DbMaj7#9#11 / C#Maj7#9#11 Pentatonic MAMI Music Scale of the Month for August 2007 free lesson from MAMIMUSIC.com - Part 2

DbMaj7#9#11 / C#Maj7#9#11 Extended Music Scale Analysis, free Audio Files Piano Guitar Bass Chords Charts, M.A.M.I. Musical Scales Atlas page and more...

On the previous page we covered the Db Major 7#9#11 music scale below:

Db Major 7th#9#11 Pentatonic
Db . . E F . G . . . . C
R . . b3 3 . b5 . . . . 7

Now let's make this scale more useful by adding two notes:

Db Major 7#9#11 Extended Music Scale
Db . . E F . G . . Bb B C
R . . b3 3 . b5 . . 6 b7 7

Look closely and you'll see that I added both a Bb as well as B note into the mix to form one really strange musical note grouping. Quite honestly, I don't even know what you would call this! I'm inclined to say: "Db Minor 7b5...altered such and such"... :-)

Let's just forget about the name for now and talk about how to use this scale to create some really great musical ideas. But before we even do this, let's talk a little theory mixed with philosophy. I've always believed that both "great music" and "great players" are great regardless of method or origin!

The goal is to develop that gift to touch yourself and others through your art: then the genesis does (and should) become secondary. There are tremendously gifted musicians that play by ear only, or staff only as well as many that can do both.

As a listener, I don't much care...as long as I'm moved to listen and enjoy. As a musician, I believe that reading or any visual theory (even MAMI) is a tool to learn, develop, train and teach the ear. If you cannot hear and strive to constantly develop your listening capabilities, you will never fully appreciate the beauty of our art.

Furthermore, you will never fully possess the ability to create nor inspire listeners by using the range of emotions and expression that is possible through music. I say all of this to say: "train your ear, and let it be your guide". Study theory, read music...use MAMI...whatever. The point is to constantly develop your ears by exposing them to new things and learning to trust them.

Just as important is to strive towards instrumental mastery: the ability to execute what you "hear" (and you should hear...even when reading) flawlessly on your instrument!

Okay, back to our "Db Minor 7b5...altered such and such" scale. My reasoning behind adding the additional notes Bb (a major 6th interval from the root) and B (a minor 7th interval from the root) are conscious choices. They are by design: not arbitrary, as I'll show you very shortly.

I actually chose to study this scale because of a question posted on a Jazz guitar message board. Quite often when analyzing unusual tunes people will only see the harmony in a static way. By this, I mean they tend to view each chord and chord change independently...instead of perhaps viewing the harmonic movement as part of a whole scale-derived idea. The question involved the use of an unusual chord in a tune (which is actually that Db Major 7#9#11 chord ---> pentatonic scale that we covered on page 1) its origin, and what would be a good scale to play with it.

I've never heard the tune, or spoke with the composer about its origin but surely there are several ways of thinking about tunes, scales, scalar harmony and the choices they present. Increasingly modern composers are "breaking out of the box" of conventional terminology and formulas by using scales as the basis for tremendous musical ideas. Sometimes the tune that seems to contain a "secondary dominant on top of a sub-dominant...leading to... :-)" is quite simply a scalar based harmony...

Given its dissonance and odd structure in comparison to traditional theory, surely a chord and pentatonic such as Db Major 7#9#11 would have brought the composer a hail of stones a few hundred years ago. Fortunately the use of unique scales is becoming more widely accepted: as they are powerful tools for musical composition, improvisation and even reharmonization. The familiar ones are okay, but there is musical "gold" in scales that you would never even think of looking at; let alone use!

Tunes can "be born" in so many ways: by the little "ditty" that you hear in your head, by formulas (2-5-1, etc.), by scale derivation or combinations thereof. You must be willing to "depart from the box": to open your mind and your ears towards creativity. Time plus effort spent on scale study, analysis, experimentation for ear development as well as application on your instrument will yield tremendous dividends.

Back to our weird Db Major 7#9#11 chord, or any chord. As a practical matter when pressed for what scale to use, it is important to find the original scale that contains the harmony. You can then use you ears, or a formula, etc. to make substitutions.

