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What scale is this?

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by Alexi David, May 25, 2005.

  1. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    I often love doing this: instead of playing an alt dominant scale going into a minor I [ex. C7alt > Fm], like in a minor blues, I use this "altered" scale instead:

    C Db Eb E F G Ab Bb

    An 8 tone scale

    My question is, does it have a formal western name? Note-wise it's like the third mode of the Ab maj7 Bebop scale.

    I'm really into this sound on dominant 7 chords!! It also works nice sometimes on the Fm - giving an eastern sound (I jhear b6s a LOT in my head, being that I was born in Cyprus).

    Any names? Thanks in advance
  2. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    you could think of it as two tetra-chords , the first half being -

    half-whole diminished and the second half being minor.

    the flat 6 is sometimes referred to as the " neopolitan 6 "

    but i dont remember where or why
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    It's really just F Natural minor with a passing E, but I've been calling this scale the "bebop minor" scale for years to make it easier to convey in theory classes. What's really nice about it is that it contains both the R-b9-#9-3 aspect of the altered dominant chord, and the R-2-b3-4-5 aspect of the parent minor tonality. This is the scale that I aske every student to master as a "parent scale" for a minor ii-V-i before venturing into the myriad other possibilities - and FWIW, it's where the melody to many standards comes from as well.
  4. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    Right on....................wonderful sound for me. And it's a great "blanket scale", in moderation of course. Hmm.

    It's my usual scale of choice on V7alt > Im7 - I just can't get into the sound of the alt scale in that context (don't like the #4, basically !)

    Thanks Chris and fraub - anyone else?
  5. With the exception of the passing E natural, it sounds like a phrygian scale. However, if you were to take out the Eb and replace it with the E natural (that being C Db E(nat) F G Ab Bb (perhaps even replace with a B nat)) then you would have a Spanish Phrygian, if I'm not mistaken.
    Now, the exact name of this 8 note scale may not really exist, but folks have been inventing scales forever; it's just that the collective democracy of Western tonality decides to name a few of the common ones.

    For a terrific list of synthentic scales, check out Persichetti's "Twentieth Century Harmony: Creative Aspects and Practice."
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Exactly - that "#4" translates into a "#1" of the parent key, which often sounds glaringly out of place in the hands of someone who isn't hearing the note in terms of how it wants to be resolved.

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