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Whole Tone Scales

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by stephanie, May 18, 2001.


  1. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Hello Mike,

    I've been starting to learn about whole tone scales. I was just wondering what the benefit of these scales are? Like, do you ever use them in any of your music? To me, they don't seem very interesting, but my teacher likes em a lot, so there must be some good in them.

    ..as well as the augmented scales..though they're kind of starting to grow on me. LOL

    ..maybe it's because they just sound different than a normal scale? Are they good for adding a different 'flavor' to a song?

    Thank you for your time.

    Cheers,

    ~Stephanie
     
  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Each chord has one or more scales that can be played over it depending on its function within the tune. The whole tone scale has a major 3rd and minor 7th, thereby making it appropriate over dominant 7th chords. In addiiton, the #4 creates a scale that does not contain any "avoid" notes. Finally, there is the #5, for chords such as a G7#5.
    Jaco used the whole tone scale often. Often times on a G7#5 you can substitute the altered scale.

    Mike
     
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Isn't it the case that these are used - as you say by Jaco - but are mostly associated with Jazz and will give you a "Jazzier" sound if used? Most types of popular music the harmony doesn't really get into these "advanced areas" - that I know about anyway. I think somebody said around here that the more you learn about theory - scales chords etc - the more you want to play Jazz! ;)

    A lot of music is purely diatonic - like Ska, Afro Cuban, Punk etc. and I've never seen a G7#5 in anything other than Jazz?
     
  4. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    You're absolutley right and by the discussion going on in the Jeff Berlin/Sonny Stitt thread - you will always be right, in my view ;) )

    I think that I mispoke by saying Jaco used whole tone scales on 7#5 chords. I should have seperated the 2 ideas that 1) jaco used them and 2) You can substitute an altered scale over the 7#5 chords

    Whole Tone is definitley a jazzier kind of thing. As you say it is just not that prevalent in pop music (mostly diatonic or blues oriented)

    Mike
     
  5. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Wow..I'm beginning to see now. Thanks. :)

    And I can see why my teacher likes them. He's heavy into the jazz stuff. (Even has me learning out of a jazz method book).

    I think I read a thread somewhere, somewhere up in technique or general discussion about playing scales over chords. I can see now that the whole tones scales can definately have some flavor. It's just that when I was playing them they seemed 'blah', but I think I'm starting to look at them different now. :)

    Thanks,

    ~Stephanie

    PS: What's the G7#5 chord? Let me try to guess for myself..Is it G B D# F ?
     
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Ever watch much "Gilligan's Island"? Whoever did the music for that show always insterted a whole tone scale over the soundtrack every time Gilligan fell asleep and started dreaming. Maybe you could use them in a pop song if you wanted to evoke some "bad TV" nostalgia.
     
  7. Lovebown

    Lovebown

    Jan 6, 2001
    Sweden
    A G7 chord with a D# instead of a D, probably.

    /lovebown
     
  8. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    Which is G B D# F.
     
  9. Lovebown

    Lovebown

    Jan 6, 2001
    Sweden
    Go away oyster :p

    /lovebown