The Minor 6th Diminished Scale is an 8-note scale. Barry Harris and many Bebop Jazz musicians use for creating movement in their solos.
In this bass lesson, I’ll show you 3 ways you can use a Minor 6th Diminished Scale to create movement.
Learn the notes of a Minor 6th Diminished Scale
The Minor 6th Diminished Scale is a Melodic Minor Scale with an added chromatic note. If you insert a chromatic note between the 5th degree and the 6th degree you’ll get this scale.
For example, a D Melodic Minor Scale has these notes: D, E, F, G, A, B, C#.
To make this scale into a Minor 6th Diminished Scale, you would add A#/Bb.
The scale now becomes: D, E, F, G, A, A#/Bb, B, C#.
The name Minor 6th Diminished is descriptive.
If you arpeggiate this 8-note scale, you end up with 2 arpeggios:
- Minor 6 arpeggio (D, F, A, B)
- Diminished Arpeggio (E, G, A#/Bb, C#)
This is super important. The notes of the Diminished Arpeggio contain the same notes as the V7b9 chord (without the root).
In our example of a D Minor 6th Diminished scale, the Diminished Arpeggio (E, G, A#/Bb, C#) are the same notes in an A7b9 chord (A, C#, E, G, Bb).
You can create movement by playing Diminished notes, then resolving those notes.
3 Simple ways to create movement when you solo
There are 3 ways you can create movement with a Minor 6th Diminished Scale:
- Chords and Arpeggios
- Borrowing and Returning notes
- Contrary Motion
All 3 ways, allow you to introduce Diminished notes and resolve those notes to a Minor 6 arpeggio.
Notes from a Diminished Arpeggio have a tendency to want resolution.
Let’s change keys and look at the Diminished Arpeggio that belongs to C Major.
The notes of a B Diminished Arpeggio are: B, D, F, Ab
The note B wants to resolve down to the A. It can also resolve up to the C. The downward resolution feels stronger.
The note D wants to resolve down to the C. It can also resolve up to the E. The downward resolution feels stronger.
The note F wants to resolve down to the E. It can also resolve up to the G. The downward resolution feels stronger.
The note Ab wants to resolve down to the G. It can also resolve up to the Ab. Either downward or upward resolution for this note feels good.
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Barry Harris’ concepts with 6th Diminished Scales sound very musical and are easy to apply on the bass. Check out this DVD on Amazon: Barry Harris: The Jazz Master Class Series From NYU