromatic types of lines.

The original exercise was made up of a pattern which, connecting each measure by a half step, repeated itself down a perfect 4th, and which can be found on pp. 71-76 of my eBook, "Slick Licks That Stick!" which is available right here.

The downloadable exercise presented here is my attempt to tonicize and resolve the original line. Probably the easiest and most accessible way to do that, in my estimation, was as.......you guessed it; some sort of ii-V7-I resolution.

The Breakdown:

Line #1, Measure #1; is constructed in two parts. The first beat (four 16th notes) consists of 2 ascending half steps and a descending whole step: = H(up) - H (up) - W (down)

The four 16th note cell, which makes up beat 2, is the exact inversion of beat one, namely;
2 decending half steps and an ascending whole step. = H(down) - H (down) - W (up). It starts a half step up from the final 16th note of beat one.

Beat 3, which begins a half step below the last 16th note of beat 2, consists of two groups of descending whole steps, spaced a descending half step apart: = W (down) - H (up) - W (down)

Beat 4 of measure #1, starting a whole tone up from the last 16th of beat 3, goes W (down) - H (up) - H (down).

Hey Gillespie! You look Dizzy. 
We're not even out of the first measure yet!

The good news is that measure #2 is exactly the same as bar #1 transposed down a perfect 4th, with the lone exception being the very last interval, which is a whole step instead of a half.

That, my friends, was from the original exercise.

I wanted to see where it could go and how it could resolve. I thought it needed a change of direction from a basically descending line in the first 2 bars to something moving back
the other way towards resolution.

The ascent begins in measure #3
, with a combination of half and whole steps. The last 5 notes of the measure belong to an F-Ab-B-D half tone / whole tone diminished scale, which take us to the top of the hill before skipping back down with a basket full of daisies in measure #4, via a contrasting arpeggiated figure, spanning an octave and a half

There are many ways to harmonize this line. The basic harmonies and root movement suggested here work well and sound good. The final 7#9 chord is a tonic
dominant, as in a blues, with both Maj. & min 3rd implications.

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Treble Clef              Bass Clef
<![CDATA[Coltrane's "Satellite" - The First Eight]]>Sat, 21 Feb 2015 12:32:48 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/02/coltranes-satellite-the-first-eight.htmlColonel Bleeped!
Coltrane's "Satellite" - The First Eight

PictureCol. Bleepdat knows "Satellite".
This post presents an exercise over the chord changes to the first eight bars of John Coltrane's "(Giant) Step-ed Up" up treatment of the popular standard, "How High the Moon", (Charlie Parker's "Ornithology" is based on the straight changes of the tune).

I posted a full transcription of Coltrane's solo, on "Satellite", as well as information about the solo and the recording itself, so I won't repeat that here.

"Satellite" is but one of several 'Trane originals, based on standards, over which he superimposed his version of the "Cycle of Descending Major Thirds", which has become known to the world as "Coltrane Changes" or "Giant Steps Changes".

Actually, this exercise covers the first four bars of "Satellite", since the second four are a repetition of the first, down a whole step (as is the original "How High the Moon").

G Maj7 / G Maj7 /  G-7  / C7        

F Maj7 / F Maj7 /  F-7  / Bb7           the first 8 of "How High the Moon" becomes

G  Bb7/ Eb  F#7 / B  D7 / G-7  C7   
F  Ab7 / Db  E7 / A  C7 / F-7  Bb7    Coltrane's first 8 of "Satellite".

The "cycle of descending maj. 3rds", where each successive Maj. triad is preceded by it's dominant, is in effect for the first 3 measures before cycling back to the original root (in this case "G"), which is now the root of G-7, the ii part of the traditional ii - V7 (G-7 C7), leading to the key of "F", a whole step lower.

The melodic content, in each of the first two measures is made up of basic 1-3-5 ascending Major triads and 9-b7-5-3 dominant 7th descending arpeggios.

In bar #3, the triad takes on an optional "ghost" note and the dom. 7th chord is expressed through a b7-8-9-3 digital scale pattern.

The ii-V7 in bar #4 is expressed through digital pattern 1-2-3-4 on the ii chord and a 6-5-3-1 descending arpeggio on the V7.