Try this: once you know (or discover) the notes of any one chord in a movement, discover the notes of the following chord and combine them. There may or may not be common notes among them...regardless, you'll be left with a scale of some sort. It is possible that the harmonies and melodies of the entire tune may be composed of this one scale, or perhaps just a section of the tune. Some tunes are composed using multiple scales or with a scale that contains more notes than the "traditional" seven. Less notes: less melodic and harmonic options, yet more tonal focus. More notes: more musical possibilities, but less tonal focus. This is another topic in itself...

Anyway, analyze the resulting scale: try to find all of the potential chords that can be generated using each note as a root tone. Then play around with it...try to form new chords, inversions and melodies. I guarantee that you will develop your hearing, find new ideas and learn your instrument better plus more quickly. If you have a MAMI Musical Scales Atlas, the scale / chords / modal analysis parts become easy: you see immediately what notes, intervals and chords are contained plus where they are located on your instrument. Using MAMI, the process of scalar musical discovery and experimentation on your "axe" becomes fruitful, fun and rewarding!

Db Major 7#9#11 Extended Music Scale
Db . . E F . G . . Bb B C
R . . b3 3 . b5 . . 6 b7 7

So why the two additional notes Bb and B? Well, I already have one chord (the Db Major 7#9#11 and its notes...the pentatonic scale) as a basis but I want to create an interesting and musically relevant harmonic sequence beyond what is possible using those five notes. Remember that the less scale notes: the less musical options, yet more tonal focus...the more notes: the more potential and less tonal focus.

The notes that I've chosen provide some tremendous musical choices out of this scale. As weird and strange as it looks, it is musically dynamic!

Click the images below: I am going to give you this scales' fingerboard charts (without the MAMI analysis) for you to download for free, just like the DbMaj7#9#11 music scale on page 1. Compare the two and play around with the notes of each: form chords and make melodies. Use your ear as a guide to create new music with these scales...

See if you discover what I've learned about both using the power of scalar analysis as well as our new scale. It is most important that you experiment first. At the bottom of the page, I'll share some of my insight and hints.

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So, did you learn anything? Did any new chords, or melodies pop into your head or under your fingers? Hopefully you did some chordal analysis of this scale. If you did, you'll share my love!

Played from its root, the primary implication of the extended scales' additional
notes creates many more logical interesting, colorful and potentially useful chordal / harmonic effects from this grouping. Adding the Bb (the major 6th interval) and B (the minor 7th interval) allow the formation of some very practical chords as well as harmonic motion.

Possible with our extended scale now are the following great chords: Dbm7b5, DbMaj7b5, Db7b5 (plus alterations). You could create effective harmonies using just these chords! But there's more yet: you have Gm7b5 and G7b5 (plus alterations) that you could use together plus move them a tritone to the root. For example: Gm7b5 to Dbm7b5. How about the potential C7 and CMaj7 chords that are available in this scale. It is amazing how many great harmonies can be generated from this seemingly "dog ugly" and nonsensical looking scale!

How about G7b5#9 to Db7b5 to C7b9 to CMaj7? It's in there! I used MAMI to do the scalar modal, chordal and harmonic analysis on this scale to determine the musical options for me. Quickly...easily...effectively. All I (we) need to do is to apply these ideas to my instrument.

This part is made so much easier using the note and interval fingerboard charts. You control the instrument: you experiment and learn to create music! Find the chords, voicings, patterns, melodies and approach that suits your style, ear and skill. There are many methods, systems, etc. on the market: use one, none or all...it is about playing well and making your art...regardless.

The challenge is to improve efficiently, quickly and enjoyably. Learning to control the instrument, plus the inherent tension of chords and scales to harness their beauty. Choosing pleasing inversions and using good voice leading throughout your harmonic motion so that your compositions shine.

Creating melodically using scales is challenging as well! MAMI Musical Scales Atlases are your guide to navigating intervals in all areas of the fingerboard: horizontally and vertically. Fresh, beautiful and even exotic melodies will find their way into your head, ears, heart and fingers. You become more aware of tension and "gravity" in melodic lines using scales. Again, exploring scales on your instrument becomes easy, worthwhile, fun and rewarding!

Check out the all of the links, the fingerboard note / chords charts and the free demos. We're here to get better and make you better...enjoy your studies, your music: your day!

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