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5-Dim Scale

** Note: At the end of this page is the music download of the lesson.
Please scroll to the bottom, click to open, and then continue reading.

Following my previous column, here’s the same concept but this time on the diminished scale.

Again, for the ones who didn’t read the previous column;

My approach is to be able to name every note I play while I’m playing, its function in the chord and its musical and emotional impact. But I don’t want to think about it while I’m playing, I just want to do it, just like when I speak, I don’t spell the words in my head before it comes out of my mouth but I know what they are. I’ve been trying to develop a mechanism that would allow me to do it, and it starts with the way I practice. I train my brain as much as my fingers, to think fast and ahead of what I’m going to play. This exercise over the diminished scale will help you to locate all the notes and to be able to play freely everywhere on the neck, you will also have a better left hand positioning for sight reading.

Take note that the diminished scale has a symmetric structure:

Whole-tone, half-tone, whole-tone, half-tone, etc.
Obviously, I suggest you practice that scale in all tonalities.

Nevertheless, the “dim” chord has a dominant function when it resolves on a “min” chord

A half step higher. Its substitution being the “V7(b9)” of its resolution chord.
Bmin / Cdim / Dbmin, the Cdim chord is replaced by Ab7(b9).
Cdim scale starting on Ab.

This scale also has symmetric structure staring with a half-tone:

Half-tone, whole-tone, half-tone, whole-tone, etc.
The interesting character of this scale is that it has a natural 13 as oppose to other altered dominant scales who has a b13 (#5)

Have fun,
Alain Caron

If you have not done so already, please click below to download the lesson.


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