Once again, the melodic content of each 4 bars of this exercise is identical, transposed in each case down a whole step and connected by the preceding ii-V7 in the final measure of each segment.

Since the lines move in descending whole steps, there are 2 groups of six keys, and one can start anywhere within those 6 keys, before cycling back to the beginning.

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Treble Clef                Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Be-Boppin' the Harmonic Major Scale]]>Thu, 05 Feb 2015 21:56:58 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/02/be-boppin-the-harmonic-major-scale.htmlBe-Boppin' the Harmonic Major PictureProf. Diz - Dissecting the equations to some Universal Truths
As I've been recently treating the Harmonic Major scale like a new found toy, I've discovered, for myself at least, some of the unique and interesting qualities of this "hidden in plain sight" seven note harmonic system.

The practice of adding a non-diatonic passing tone to the Major, as well as the Melodic & Harmonic Minor Scales and their modes began as the "eighth note" became the basic rhythmic pulse unit of the music called "BeBop", and became known at some point as the "BeBop Scale"

I think it
was David Baker who first "bopularized" the term.

In order to create an even 8 count of eighth notes trom the original 7 note scale and allow a melodic line to flow and resolve evenly through measures of 4/4, a passing tone was strategically added, the location depending on the mode used, allowing the chord tones to fall on downbeats (and vice versa), for the most part.

So, with that in mind, I was curious to see how one might "Bebop-a-size" the modes of Harmonic Major.

Right off the bat, I hit a slight snag.

Because the "backbone" of Harmonic Major, like its Minor cousin, is essentially a diminished 7th chord (4 of its 7 scale tones; in C = D-F-Ab-B. built on scale steps 2-4-b6-7), the scale has an inherently dominant feel and resolution possibilities. The other 3 scale tones form its tonic C Maj triad (C-E-G), which, of course, also happens to be one of those resolution possibilities.

So what does all this mean as far as "BeBoppin'" this scale is concerned.

First of all, the unofficial "rules" of BeBop Scale creation state that a passing tone be placed between scale steps 5 & 6 for a Maj scale type. In this case, that would mean add an Ab between G & A. But...

In C Harmonic Major. an Ab is already sitting there laughing at you. So, anything between scale steps 5 & 6 is out of the question. In checking the interval scheme of Harmonic Major, we find that the make-uo is:

C - D - E - F  G - Ab - B - C

     W      W     H    W    H      1 1/2     H

This is the first mode, the tonic mode of C Harmonic Major, known as C Ionian b6. It's diatonic 7th chord, built in thirds is C - E - G - B
, which your garden variety C Maj 7, and which is what we'll try to express here with our "BeBopitated" scale creation.

This gives us really only three places to insert a chromatic passing tone: between scale steps 1 & 2
(C & D), 2 & 3 (D & E), and 4 & 5 (F & G ). We'll look at the augmented 2nd between b6 & 7 (Ab & B) in a bit.

Adding a passing tone between 1 & 2 (C & D) gives us:
C - C# - D - E  F - G - Ab - B / C
It sounds pretty good, right? It gets us to where we want to go, which is the octve C on the first downbeat of the next measure. Cool! The only thing is: the chord tones, aside from the root C, are all not on downbeats (bold). The chord tones (C-D-F-Ab) tell us that it would be expressing a D-7b5 more so than a C Maj7.

While it may not be in the official "BeBop Scale Rule Book", it's still a totally usable scale. Put it in your pocket.

Likewise with our next choice, a passing tone between scale steps 2 & 3 (D & E):
C - D - D# - E  F - G - Ab - B / C
Sounds real nice, with a blues scale element. But seems like it wants to say  F-7 (C-D#-F-Ab). Great! Never met one I didn't like. Put that one in your other pocket! C Maj7 please!

Our third and final attempt, a passing tone between scale steps 4 & 5 (F & G), is my choice; but not without a few compromises.
C - D` - E - F  F# - G - Ab - B / C
The chord tones don't all fall on downbeats (C-E-F#-G#), but the root and 3rd do, so the Major quality is at least accented. This example differs from the others, in that the passing tone, F#, actually falls on a downbeat
. The F# isn't even diatonic to the scale!

