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Thread: How can I get away with....

  1. #1
    dwest2419
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    How can I get away with....

    Hi guys. I would like to know how do I get away with playing the Whole Tone scale on the 2nd scale degree of any key and make it still like I'm playing in key.

  2. #2
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    You can't. The wholetone scale is not supposed to sound like you're playing in key.

  3. #3
    dwest2419
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    It is isn't? I didn't know that! But man that scale sounded so cool and complicated when I were playing over a song my organist was playing

  4. #4
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwest2419 View Post
    It is isn't? I didn't know that! But man that scale sounded so cool and complicated when I were playing over a song my organist was playing
    Exactly.
    It's a non-tonal, dissonant scale. Dissonance is a good thing (when used properly!).

    If you want to hear the wholetone scale used effectively in a tonal setting (ie in a key), listen to the intro to Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life". He plays a wholetone run on a G7#5 chord, resolving into C major.
    It's a rare scale (even in jazz), but that's the way it's normally used: on an augmented V7 chord, a tension to be resolved on to the tonic. (In C major, 4 of the notes of G wholetone are in key: G A B F - and the other two, C#/Db and D#/Eb, are chromatic. Those two are tensions which resolve to C and E, or maybe to D, 9th of C. That's in addition to B and F, which also resolve to C and E. IOW, you need to understand how the half-steps move .)
    You can hear a more "out there" use of it in Wayne Shorter's "Juju" (McCoy Tyner on piano).

    It was also used in a non-tonal way by Debussy (but I'm no expert there).

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