• Jazz Improvisation: Scale Options For Augmented Triads

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,General Music,Improvisation,Jazz music,Piano,Scales,Theory

    Post image for Jazz Improvisation: Scale Options For Augmented Triads

    If you’re interested in learning the scale options for augmented triads, then you’re on the right page.

    We’re covering the traditional and symmetrical scales that are compatible with the augmented triad, but before we go into all of that, let’s get started by refreshing our minds on the augmented triad.

    A Quick Review On The Augmented Triad

    The augmented triad can be formed when the fifth tone of a major triad is raised by a half-step. Raising the fifth tone of a major triad produces an augmented fifth interval, hence, the name augmented triad.

    Raising the fifth tone of the G major triad:

    …which is D:

    …by a half-step (to D#):

    …produces the G augmented triad:

    “Check Out All The Augmented Triads On The Keyboard…”

    C augmented triad:

    Db augmented triad:

    D augmented triad:

    Eb augmented triad:

    E augmented triad:

    F augmented triad:

    Gb augmented triad:

    G augmented triad:

    Ab augmented triad:

    A augmented triad:

    Bb augmented triad:

    Cb augmented triad:

    Scale Options For Augmented Triads

    Although the augmented triad is not as common as major and minor triads, its melody and harmony has a special place in jazz improvisation.

    Let’s explore the scales that are compatible with the augmented scale.

    Scale Option #1 – The Ionian #5 Scale

    The harmonic minor scale has seven modes. Using the A harmonic minor scale (as a reference):

    Here are the seven modes:

    The first mode (A to A):

    The second mode (B to B):

    The third mode (C to C):

    The fourth mode (D to D):

    The fifth mode (E to E):

    The sixth mode (F to F):

    The seventh mode (G# to G#):

    The third mode of the harmonic minor scale (which is C to C in this case):

    …is the scale option for the augmented triad.

    “Here’s How It Is Formed…”

    The third mode of the harmonic minor scale is also known as the “Ionian #5” and this is because it can be formed by raising the fifth tone of the Ionian scale by a half-step.

    Attention: The Ionian scale has the same notes with the major scale. Therefore, it can be associated with the major scale.

    So, raising the fifth tone of the D major scale:

    …which is A:

    …by a half-step (to A#):

    …produces the D Ionian #5 scale:

    …which is the third mode of the B harmonic minor scale; formed by playing the B harmonic minor scale:

    …from D to D:

    “Ionian #5 Vs The Augmented Triad…”

    The C Ionian #5 scale:

    …is compatible with the C augmented triad:

    …and this is because the first, third, and fifth tones of the C Ionian #5 scale:

    …are C, E, and G#:

    Which is (for all intents and purposes) an augmented triad.

    Scale Option #2 – The Lydian Augmented Scale

    The third mode of the melodic minor scale is also compatible with the augmented scale. For example, the third mode of the A melodic minor scale:

    …starts and ends on C:

    …and that’s the Lydian augmented scale.

    “Here’s How It Is Formed…”

    The third mode of the melodic minor scale is also known as the “Lydian augmented” scale because it can be formed by raising the fifth tone of the Lydian scale by a half-step.

    Attention: The Lydian scale can be formed by raising the fourth tone of the major scale by a half-step.

    So, raising the fifth tone of the G Lydian scale:

    …which is D:

    …by a half-step (to D#):

    …produces the G Lydian augmented scale:

    …which is the third mode of the E melodic minor scale; formed by playing the E melodic minor scale:

    …from G to G:

    “Lydian Augmented Vs The Augmented Triad…”

    The C Lydian augmented scale:

    …is compatible with the C augmented triad:

    …and this is because the first, third, and fifth tones of the C Lydian augmented scale:

    …are C, E, and G#:

    Which is (for all intents and purposes) an augmented triad.

    Scale Option #3 – The Augmented Scale

    The augmented scale is a symmetrical scale; formed by the repetition of a particular group of intervals.

    In the augmented scale, the semitone (1 half-step) and sesquitone (3 half-steps) are repeated throughout the scale. For example, in the C augmented scale:

    C to Eb:

    …is a sesquitone (3 half-steps).

    Eb to E:

    …is a semitone (1 half-step).

    E to G:

    …is a sesquitone (3 half-steps).

    G to G#:

    …is a semitone (1 half-step).

    G# to B:

    …is a sesquitone (3 half-steps).

    B to C:

    …is a semitone (1 half-step).

    The first, third, and fifth tones of the C augmented scale:

    …are C, E, and G#:

    Scale Option #4 – The Whole tone Scale

    The whole tone scale is also a symmetrical scale. Starting from any note, the whole tone scale can be formed by the melodic progression of notes in ascending and descending direction.

    The C whole tone scale:

    …consists of whole steps between successive intervals:

    C to D (whole step):

    D to E (whole step):

    E to F# (whole step):

    F# to G# (whole step):

    G# to A# (whole step):

    The first, third, and fifth tones of the whole tone scale when played together produces the augmented triad. Hence, the compatibility between the whole tone scale and the augmented triad.

    Final Words

    Using the traditional (Ionian #5 and Lydian augmented) and symmetrical (augmented and whole tone) scales as options for the augmented triad widens your scope while improvising.

    It is recommended that you put the scale options together while improvising. Maybe start out with the Ionian #5, then venture into the whole tone scale, and then back to the Ionian #5, etc.

    Keep up the great work!

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as the head of education, music consultant, and chief content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with hundreds of thousands of musicians across the world.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.




    songtutor600x314jpg

    gospelnewbanner3jpg

    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 carolyn

    Thanks for explaining about the scales
    and how to use them. Do you have any exercises for practicing runs?
    Thank you for sharing such valuable information. God bless you.

    Reply

    Leave a Comment

    Previous post:

    Next post: