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 is driven by melodic or harmonic intent.

     That said, a way to do this would be to create small harmonic or melodic themes or ideas and from that, build your own scale. For instance, the tritone scale is created by the result of superimposing two chords – C major with Gb major. The only thing we have to do is to organize the material we come up with in consecutive diatonic steps. As an example, I will be constructing a scale based on the C maj7 chord, with the notes CEG and B. Now I will be adding a descending half-step to each chord tone and thus I’ll have an Eb, F# and Bb. When put in diatonic order, we get a scale that spells like this:

     The next example will be a pentatonic scale based on a half-diminished chord. If you consider how a minor pentatonic scale is built, this scale will be familiar except for the fact that it is built on a diminished chord instead of a minor chord. The chord notes will be B D F and A and to make it into a pentatonic scale we are only missing a degree; in this case it’s the 4th:

Pentatonic scale based on a half-diminished chord with added 11th (the note E)

     In this case, this scale could be considered a Locrian pentatonic scale or a scale based on a Bm7 b5 add11 chord.

     Remember that for every scale you come up with, you will have a set of modes that stem from that particular scale by applying the same principle for getting the natural, harmonic and melodic modes and thus increasing the melodic and harmonic possibilities of that material.

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