I can only justify that by saying, that from a theoretical standpoint, the F# could function as a #11, which is usually a pretty good note choice on a Maj7 chord. The Ab is the b6 (or b13) which happens to be the note that has been altered from Major in the first place, and which is the note element that gives Harmonic Major it's distinctive flavor.

You'll notice on the accompanying PDF file, however, that I only use the F# passing tone ascending the scale. The descending version uses the Db passing tone, from choice #1.

Why? 'Cause I like it!

So on those grounds, I think I deserve a stay of execution from the "BeBop Scale Rules Committee". don't you?

Plus, the overriding Law of the Musical Universe, originally brought down from the mountain and first uttered to the masses by Duke himself (Edward Kennedy Ellington, that is), who said,

"If it sounds good and it feels good, then it is good!"

Amen to that, your Dukeshipness!

The other 6 modes of the scale follow the same basic plan. Mode ii (Dorian b5) is the only other mode that uses a different passing tone in each direction.

Getting back to the augmented 2nd between scale steps b6 & 7 (Ab & B), I find it hard to justify a "passing tone" here (either A or Bb) because it wouldn't even function as a passing tone at all. Adding an "A" would just make it a regular C Maj BeBop Scale, with the "A" becoming the scale tone and the "Ab" the passing tone.

Adding a "Bb" would make the scale more of a C Mixolydian b6
(5th Mode of F Melodic Minor), which would in effect turn the "B "into the passing tone and the "Bb" the scale tone. So, I don't know if I'd buy that one.

Anyway, these are only my suggestions. They sound and feel good to me. Besides, I really haven't seen or heard a wealth of information on the subject.

May it sound & feel good to you,too. Go thee forth and "Bopulate".

Download PDF
Treble Clef        Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Harmonic Major - Cinderella Scale Story?]]>Thu, 22 Jan 2015 14:45:03 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/01/harmonic-major-cinderella-scale-story.htmlHarmonic Major - Cinderella Scale Story?
This post focuses on a scale system which has been given some lip service, but has been less well represented in either recorded or written examples; namely Harmonic Major

Personally, I haven't paid much attention to this scale and its modes up to this point; the reason being, I guess, is that many of its diatonic chord types
are embedded within some the more commonly used scale systems: Major. minor (melodic & harmonic), diminished and augmented.

However, I've come to discover that the Harmonic Major scale system is a unique and beautiful thing (or should I say thang?)!

Although a hybrid, of sorts
, it contains a number of strangely beautiful and exotic sounding (to western ears) modes and melodic possibilities.

So what, then, is this thing called Harmonic Major, and how did it get here?

First of all, you don't need a pair of magic slippers to manifest this baby! All you need to do is to take your everyday Major Scale........and flat it's 6th degree.

In terms of C Maj, that would mean "A" becomes "Ab".

Harmonic Major can also be seen as a Maj tetrachord (C-D-E-F) coupled with a harmonic minor tetrachord (G-Ab-B-C) a whole tone apart.

An interesting observation here is one which parallels the formation of a Melodic Minor scale by flatting the 3rd degree of Major.

What I mean to say, for example, is that if we take an F Lydian mode (4th mode of C Major) and flat it's 3rd degree, (again "A" to "Ab") we create an aptly named Lydian b3 (F-G-Ab-B  C-D-E-F

As we know, the "Jewel in the Lotus" of Melodic Minor harmony
is it's 7th mode, commonly referred to as the Altered Scale.

If we parallel that by viewing the 3rd mode of C Harmonic Major (E Phrygian b4 = E-F-G-Ab
) as the "quasi 7th mode" of
F Lydian b3, we can view it as a dominant scale which contains a difference of a single note (B rather than Bb) to the E7 altered scale.

E7 altered     =      E-F-G-Ab Bb-C-D-E (7th mode of Melodic Minor)
E Phrygian b4   =  E-F-G-Ab   B-C-D-E (3rd mode of Harmonic Major)

Even though the altered tone (b5) Bb becomes a natural 5 in the Harmonic Major mode, the Phrygian b4 still supplies us with 3 of the 4 possible dominant altered tones - F (b9) G (#9) & C (b13) for E7alt.

