In this lesson we look at a short melody derived from the classical augmented scale ( 1, b3, 3, 5, b6, 7, 1 ) and play it in triplets grouped in 7. The melody could work in several harmonic contexts but we’ll just look at it in the context of concert A major 7 (#9 b13). Many improvisers use this scale in it’s various modes to improvise over major, minor and dominant chords.
The melody is played in a symmetrical sequence ascending by minor 6ths yet all the notes are contained in one scale. This scale, like the diminished scale or the whole tone scale is symmetrical and so 1 scale applies to 3 keys each a major 3rd apart (tri-tonic). Therefore there are a total of 4 scales each one representing 3 keys. You can think of the scale as compared to the major scale ( 1, b3, 3, 5, b6, 7, 1 ) or as two augmented triads one half step apart i.e. A+ and G#+ creating the scale covering the keys of A, C# and F. This is the same scale used in Lesson 7 where the major 7 #5 chords found in the scale are used within a dominant 7 context. Also, Lesson 56, on Giant Steps uses this scale in the first 8 bars over the tri-tonic progression.
In the video we’ll fist practice the rhythm of the triplets grouped in 7 over 2 bars of 4/4 time with the metronome – just singing. Than we’ll play the melody slowly rubato over a drone, next with the drone and the metronome and lastly with a bass and drums play along track at 120 bpm. If you’re interested in the drum and bass backing track, it is available here at CD Baby for 99 cents.
After you’re comfortable with the melody try improvising from the scale and perhaps find the different triads and 7th chords found in the scale. You could also play the melody starting on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd triplet of beat 1, 2, 3, or 4 in order to help hear the phrase in a different location in the harmonic rhythm.