Augmented Scale Pattern by Minor Thirds

The exercise on this page forms the basis of several patterns I’ve been using to develop facility with the augmented scale. Click on the image to enlarge it.

In each bar, the scale root moves up by a minor third. In other words, the pattern takes you through four different augmented scales that outline a diminished seventh chord with their roots, thus:  C, Eb, F#, and A. Of course, you should transpose this exercise so that you also begin the pattern on C#, D, and Eb. After that, you wind up repeating material you’ve already practiced.  That’s one of the nice things about this exercise–there are only four patterns to learn!

So how do you use this pattern? You can find your own answers to that question, but here are a few thoughts:

* The best use is probably static chords, either minor or altered dominant.

* The pattern also implies a cycle of fifths with a chord change at every measure. I won’t delve into why this is so, but if you do your own analysis, you’ll see for yourself why this pattern accommodates both the cycle of fifths and tritone substitutions moving down by half-step.

The unique sound of the augmented scale offers plenty of color, and the fact that it fits no commonly used chord perfectly makes it an interesting choice for many chords as a temporary device. This pattern will help get your fingers used to moving the augmented scale through changing tone centers. Work hard, experiment, and have fun!

Be sure to check out my jazz page, featuring lots of other exercises, practice tips, insights, and solo transcriptions.

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