The E half /whole diminished scale
also has 3 altered tones (F, G & Bb). The A Harmonic Minor scale has only 2: F & C (b13).

This means that the 3rd mode of the Harmonic Minor scale is more than a worthy alternative to the altered, diminished and harmonic minor scales in representing E7alt, most likely resolving to an "A" something. However, as a result of flatting the A, we now have 2 sets of tritones and a diminished 7th chord (Ab-B-D-F), which means that besides E7, we could use this scale to express G7, Db7 & Bb7 as well.

Speaking of G7, the dominant V7 chord diatonic to C Harmonic Major, the below downloadable PDF contains several examples of diatonic "in house" ii-V7-Is, made up exclusively of tonal material from C Harmonic Major.

Many things one might play in Major could be presented in Harmonic Major with a fresh perspective. The b6 sounds good against a straight C Maj7, giving the line a type of "delayed resolution".

It has also come to my attention that Harmonic Major has some interesting pentatonics and triad pairs. A few standouts are:

  • Pentatonic b3 - F-G-Ab-C-D (omit scale steps 3 & 7) also found in Dorian & Melodic Minor
  • Pentatonic b6 - C-D-E-G-Ab (omit scale steps 4 & 7), also found in Melodic Minor.
  • Pentatonic b2 - G-Ab-B-D-E (omit scale steps 1 & 4), also found in the diminished scale.
  • Pentatonic #2, b6 - E-G-Ab-B-C (omit scale steps 2 & 4), from scale degree 3. One note short (D#) of the 6 note Augmented Scale, and shares its quality.

  • The triad pair of G Maj & F min is a strong, dominant sounding combination. Also native to Harmonic Minor.
  • G Maj & Ab+ expresses a more tonic C Maj7#5 sound.
  • E min & F min combines qualities of both of the above pairs.

As an added thought, three of the modes of Harmonic Major have equivalents among the 72 Carnatic Melakartas.

More material and details on all this stuff will be the subject of future posts, so stay tuned.

Thanks for hanging whilst I attempted to rediscover the wheel!

Ooops! It's one minute before midnight. Gotta go!

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B. Stern
<![CDATA[Signs of Augmentia - Augmented Scale Major / Minor Triad Pairs]]>Thu, 08 Jan 2015 18:16:11 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/01/signs-of-augmentia-augmented-scale-major-minor-triad-pairs.htmlSigns of Augmentia - Augmented Scale 
Major / Minor Triad Pairs PictureSigns of Augmentia++++
While we're on the subject of symmetrical scales (at least we were the last time I posted something), let's check into some of the possibilities which another, albeit lesser discussed, symmetrical configuration, commonly known as the "Augmented Scale", has to offer.

The Augmented Scale is a 6 note (hexatonic) scale made up of three minor 2nds, spaced a Major third apart:

C-Db, E-F, G#-A

Or, the same exact scale can be viewed
as consisting of three minor 3rds (or augmented 2nds), spaced a Major third apart:

Db-E, F-G#, A-C

Same exact scale and notes, starting on either the half step or minor 3rd side of the scale.

Another common way of viewing the Augmented Scale is to see it as 2 Augmented Triads; again either a minor 2nd or minor 3rd, apart:

C-E-G#, Db-F-A
E-G#-C (inversion)

The Augmented Scale also sports 3 Major triads:

(F-A-C, A-C#-E, C#-F-G#, spelled enharmonically);

as well as 3 minor triads:

(F-Ab-C, A-C-E, C#-E-G#, again making use of enharmonic spellings)

Regardless of which triad quality is considered, the Augmented Scale divides the octave into 3 equal parts. Since there are 12 tones in the Western Chromatic Universe, this means that there are 4 distinct, different Augmented Scales (12 divide by 3 = 4; trust me!).

It's the Major / minor aspect of the Augmented Scale that gets our attention for this particular exercise; namely a Major triad and the minor triad a Maj. 3rd below it (eg. C Maj & Ab min.

If we flip the script, we can see it alternately as a minor triad paired with the Major triad a Maj. 3rd above it (Ab min & C Maj), but for now we'll focus on the former triad pair order of things.

