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Diminished Lick on Altered V7

Notation for diminished lick

Here is a nifty little finger-twister that can be used as a springboard for further exploration.

The theory behind diminished scales is fascinating and the naming of the notes and intervals contained therein is a contentious issue among musicologists - 13/6/bb7 anyone?

Therefore, purely to keep things simple, I have used the above description of the scale to highlight the available tensions that can be found when the scale is used this way.

Diminished scales can be confusing for many reasons - the main one being that the theory used to describe each type varies from person to person. The term 'auxiliary diminished' is often used to describe the HALF-WHOLE diminished but many people (many of them call themselves educators) can get this muddled up. It's best to keep things simple with the scale names below to avoid confusing yourself and others!

WHOLE-HALF (usually used over diminished chords)

F G Ab Bb B Db D E

HALF-WHOLE (usually used over altered dominant chords)

F Gb G# A B C D Eb

These scales are OCTATONIC (meaning that there are 8 notes instead of the usual 7) and there are some surprising chords to be found contained within them. In this case, I like to tell my students to avoid getting too hung up on what to call things and how the theory works and instead learn the sound of these scales. Let your ear dictate your choices.

Stay safe (and indoors!)


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