6. Advanced Scales

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6. Advanced Scales Empty 6. Advanced Scales

Post  James on Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:03 am

The Persian scale is a bit wacky, don't worry about completely understanding it. I don't expect to be using it much. I'm just using this as an example of something confusing that you can break down and understand with your new-found chord knowledge.

The Persian scale goes 1-m2-M3-4-b5-m6-M7-Oct.
(Aka: a major with a b2, b5, & b6)

It gets a little hairier because now instead of just whole and half step spaces between notes, we see 1.5-step gaps.
1 (.5) m2 (1.5) M3 (.5) 4 (.5) b5 (1) m6 (1.5) M7 (.5) Oct
This results in a kinda middle-eastern sound, and wacky-ass chords. I'm not sure how to name some of them, but you can make educated guesses once you see how chords are named. Chords, like everything in music, can have different names depending on their context.

Let's look at E Persian. (E-F-G#-A-Bb-C-D#-E)

From knowing the notes of the scale we can find the notes of the diatonic triads and seventh chords.

1. (EG#Bb)
2. (FAC)
3. (G#BbD#)
4. (ACE)
5. (BbD#F)
6. (CEG#)
7. (D#FA)

Seventh chords
1. (EG#BbD#)
2. (FACE)
3. (G#BbD#F)
4. (ACEG#)
5. (BbD#FA)
6. (CEG#Bb)
7. (D#FAC)

Now let's look at the intervals within the chords to try to name them.

1. (EG#Bb) or (1-M3-b5). It doesn't quite fit any triad type. Let's call it "Eb5" because it's an almost an E major, but with a flat 5.

2. (FAC) or (1-M3-5). "F" (major).

3. (G#BbD#) or (1-M2-5). "G#sus2".

4. (ACE) or (1-m3-5). "Am".

5. (BbD#F) or (1-4-5). "Bbsus4".

6. (CEG#) or (1-M3-#5). "C+".

7. (D#FA) or (1-M2-b5). I'm not totally sure what to call this one. "D#sus2b5" seems kinda clunky. Look at the intervals. If you sharped both the M2 and b5, or just flatted the 1, you would have a minor chord. Let's call it "D#/Dm" meaning "Dm with D# replacing the root".

Those we're kinda easy. Let's do some notch-up-knocking. Seventh chords:

1. (EG#BbD#) or (1-M3-b5-M7). I would call it "Emaj7b5" because essentially a Maj7 with a drooping 5.

2. (FACE) or (1-M3-5-M7). "Fmaj7".

3. (G#BbD#F) or (1-M2-5-M6). "G#sus2add6"? Not super-elegant, but it gives you an idea of what's in the chord. We can't really do what we did to Triad 7, that would give us "G#/Gm7#5", which isn't really any better.

4. (ACEG#) or (1-m3-5-M7). "Am/Maj7".

5. (BbD#FA) or (1-4-5-M7). I could see naming this two ways. "Bbsus4M7" or "BbMaj7#3". The second makes more sense within the context of this scale, because it says you're playing the 1-3-5-7 of the scale. Both refer to the same intervals, though.

6. (CEG#Bb) or (1-M3-#5-m7). "C+7"

7. (D#FAC) or (1-M2-b5-M6). This is an ugly one. If you look at the intervals it kinda looks like a "m7" chord with a #1. If we flattened the root, it would be (1-m3-5-m7). So, we could call it "D#/Dm7" meaning "Dm7 with D# replacing the root". That's just the best name I can come up with. My only other ideas is "D#sus2b5add6" (meaning "D#sus2, but with a flat 5 and added 6") or "D#°b3add6" (meaning "D#°, but flat the 3 and add a 6"). "D#/Dm7" is a little clunky, but seems the most elegant way to describe it.

I've already looked these fuckers up in a generator, in presumably their easiest to play positions. Have at it:

Eb5 (0-x-2-3-5-4)
Emaj7b5 (0-x-2-3-4-4)

F (x-x-3-5-x-5)
Fmaj7 (x-x-3-5-5-5)

G#sus2 (x-x-6-8-x-6)
G#sus2add6 (x-x-6-8-6-6)

Am (x-0-2-2-1-0)
Am/M7 (x-0-2-1-1-0)

Bbsus4 (x-x-8-10-11-11) or (6-6-8-8-6-6)
BbMaj7#3 (x-x-8-10-10-11)

C+ (x-x-x-5-5-4) or (x-x-10-9-9-0)
C+7 (x-x-10-13-11-11)

D#/Dm (x-x-0-1-3-0)
D#/Dm7 (x-3-0-1-3-0)

Also, note how 7th chords are always a hair away from their triads. An m7 is only a step away from the octave, a M7 is a half-step. Chords on guitar usually have repeated octaves of notes, especially the root. Converting a chord to a seventh version is a simple as sliding one finger an inch.
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