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Harmonica Lessons: Diminished Scales

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I'm going to explain to you,
how to use the diminished
scale in jazz improvisation.
First, we have to tell you,
what the diminished scale is.
It's a scale that's not like most of the
other scales that you've played because
it has eight notes between C and
C, and it is a symmetrical scale.
It doesn't really go along with a major,
or a minor chord.
It goes along with the diminished chord,
and its pattern is, whole step, half step.
As many times as you have to
do that to get from C to C.
I'll show it to you on the keyboard first.
If starting on C, it goes from C to D,
that's the whole step.
then a half step from D to E flat.
[SOUND] So, it's whole step, [SOUND] half
step, [SOUND] the next whole step to F,
[SOUND] half step to F sharp,
[SOUND] whole step to G sharp,
[SOUND] half step to A, [SOUND] whole
step to B, [SOUND] half step to C.
[SOUND] So, there's eight notes, one,
[SOUND] two, [SOUND] three, [SOUND] four,
[SOUND] five, [SOUND] six, [SOUND] seven,
[SOUND] eight, [SOUND] and then C.
[SOUND] Instead of like a major scale,
it has seven notes.
And this scale outlines,
what's called the diminished
seventh chord.
A diminished triad is two minor thirds.
[SOUND] A diminished seventh
is three minor thirds.
if you play the diminished seventh chord,
filling in the notes in between,
you get the diminished scale.
The thing about this is,
there are only three of them.
Since it's symmetrical, the diminished
scale for C, E flat, F sharp, and
A, it's all the same, just starting in
a different note, it's all the same notes.
So, the first one, you could say, is C.
[SOUND] The next one,
[SOUND] is C sharp,
and the next one is D.
So, that if you're looking at a jazz
tune that says, D diminished seventh.
You could not only play the arpeggio.
You could play
it takes
some doing
to hear this.
You could think of this
to orient yourself,
I'm playing a D diminished scale on a C
harp starting on the first hole draw.
[SOUND] A flat, [SOUND] B flat,
[SOUND] B, [SOUND] C sharp, D.
It could be like going to
the minor key, each minor third.
There's a bunch of horror movies
that have things like that in them.
You'll start recognizing these cliches.
If you could just get that one
diminished scale down, just for
your ears,
that would be a really good thing.
Now, the jazz way of using
the diminished scale, aside from,
if you see a diminished seventh chord,
[SOUND] is to use it starting a whole
step below the key that you're in.
So, if you have an E7 chord,
you could either start on the D,
or play it half step,
whole step, starting on the E.
[SOUND] Because that gives you
the flat nine, [SOUND] the sharp nine,
[SOUND] the third, [SOUND] the sharp
fourth, or the sharp 11th, [SOUND]
the fifth, [SOUND] the 13th, [SOUND]
which is what the sixth note is called.
And then the seventh,
and this is a sound that's
really common in jazz.
All these symmetrical
diminished patterns,
it's used a lot when this chord,
this five chord modulates to one.
So, if you're in the key of A,
this chord [SOUND] would be an E7,
flat nine, sharp nine, sharp 11th 13th.
Going to
the one chord, A.
So, that's just
a little introduction
on the jazz uses of
the diminished scale.