Etude 45-Augmented Triad Pairs with Chromatic Leading Tones

Here is a simple variation on the whole tone scale that you can use to create lots of interesting contours and tensions. Take a look at the example below:

Above, I’ve organized the C whole tone scale into two triads (C Augmented and D Augmented), adding a chromatic leading tone after each triad (e.g., the C# at the end of the first four notes of the first measure, and the D# at the end of the second four notes), thereby converting them into four-note triad cells that are connected chromatically. As you can see, I’m using lower neighbor chromatic tones to connect each cell in an ascending pattern. In the first variation of this pattern (descending), I use upper neighbor chromatic leading tones:

I go on to make two more variations of this theme, one with upper neighbor, the other with lower neighbor leading tones. I modulate these four patterns up a half step, to cover the other whole tone scale. There are many other variations of this idea you can explore. This kind of tonal organization is very effective to create a symmetrical, modern sounding melodic shape that works very well over dominant chords moving to tonic. (Simply use it the way you might use any whole tone scale over a dominant chord.) If you’d like to further explore a methodical way to convert triads into chromatically connected triad cells,  consider my e-book, Four-Note Diationic Triad Cells: Comprehensive Studies in Leading Tones. You can download a free pdf of this etude below:

Augmented Triad Pairs with Chromatic Leading Tones-pdf