using whole tone in rock

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bucski
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using whole tone in rock

Post by bucski » August 19th, 2017, 12:59 am

I'm playing around with 'alternative' scales at the mo and am mostly from a rock background.
I see that you can use wholetone scales over dom 7th chords (even though the #5 of the whole tone clashes with the 5 of the dom 7th chord). And then I presume you then resolve down to the 1 chord.
Does this mean that you can use a whole tone scale over a major chord given that a major chord is effectively the same as a dom 7th chord minus the 7th note?
Any other tips for using it in a rock context?
Cheers

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Alan Green
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Re: using whole tone in rock

Post by Alan Green » August 19th, 2017, 10:14 pm

It's going to work more in a Jazz context. Look for chords with -#11 or -b13 suffixes
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NoteBoat
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Re: using whole tone in rock

Post by NoteBoat » August 20th, 2017, 4:27 am

Dominant chords have a natural tension to them, because there's a conflict between the 3 and the b7 - that forms a tritone. When the harmony has a tension you can add additional tension by using a scale tone that conflicts with the chord.

The whole tone scale has three dominant chord tones (1, 3, b7), one "color" tone that won't add dissonance (2), and one tension that's not in the chord (#5). You end up with a sound pretty close to a 7+ chord.

If you use the same scale over a major chord, you're still getting the tension. If it fits within your chord progression, it will work. For example, if you use a whole tone scale over the I chord when it's about to change to a IV chord you're turning the I chord into the "V of IV" - if you're in C, the resulting sound will be close to a C7+, which will resolve to F. But if you use it over a I chord that's not going to move anywhere you'll end up with a hanging dissonance. Unless you're looking to use that as an effect, it's going to sound like a mistake.
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bucski
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Re: using whole tone in rock

Post by bucski » August 20th, 2017, 12:18 pm

Thanks both.

Great explanation noteboat, really like the fact that a I chord changing to a IV is like a Vth of the IVth. That has clarified a lot and made it clearer on how I can use it effectively/correctly.

Cheers!

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