Whole-Tone scale

Join Pete Cal­lard as he con­tin­ues his ex­plo­ration of the charis­mat­i­cally jazzy, in­stantly recog­nis­able and sur­pris­ingly ver­sa­tile Whole-Tone scale.

Guitar Techniques - - Lesson: Jazz -

Last is­sue we looked at fin­ger­ing op­tions for the Whole-Tone scale and Aug­mented chords and tri­ads, and checked out some Whole-Tone pat­terns. To re­cap: the Whole- Tone scale con­tains six notes, all a tone apart. Due to this in­ter­val­lic con­struc­tion there is only one shape of the Whole-Tone scale - in which ev­ery note can be con­sid­ered the root - and thus only two dif­fer­ent Whole-Tone scales (one start­ing on C and one on Db; be­tween them they con­tain all 12 notes of the Chro­matic scale). This month we’re go­ing to be in­ves­ti­gat­ing ap­pli­ca­tions of the scale and ex­am­in­ing how jazz greats have em­ployed it.

As we dis­cov­ered last time, har­mon­is­ing the Whole-Tone scale gives us an Aug­mented triad, but that’s not the only chord for which the scale can be used. The for­mula of Whole-Tone is 1-2-3-#4-#5-b7, which gives us the com­po­nents of a dom­i­nant 7th chord (1-3-b7) plus the op­tion of an al­tered 5th (b5 or #5). Thus Whole-Tone is an op­tion on an al­tered dom­i­nant chord and, as we know, any dom­i­nant 7th chord re­solv­ing to I can be al­tered; there­fore Whole-Tone can be used on any re­solv­ing dom­i­nant 7th chord. Ex­am­ple 1 demon­strates this, in­cor­po­rat­ing the scale into a cou­ple of sim­ple II-V-I lines in C, fol­lowed by a more so­phis­ti­cated pat­tern on a V-I in Eb from Chuck Wayne (Ex 2). As we broached last time, Aug­mented arpeg­gios a tone apart are also a great way to out­line the Whole-Tone scale, so Ex­am­ples 3 and 4, fea­tur­ing lines from Kenny Bur­rell and Joe Pass, fo­cus on this.

Another ap­pli­ca­tion for Whole-Tone is ‘up a semi­tone over a mi­nor 7 chord’. Although start­ing on a b2, the scale would then give us b3, 4, 5, 6 and maj7 - all notes from the Melodic Mi­nor scale. This is par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive used as an ‘out­side’ sound, so I’ve put to­gether a cou­ple of man­age­able lines over an Am7 chord mov­ing from Am7 to Bb Whole-Tone and back to Am7 (Ex 5). For Ex 6, Michael Brecker demon­strates th­ese ap­proaches on a short III-VI-II-V-I in C, us­ing Eb Whole-Tone over the Dm7 which be­comes G Whole-Tone on the G7.

Ex­am­ple 7, a great Hank Mob­ley line, in­tro­duces another area for ex­am­i­na­tion. Mob­ley takes a four-note group­ing mov­ing down a tone (with a chro­matic pass­ing note), then a ma­jor 3rd, and takes it down in whole steps over the II (Dm7) and V (G7) chords be­fore re­solv­ing to I (Cmaj7). What is in­ter­est­ing is that, leav­ing aside chro­matic pass­ing notes, all the notes in the first two bars are from the G Whole-Tone scale, but be­cause of the point in the scale at which Mob­ley starts, the first bar is com­pletely ‘inside’ - with all the notes also in D Do­rian - un­til the fi­nal Eb. The sec­ond bar then gets pro­gres­sively ‘out’ over the G7, but all the notes can be seen as chord tones and al­ter­ations of G7. Ex 8 ex­pands on this idea,

This month we’re go­ing to be ex­am­in­ing how the jazz greats have em­ployed the Whole-Tone scale.

us­ing four-note se­quences over a II-V-I in C. Ex­am­ple 9, from Michael Brecker, sug­gests us­ing Whole-Tone as a frame­work for a se­ries of de­scend­ing ma­jor tri­ads.

To close we see ex­am­ples of Whole-Tone used specif­i­cally as an ‘out­side’ sound. Ex­am­ple 10 has Bud Pow­ell com­ing straight down Db Whole-Tone over the C7 and F7 chords, re­solv­ing to F7 with the last three notes; while in Ex­am­ple 11 Sonny Rollins uses E Whole-Tone with chro­matic pass­ing notes over the Em7 and first beat of the A7 on a II-V-I in D. For Ex­am­ple 12, a V-I in C, the great Joe Pass starts in Ab Whole-Tone over the G7, while our blis­ter­ing fi­nal line, from the ex­cru­cu­at­ingly bril­liant Wayne Krantz (Ex­am­ple 13), is ba­si­cally a master­class in Whole-Tone play­ing. Have fun!

The great Wayne Krantz with his James Tyler gui­tar

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.