A triad pair, by definition, is any two triads which contain no common tones between them. Therefore, a triad pair which contains all 6 notes of an Augmented Scale, can be created with the above mentioned Maj / min triad scheme.

This line is based on a descending pattern utilizing a different triadic inversion for each measure, with an ascending/ descending shape.

For example, in 

Line one, 
measure #1: 

D Maj (2nd inversion / 5th - root - 3rd) = A (up) - D (down)F# 
Bb min (2nd inversion / 5th - root - 3rd) = F (up) - Bb (down) - Db

measure #2

D Maj (1st inversion / 3rd - 5th - root) = F# (up) - A (down) - D 
Bb min (1st inversion / 3rd - 
5th - root) = Db (up) - F (down) - Bb

measure #3

D Maj (root position / root - 3rd - 5th ) = D (up) - F# (down) - A 
Bb min 
(root position / root - 3rd - 5th ) = Bb (up) - Db (down) - F

measure #4

is the same as measure #1, down an octave.

The second, third and fourth lines are transpositions of the first, each time down a Maj. 3rd, with the appropriate Maj. / min triad pairs in effect. Again, each measure is a different way to express a complete augmented scale.

BTW, this scheme can actually be modified for use with triads (or trichords) in any scale
of any type.

Does the term "Cycle of Descending Maj. 3rds" ring a bell? 

It was made famous in 1959 by one John William Coltrane.

"Giant Steps"! Oh yeah! "'Trane Changes"!

As there are 4 different Augmented Scales, there are 4 versions of the above described patterns.

BTW, the above scalar pattern can be modified for use with triads (or trichords) in any scale of any type.

Get it in your fingers. 'Git it in your soul!"

More on it's uses and applications in a future post. In the meantime check "Categories" for previous posts found on this website, on the subject of the Augmented Scale.

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B. Stern
<![CDATA[Funkman's Delight #2 - Children of the Damned (Diminished Scale)!]]>Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:56:29 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2014/12/funkmans-delight-2-children-of-the-damned-diminished-scale.htmlFunkman's Delight #2 - Children of the
Damned (Diminished Scale)!

PictureStarring Cy O'Nara
The essential, most compelling element of the 8 note, symmetrical "Diminished Scale" is.........
it's symmetry!

Regardless of whether it starts with a whole or a half step, the beauty of this scale lies in its ability to be broken down into smaller pieces of three, four, five (pentatonic) or six note (hexatonic) cells, whereby these groupings can be combined and spaced at intervals, usually minor thirds or tritones, to create some very hip longer lines.

The potential downside to this method is that
the results of pure symmetry could end up sounding somewhat mechanical or mathematical. but for the sake of exploration and experimentation, that may not necessarily be a bad thing; at least as a starting point.

Besides, a lot usually depends as much on "how" you play something, as it does "what" you play; doesn't it?

But that's something for another post
. In the meantime.......

The line presented here is based on two inherent elements of the diminished scale: a minor triad and a Major triad. These two triads are spaced a tritone apart, which leaves them with no common tones. The resulting triad pair, in turn, forms a hexatonic scale.

Thus, this 6 note configuration is just two notes short of its 8 note parent diminished scale, but it gives us a leaner, meaner set of melodic material to work with.

The line in this exercise is 4 bars long and is meant to work over a static harmony, as in a "funk groove" type situation
, among others.

Checking out Line #i, which consists of the triads B min. (B-D-F#) and F Major (F-A-C), and which in turn forms the hexatonic scale: B-C-D-F-Gb-A. The two missing notes from the parent
diminished scale, in this case, are Eb and Ab (a perfect 4th).

Hearing this scale with "B" as the root of a B7 chord, each of the scale tones would then relate as follows:

B = root; C = b9; D = #9; F = #11; F# = 5; A = b7

Call it anything, but call it B7 b9 #9 #11.

Now check  out the same Line #1, this time over D as the root, naming the same notes as part
of a D7 chord.

Do the same for
F and Ab roots.

If you hadn't noticed, B, D, F & Ab are ascending minor 3rds and spell a diminished 7th chord, whose roots are interchangeable and which divide the octave into 4 equal parts.

We'll be investigating more of the diminished scale and her many "offspring" in future posts. For now, have fun playing in the sandbox
with this one.

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B. Stern