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scales, modes, synthetic scales, symmetric scales, scale construction, melodic minor, harmonic minor, pentatonic

polymodal chromaticism

How to Use Polymodal Chromaticism

     The term polymodal refers to the use of more than one mode at a time. Usually the layered modes share the same tonic, like C Dorian and C Lydian. Polymodal chromaticism is related to the fact that it is possible… Read More »How to Use Polymodal Chromaticism

the importance of the tritone

The Importance of the Tritone in Harmony

     These next concepts will crucial to understand not only tonal harmony but also to understand how we can use this knowledge to escape the tonal pull exerted by certain chord types and instead work in an atonal or modal context.… Read More »The Importance of the Tritone in Harmony

the 6th diminished scale

The 6th Diminished Scale

     The construction of this scale basically consists on adding a b6 on a major scale that unlike the bebop major scale, with similar construction, is treated as a scale degree and not simply as a passing tone:      The addition of… Read More »The 6th Diminished Scale

melodic minor modes

The Melodic Minor Scale and Modes

     With the harmonic scale, we run into an augmented 2nd interval between the 6th and 7th degree. The idea behind the construction of the melodic scale is so that the melodic ascension towards the tonic is smoother by raising the… Read More »The Melodic Minor Scale and Modes

synthetic scale formation

Synthetic Scale Formations

     Because a scale is a collection of notes that divide the octave into a certain number of steps, I previously implied that you could create your own scale materials. When you do so, my only advice is that the process… Read More »Synthetic Scale Formations

harmonic minor modes

Harmonic Minor Scale and Modes

     Before we dive in, it is important to understand how this scale can be built. The harmonic minor scale stems from a need to have a leading tone in a minor scale that naturally doesn’t exist. In essence, the… Read More »Harmonic Minor Scale and Modes

matching scales to chords

Matching Scales to Chords

     Chords are made from scale materials or pitch sets, meaning that any scale that contains the notes of a particular chord that is being used is a potential candidate to be used over it. But something to always be… Read More »Matching Scales to Chords

the pentatonic major and minor scales

The Pentatonic Major and Minor Scales

     When I mentioned the overtone series and that the pentatonic scale is one of the most used and recognized scales in the world, you probably noticed that there were some scale degrees missing. Probably, the most commonly used pentatonic scale… Read More »The Pentatonic Major and Minor Scales


The Diatonic Major and Minor Scales

     The first diatonic scales we will be looking at are the natural major and minor. Scales can be classified as being major or minor, depending on the third interval between the tonic and the mediant – a major third is… Read More »The Diatonic Major and Minor Scales

scale degrees and the leading tone

Scale Degrees and Leading Tone

     In Western music, a diatonic scale is a heptatonic scale where each tone is a degree of the scale. Each degree refers to the relative position of a particular note to the tonic, the first and main note of the… Read More »Scale Degrees and Leading Tone

scales and the overtone series

Scales and the Overtone Series

     A musical scale is basically a collection of notes that divide the octave in a certain number of scale steps. The reason why the pitches are organized within one octave is so we can proceed with the same notes or… Read More »Scales and the Overtone Series