Tag Archives: lydian augmented

Pentatonic Scale for Altered Chords – Modern Melodic Minor Secrets

The Pentatonic scale is one of the first things we learn. And since it is something we are very familiar with and we can use this to change it a bit and use it for other chord sounds like Altered Dominants or other melodic minor sounds. In this lesson I am going to show you a simple way to make a great pentatonic scale for altered chords and demonstrate how to learn and how to use it.

Creating the Pentatonic scale

I came up with this scale by playing a C minor pentatonic scale and then changing the C to a B. This is shown in example 1, first the C minor and then the B Lydian Augmented pentatonic scale.

As you can see in this example we can easily use that we already know 5 positions of pentatonic scales and that it is easy to “alter” the root so that we make them into or new pentatonic scale.

The Melodic Minor Connection

It is important to also notice that this scale, or 5 note set of notes. Is also a subset of the Ab melodic minor scale:

Melodic minor:       Ab Bb B Db Eb F G Ab Ab Bb

Altered pentatonic:          B        Eb F G            Bb B

This tells us that it is a part of the Ab melodic minor/ G Altered scale and we can also see that it is a good fit for the G7 with an F and a B in there.

Learning The Altered Dom7th Pentatonic Scale

Since the scale is layed out in 2 notes per string patterns across the neck, just like our normal pentatonic scales we can use some of the same exercises to get used to playing the scale

Here are a few excerpts:

The pentatonic scale in groups of 3 notes

The scale in groups of 4 notes:

Finding the chords in the scale

It is important to also have some of the structures under control in the scale. The place you probably want to start is to create some diatonic chords. In Example 5 I have stacked diatonic “3rds” which as you may know yields a lot of quartal harmony.

This exercise is shown here below:

The chords that we get from this are:

  • G7alt Quartal Voicing
  • Eb augmented triad
  • F Quartal Voicing
  • G7 Shell voicing
  • Eb Maj triad (2nd inv)

All of them are quite useful as upper-structures on a G7 altered.

Using the scale as a melody

To demonstrate the way this pentatonic scale works in the context of a II V I I have made three examples.

The first example starts with a pattern of an Fmaj7 (the arpeggio from the 3rd of Dm7). The arepggio is played in a 1 5 3 7 pattern. The line continues with a descending scale run.

On the G7alt the line is simply an ascending run up the scale that is then finally resolved to the 9th(D).

The fact that the pentatonic scale is a bit unusual in the construction makes it possible to get away with using it as a melody in the most basic form as a sort of enriched arpeggio.  

Putting some diatonic chords to use

The 2nd example starts with a Dm7 descending arpeggio. From here it continues with a short scale run. 

On the G7alt the melody is first the G7(#9) quartal voicing and then a Eb augmented triad in inversion.

The line resolves to the 3rd(E) of Cmaj7.

The upper-structure triad

This example makes use of the Eb major triad as an upper structure on the G7alt.

The opening on the Dm7 line is constructed first from an F major triad followed by an Am pentatonic scale fragment. On the G7alt the line is an embellishment of an Eb root position triad followed by a small scale run that resolves to the 3rd of Cmaj7.

Working with these altered or modified pentatonic scales

When you work on using this pentatonic scale it is useful to try to tap into some of all the things you already have in your system with normal pentatonics. There is a lot of tips and ideas already explored on guitar in several styles using pentatonic scales after all. 

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You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Pentatonic Scales – Melodic Minor – Altered Scale

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7 Jazz Scales for Cmaj7 – Vital Guide to Modern Jazz Guitar Sounds

What jazz scales you use over a chord tells you something about the sound of what you play in terms of extensions and alterations. In this video I am demonstrating the sound of 7 scales that you can put to use over a Cmaj7 type chord. Ranging from the good old major scale to a few atonal and more exotic scale choices. A big chunk of what is available in Jazz Theory I guess 🙂
For each scale I also give some suggestions for what arpeggios or pentatonic scales might be useful for that sound.

