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Triads in the Diminished Scale


Triads that are derived from the diminished scale are an interesting improvisational tool. They allow you to create the effect of playing 'in' and 'out' of a key.

There are two diminished scales in C:

1) half-whole tone scale

Used on:
C7 (1,3,5,b7) + all tensions b9, #9, #11, 13
C7alt, C7(b9), C7(#9), C7(#11), C7(13), C7(b9,13)....

Cdim (1, b3, b5)

Cm7(b5) (1, b3, b5, b7)

2) whole-half tone scale

Used on:
Cdim (1,b3,b5)
B/C (1, b3, b5,maj7)
Ab/C (1,b3,b13)
D/C (1, 9, #11, 13)

In general, the best way to make them sound good is

- to play the chord tones on the strong beats

half-whole tone

whole-half tone

- to finish a phrase on a chord tone

half-whole tone

whole-half tone

The diminished half-whole tone scale, as a sound, is easier to use. The reason is that there are the major third, the minor third and the natural fifth in the scale.

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