This method will help you rapidly integrate the altered scale into your playing in a musical way based upon the jazz language. But it is not just jazz that has altered dominants. 10. In this first chord voicing, it’s all unaltered notes. In this second chord voicing, all we’re doing is flatting the 9th from the previous voicing. So, whenever you see a dominant V7 chord to I written within a chord progression you can play an altered scale over the dominant chord. It sounds obvious, so why do people insist on continuing to simply run up and down scales as though it were improvising? 9. I call this a shortcut for a reason. Raise the 11th of Db7 (Raise the F# to G so the scale does not contain the major seventh of G7) making the chord Db7#11 and you’ve got the exact same notes as the G altered scale. I remember attending Jamey Aebersold’s jazz camp in Louisville, Kentucky, at age 18 and having an absolute blast! Copyright ©2020 Jazzadvice, All rights reserved,,,, How to Not Suck at Half-Diminished Chords, 10 Easy Options for Expanding Your Dominant 7th Vocabulary, The only chord-tones that remain “unaltered” are the root, 3rd, and 7th, The 9th gets replaced with the b9 & #9 and the 11th gets raised as well, the same way these chord-tones were altered using the diminished scale. Once you have a grip on how the altered scale fits into the picture, it’s time to get beyond scales and basic chords, and see what role alterations play in dominant seventh chord voicings…. A chord voicing is that mysterious group of notes that the piano, guitar, or any other “chording” instrument is playing behind you while you’re soloing. What are the relationships? For example, the G dominant ninth chord: …usually resolve to the C major seventh chord: …or the C major ninth chord: The G dominant ninth chord can be altered when its ninth and/or fifth tones are modified. You’ll just know that Ab is the b9 of G7, and so on and so forth. It puts 1, b13, #11, and #9 on downbeats. That’s right, a sound is going on behind you while you improvise. Check your inbox or spam folder to confirm your subscription. Let’s take a look at how easy it is to construct a dominant 7 chord voicing with some alterations. Confirm the new key with a cadence. This in itself is not very powerful. If you feel this way about altered dominant chords, you’re not alone. And what I realized is that no one had ever laid out exactly what was actually possible with dominant seventh chord alterations, so I was in this mental place where I really didn’t know what was going on or even have an idea of what was harmonically possible. Mentally practice the altered scale – Think slowly through every dominant chord using the altered scale by substituting the 9th for the b9 and #9, and raising the 11th as you did with diminished. Many other styles use these chords to exhaustion. Sure, the jazz standard you’re playing may specify certain chords, but it’s largely up to the comping instrument to interpret the chords in the moment and respond accordingly depending upon where they hear the music heading. Read each one, find how it’s illustrated in the diagram, and let the information soak in: Once you’ve got a handle on these key relationships and takeaways, move on to understanding how the diminished scale relates to dominant 7 chords…, When people try to use the diminished scale they think SO much, “Which scale is it? In fact, as you transcribe, you’ll see (actually hear) how your favorite players resolve them a multitude of ways, including by skip…in other words, they can resolve them with an interval larger than a half-step. The root followed by 7, 9, 3, and 13 on top. What are the sounds that are happening? Learning the scale is only the beginning. So now that you have a subway-map, literally, of dominant chords in your brain, you should have a pretty easy time understanding how dominant chord voicings are constructed and why there seem to be so many different “flavors” of a dominant seventh chord. When altered chords are mentioned it most often refers to the 7alt chords associated with the 7th mode of the Melodic minor scale. The root followed by 7, b9, 3, and b13 on top. The Altered Chord Series. Here’s an example of an altered chord that achieves the first circumstance: pulling the progression away from a key. We’ll construct three different dominant seventh chord voicings. Experiment. Knowing these resolutions does not mean you need to play them overtly in your lines. You could make up your own pairs selecting from the altered tensions: b9, #9, #11 (same as #4 and b5), #5 (same as b6 and b13). It puts 1, b7, b13, #11, and #9 on downbeats. Applying Language, Play a blues and play 12345321 of Ab melodic minor on every G7 chord, Begin to feel and hear G altered as it’s own entity, Start to know instantaneously that Ab is the b9, Bb (A#) is the #9, D# is the #5, and C# is the #11. You can do this with any line you transcribe. Spend some time with the subway-map of dominant 7 alterations and make sure you’re seeing all the information that’s there. This is a combination of understanding the scale inside and out (resolutions, each tension’s relationship to the chord, and the rest of the points discussed previously) and combing that understanding with language. Scalar segments are a good way to start out. A view from above gives you the best insight into this scale: Just looking at this visual, it’s very clear what’s happening. In this article we will be looking at altered dominant chords. The altered scale is used to solo over dominant 7th chords, both in major and minor keys. In this article, I’ve assembled what I have found to be the keys to utilizing the altered scale to its full potential. Understand that there are only four altered tensions present in the altered scale and that people frequently call them by different names, making for a world of confusion. Gradually, you will have these notes at your finger tips without having to think of the related melodic minor. Now, spend some time studying the diagram in order to develop a visual and mental impression of all the relationships in the diagram. Even once people know the altered scale, it’s even more difficult to use it musically. To reiterate, do not just mindlessly run up and down scales. You know when you’re lost in the NY subway, or any other public transit system for that matter, you find that nifty color-coded map of all the lines, and within a few moments you know exactly where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there? People can talk about dominant alterations all day, but until you have a clear visual example of what’s happening, it can be difficult to sense all the relationships going on. As much as we all love the DMV, you don’t need a license to be creative . In contrast, Transcribe your heroes yourself to get a concept of how they draw from the altered scale/sounds and you will benefit immensely. Be able to think of Db7#11 (tritone sub) as another point of view of the same altered sounds, Choose which altered tensions you want on downbeats by inserting half steps in various places, Be able to take lines you transcribe and impose the altered sound on top of them by writing out a new line, Be able to take lines you transcribe and impose the altered sound on top of them by improvising around the shape and structure of the line, Freely, confidently, and musically begin to apply the altered sounds to dominant chords in tunes you are working on. It’s my hope that the diagram I’ve shared with you today sheds some light onto the mysterious altered dominants for you. Start to use pairs of altered notes over dominant chords, while understanding each resolution. Supposing you’re learning G7alt. Remember. Sonny uses the b9 and #9 to create a sequenced melody. In this last chord voicing, we’ll flat the 13th from the previous voicing. Let's discuss the how, when and why of using them. But it is not just jazz that has altered dominants. The altered scale is a just a quick way of accessing the altered tensions. Check your inbox or spam folder to confirm your subscription. There will be one tutorial for each of the seven chords of the diatonic major key. In bar 4 we can use the A altered scale, while in bar 12 we can use the E altered scale. In order to have enough space to take an in-depth look at altered chords, this tutorial will be broken down into a seven part series. What’s with all this b9, #9, b13, #11, b5 stuff! Any chord can be altered, but in popular music and jazz, altered chords usually refer to dominant chords. For instance, take this example from Michael Brecker: By inserting chromatic passing tones between altered notes, Brecker controls which tensions land on downbeats (the notes on the downbeats are going to suggest the underlying structure of the line.)