List of content:
0:08 Intro
1:32 Major Scale Improvisation
1:53 Major Scale, extensions and arpeggios
3:28 Lydian Improvisation
4:04 Lydian Scale, Target notes, extensions, pentatonic scales
5:18 Lydian #9 Improvisation
5:38 Lydian #9, sound, chord construction, arpeggios and triad pairs
7:55 Lydian Augmented Improvisation
8:24 Lydian Augmented Scale, Special Pentatonic, Cmaj7#5 and arpeggios
10:55 Don’t Study modes Rant!
12:18 Augmented Scale Solo
12:43 Augmented Scale, construction and Triad sets
15:53 Messiaen Mode Improvisation
16:26 Messiaen Mode: Construction, arpeggios, Minor Fragments
21:56 Lydian Augmented #9
22:38 How to find scales for a chord?
23:29 Lydian Augmented #9 – Arpeggios, triad pairs and ideas
25:48 Practicing using these scales – Target or Defining notes of the sound
27:27 Did I leave out any Scale options?

Improvising and using Maj7#5 chords

The Maj7#5 chord is a great substitute for Maj7 chords if you want a more spicy or surprising sound. In this lesson I am going to tlak about how you can use the chord and about what you can play on it, illustrated by a few example lines.

Using the Maj7#5 chord

The Maj7#5 isn’t really used a lot in standards and is mostly something you add to a song to get a new sound in the melody or improvisation.  The sound is closely connected to minMaj chords and a maybe not the chord you’d expect at the end of a cadence or top of a chorus in a standard, which is why it is effective as a surprising turn.

Since it is a less stable chord than a normal maj7 chord we can choose to resolve it back to a nomal maj7, that happens very often. The other approaches where you somehow uses the #5 to resolve to the next chord in the song are a bit hard to list here because it can mean changing that chord too etc.

The examples in this lesson are all on a II V I in Bb where I resolve to a Maj#5 and then resolve that to a maj7 chord. THe cadence is shown here:

Improvising on Maj7#5 - ex 1

What to play over a Maj7#5 chord.

The most common approach to these chords is to view them as Lydian #5 chords, which means that we use the melodic minor scale to improvise over them. That scale is shown in example 2:

Improvising on Maj7#5 - ex 2

In the first line using this sound the Cm7 line is first an Ebmaj7 shell voicing followed by a descending chromatic leading note an a scale run. It then moves chromatically up to the 3rd(A) of F. On the F7alt  it is first a sort of F# min cliche followed by an Ebm7b5 in inversion. On the Maj7#5 the line is quite basic: a Bbmaj7#5 arpeggio followed by a scale run before it resolves to the 5th(F) of Bbmaj7.

Improvising on Maj7#5 - ex 3

So the line moves from the Cm7 away from the tonality on an F7alt and then almost back with the Bbmaj7#5 before finally resolving to Bbmaj7

A variation of the lydian #5 sound is to use a Triad Pair to play the sound. In G melodic minor you have a C and a D major triad which would give you a good set of pitches to use over this chord. Both when soloing but also when comping.

The line starts with a stack of 5ths from Eb and then descends down the scale. On the F7alt I am first using an F#mMaj drop2 arpeggio followed by another descend through that scale.  On the Bbmaj7(#5) the C and D triads are used interchaning, so first the D major triad followed by a C major 2nd inversion triad and then a D and an A from a D major triad before resolving to the 9th(C) of Bb.

The advantage of using the triads is that they are so strong melodies that you can almost string them together in a random way and still get a good, if slightly odd, melody out of it.

Improvising on Maj7#5 - ex 4

The last example is using another sound than melodic minor, it is using the Augmented scale. A scale that I have covered in some detail in this lesson: Augmented Scale. This scale is a symmetrical scale that you could see as being the notes you get if you combine the notes of three major triads a major 3rd apart. In the case of this key that would be Bb, D and Gb.

The line starts out with a scale line on the Cm7 which is first the scale in groups of three and then just descending further. On the F7 the line consists of a triad pair from the F#m melodic scale: A augmented and B major. On the Bbmaj7#5 the line is a pattern played on first the Bb, then the Gb and finally the D major triad. The last note then works as a resolution to the 7th(A) of Bbmaj7.

Improvising on Maj7#5 - ex 5

I hope you can use the examples and ideas I went over here to incorporate the Maj7#5 chord in your playing and add another chord sound to your vocabulary.

If you want to download a PDF of the examples I went over here for later study you can do so here: Improvising on Maj7#5

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make thme fit what you want to hear.

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