Jazz Dominant

Hugely important scale in jazz

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Jazz/Alt Dominant Scale

Jazz dominant is also called alt dominant. There are several ways to analyze this. I’m going to present the only way that makes sense to me, as a musician. Let’s form this in the key of C, You may want to look at what octatonic and whole tone scales mean.

  1. Start with octatonic: but only use the first four notes:
    C D Eb E
  2. Then use the whole tone scale: C D E F# Ab Bb C. Use the last four notes:
    F# Ab Bb C
  3. Now put them together:
    C D Eb E——–F# Ab Bb C

The reason this is the best way to make this scale is that it gives you a sane spelling. A C7b5 has E and Bb, so your scale needs to also have those notes. b5 can also be #4, so the spelling of that degree varies from key to key. b6 can also be #5, but (b)7 needs to be a 7 because of the chord the alt dominant scale goes with.


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