Can somebody explain diminished and augmented chords and scales?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by mingusitis, May 14, 2012.


  1. mingusitis

    mingusitis

    May 11, 2012
    I am really struggling with these guys. Not really sure the point of them. What would I play over a A augmented? or G diminished...? Why do these seem so much harder to grasp than an a minor 7 b5?
     
  2. funkybass

    funkybass

    Oct 19, 2006
    Indiana
    A augmented triad is a root,3rd and sharp 5. A augmented would be A C#, E#. Call it E# not F. A diminished triad is root,b3,b5. G diminished would be G, Bb, Db.
     
  3. mcblahflooper94

    mcblahflooper94

    Aug 31, 2011
    What he said. To make it simpler, a diminished is a minor triad with a flattened fifth. An augmented triad is a major triad with a sharpened fifth.

    What would you play? *shrugs* music. I do love the sound of an augmented arpeggio, though. Very weird sounding...

    G----------------
    D----1--5--1---
    A---2--------2--
    E-3-----------3-

    Edit: here is an augmented scale, I love it.
    G-------------------------
    D-----------1--2--4--5-
    A------2--4--------------
    E-3--5-------------------
     
  4. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    I love you, man.
     
  5. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Over an augmented, the "go-to" would be the whole-tone scale. Go up from the root using only whole steps (C-D-E-F#-G#-A#-C)

    Over a diminished chord (which by the way is 1-b3-b5-bb7) the diminished scale (go figure) - an 8 note scale with a WHWHWHWH construction (C-D-Eb-F-Gb-Ab-A-B-C). There are only 3 diminished scales, btw.

    The real magic is using these scales over other chords (particularly Dom7 chords resolving to I). Beautiful tensions available in both of these choices.
     
  6. blakelock

    blakelock

    Dec 16, 2009
    love the insight pacman. but could you clarify? Dom7 resolving to I. so this might be a I iv V progression, right? if so, which would you play over the V? diminished or aug? neither really fits the key but i guess this is the tension you're talking about.
     
  7. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    ii V7 I is a great progression to use this over. As is a V7 I. (remember, any V7-I can be treated like a ii-V7-I, and vice versa) You can play either whole tone or diminished over this progression if it resolves to the I chord. They're just different colors on your plate.

    Try to find some backing tracks on the web, or use a program like Band in a Box so that you can hear the tension and release created by these sounds. Most definitely worth your time.
     
  8. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Root notes, always root notes, augmented and diminished are the only time your fifth won't work.

    Basses only have roots and fifths, duh.

    :D
     
  9. Gaius46

    Gaius46

    Dec 15, 2010
    Isn't there also a diminished scale that starts with a half step. HWHWHWHW? How does that fit into the picture?
     
  10. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Diminished scale = H W H W H W H W
    Combination Diminished = W H W H W H W H

    Diminished works over diminished chord and Combination diminished works over a Mixolydian Flat 2. I think...
     
  11. mbeall

    mbeall

    Jun 25, 2003
    The sound of the half/whole diminished over a dominant 7 chord is pretty useful as it contains the chord tones with half step approaches to each of them. b2 -> 1 / b3 -> 3 / b5 -> 5 / 6 -> b7. If you avoid the b2 it's reminiscent of playing blues scales over the dominant 7 chord, throw in the b2 for a little more "out" color.'

    Oh, almost forgot. A simple way to create some pull in the changes is to avoid the root of the upcoming chord in the approaching line. Playing a HW diminished over a V7 going to a I works great in this manner as there is no P4 so it naturally dances around the root of the I chord.

    Mike
     
  12. diminished chords are often used as tri tone substitutions. That is, in a ii / V7 / I7 in C, a Db dim can be used in place of the V7 (G7). It this context, the root note becomes a chromatic descending passage. Dims are also used as pivot chords when changing key centers or temporary modulations within a song. So it is best to look at a dim / aug in context, not as a stand alone chord, for they are more often used as passing chords and substitutions. IOW, don't think of what to play just for the dim / aug, but how to get from the chord before it to the chord after it, and hit the root of the dim / aug chord on the way.
     
  13. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification

    No. Tritone substitution like this is between Dominant 7 chords. This works because the defining tones of the dominant 7 chords (the 3rd and 7th) are present in both DOMINANT chords. In your example, the Db7 chord substitutes for the G7 chord because of the relationship between the 3rd and 7th of each chord. (G B D F and Db F Ab Cb(B))
     
  14. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification

    Your scales are reversed. Diminished is W H W H W H W and half/whole Diminished is the opposite.
     
  15. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    Augmented = stack of 2 major thirds
    Diminished = stack of 2 minor thirds
     
  16. maxiegrant

    maxiegrant Bassist in Transition

    Nov 26, 2007
    Sellersburg, IN
    It probably fits in really nicely with pictures of Egyptian hieroglyphics and such.

    Or that place in France.
     
  17. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    That is correct. Generally jazzers use the term diminished scale while modern theorists (beginning with Stravinsky) referred to it as an octatonic scale (since there are 8 unique pitches). As a diminished chord is a stack of minor thirds if you take every other note from the this scale you have a diminished arpeggio.

    Popular with jazz soloists and neo-romanticists alike.
     
  18. Not to mention the Locrian half-diminished mode and its associated minor7b5 chord.

    Or several modes of Harmonic and Melodic minor.

    if you're just talking the intervals, you can have an augmented 4th and a natural 5th. Think Lydian.
     
  19. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I disclose nothing
    Diminished - to make (an interval) smaller by a chromatic half step than the corresponding perfect or minor interval.

    Augmented - to raise (the upper note of an interval or chord) by a half step.
     
  20. I had to learn these for school. Never understood the reason for a diminished or augmented triad. When would you use these triads, other than underneath the chord?
     
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