Friday, February 15, 2013

Jazz Piano Lesson #39: Whole Tone Scale Fingering and Construction

The Whole-Tone Scale is compromised of a series of ascending and descending whole-steps.  You can create the scale off of any root by simply playing up or down in whole-steps until you reach an octave above or below the root.  The Whole-Tone Scale is a symmetrical scale which means that its intervals equally divide the octave.  This is good news for players wanting to memorize the scale because it means there are only two variations in fingering and construction.

The Whole-Tone Scale is also inversionally symmetrical.  This means that when inverted, the interval arrangement of the scale and the notes of the scale remain identical.  Let me show you what I mean.

C Whole Tone:
C, D, E, F#, G#, Bb

Lets invert the scale by transposing the C up an octave.  We now have a D Whole-Tone Scale.

D Whole Tone:
D, E, F#, G#, Bb, C

Same intervals.  Same exact notes!

So once you've learned the fingering and notes to the C Whole-Tone scale, you've also learned D (and E, F#, Ab, Bb).

The other variation of the scale can start on either B, C#, Eb, F, G or A.  The same rules stated above hold true for these scales.  Click below to view the sheet music to this lesson and follow the steps in the video for mastery.

Sheet Music:  Jazz Piano Lesson #39 - Whole Tone Scale Fingering Exercise .pdf


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