In this etude, I’m offering another way to make variations when using the diminished scale over dominant 7th chords. By combining techniques from two of my e-books, Diminished Scale Diatonic Triad Pairs, and Four-Note Diatonic Triad Cells, I’ve created a beautifully contoured melodic line that moves from dominant to tonic. Take a look at the example below:
I’ve organized the diminished scale related to the G7 chord (G, Ab Bb, B, C#, D, E, F) into four different diatonic triads. Specifically, G major and Bb minor in the first measure, and E major and Bb major in the second measure. (I’ve labeled the “Ab” enharmonically as “G#”, and the “C#” enharmonically as “Db”, in order to make this more apparent and consistent.)
But I’ve added a variation to these related triads by connecting them via “non-scale” (outside of the diminished scale) chromatic passing tones, thus converting each of them into four-note triad “cells”.
So in the first measure of the example above, I add “Gb”after the G major triad to connect it to the “F” of the Bb major triad that follows. I then add an “A” natural (another “non-scale” tone) to connect the Bb triad to the “G#” of the next triad (E major) in the second measure. Then I connect the E major triad to the Bb major triad that follows with another “non-scale” tone, the “Eb”. I use and “Eb” again (an octave lower) at the end of the measure to connect the Bb triad to the 3rd (“E” natural) of the tonic chord (Cmaj7).
The line continues by connecting diatonic triads related to Cmaj7 (including the D major triad, with the “F#”adding a Lydian component to the sound), finally ending by implying a C harmonic major sound in the last measure by inserting the lowered 6th (“Ab”). When you play through this line, you’ll hear lots of strong elements: chromaticism, symmetrical tonality implications (because of the structure of the diminished scale), upper harmonic extensions, tritone substitution, etc., combined to create a modern sounding fluidity that is simultaneously unique and familiar (especially if you’re a student of modern jazz). Click the link below to download the pdf of this etude. And again, if you’d like to explore these concepts in greater detail, consider my e-books Diminished Scale Diatonic Triad Pairs, and Four-Note Diatonic Triad Cells.