Half Whole Diminished Using Dominant Arpeggios

Some words about the Half Whole Diminished Using Dominant Arpeggios.

TAB: Half Whole Diminished Using Dominant Arpeggios

The backing track is a simple Im7 to IV7 in E Dorian Modal Scale (Em7 to A7)

The concept behind these licks is to create melodic tension using the A Half Whole Diminished (you can see it as the E Whole Half Diminished) over the A7 chord of the classic Im7 – IV7 dorian chord progression.

You can also use these licks to develop your Legato, Hybrid Picking Economy Picking technique.

Half Whole what?

The Half Whole Diminished scale is built from the following intervals : 1, b2, #2, 3, #4, 5, 6, b7, 8.

So the notes of A Half Whole Diminished scale would be : A, Bb, B#(C),C# , D#, E, F#, G, and A.

If we take a look at the notes of the A Half Whole scale we would see that there is a symmetrical formula of Half steps and Whole steps that make up the entire scale.

It is built of a sequence of H-W repeating itself in minor 3rds.

  • A Half Whole Scale : A, Bb, B#(C),C# , D#, E, F#, G, and A
  • Intervals : H – W – H – W – H – W – H – W

So how can I avoid running up and down the scale?

If we take a look at the scale the first chord that’s built on the root of the scale will be a Dominant7th chord. Taking advantage of the symmetrical nature of the scale ,we can move the same chord up/down in minor 3rds and still be diatonic to the scale.

So for example if we are in A Half Whole Diminished scale and the first chord would be an A7 and we can use the C7 (up a minor 3rd), D#7(Eb7)- (up a minor 3rd), F#7 up a minor 3rd as well.

As you can see there are four identical chords in the same scale.

So for the A7 chord you can expose the flavour of the Half Whole Scale and create more tension by using the other Dominant 7th arpeggios or licks around them.

In the first lick I’m using the D#7 after the A7 arpeggio while in the second lick things get a little more complicated combining the A7, C7 ,D#7 and F#7 arpeggios as well.

How to make your own licks using the concept.

Of course the first thing you have to do is to learn the scale itself and understand the various intervals of the scale in relation to the chord tones of the Tonic.

The easiest way to move from this point is to build licks around the Tonic Dominant chord using the various intervals of the scale and move them as they are in the other diatonic dominant arpeggios of the scale like I did on the example licks.

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