Chord – Scale Relationship

The 13 most important  4 note chords

chord name                 scale steps         in the key of  C

  1. maj 7 1  3   5  7 C E G B
  2. maj7 #5 aug7 (maj7) 1  3 #5  7 C E G# B
  3. maj7 b5 maj7 1  3  b5  7 C E Gb B
  4. min6 1 b3  5  6 C Eb G A
  5. min7 1 b3  5 b7 C Eb G Bb
  6. min7b5 1 b3 b5 b7 C Eb Gb Bb 
  7. min (maj7) 1 b3  5  7 C Eb G  B
  8. dom7 1  3  5  b7 C E G  Bb
  9. dom7 #5 1  3 #5 b7 C E G#  Bb
  10. dom7 b5 1 3 b5 b7 C E Gb Bb
  11. dim7 1 b3 b5 bb7 C Eb Gb A
  12. dim (maj7) 1 b3 b5   7 C Eb Gb B
  13. dom7sus4 1  4   5  b7 C F G Bb

4-note chords and their related Scales

If you build chords with diatonic thirds up to the 13th degree, you get seven part harmony. If one of these notes is an avoid note (x), the resultant chord will sound very dissonant, because the avoid note creates a b9 interval with one of the other notes and/or destroys the harmonic function. The only exception for a chord build on continuous thirds is the V7b9 chord, where you look for dissonance to get more kinetic energy. 

Now we transpose the upper 3 notes (so called tensions) down an octave and we receive the corresponding chord scale. All notes of this scale, besides the avoid note can be played on any time unit, while the chord sounds.

Example:
G7, 9, 11, 13 chord (G B D F A C D)
C (11) creates b9 interval with B (3)

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G mixolydian (myxolydien in French) is the 5th mode of the C melodic major scale

The avoid note should be treated like a passing note,
i.e. in general on a weak time unit, which resolves to the nearest scale note on a strong time unit.
If the melody ends on a weak time unit, this unit becomes an anticipation of the strong one and you have to treat it like that.
i.e. only chord notes or tensions are possible on the last note of a melody line to bring out the function, or sound of the chord
Keep in mind that the high notes of a chord are weaker in the bottom of the structure and vice versa. So they become in these positions very useful diatonic passing notes. 

For other chord scales constructed the same way check out the

Chord -Scale Relation Chart

symbol structure function chord scale avoid note
Cmaj7 Cmaj6 1 3 5 7 1 3 5 6 I maj7 Imaj6 ionian = mode 1 of  the melodic major  scale 4
Cmaj7 #11 1 3 5 7 #11 IVmaj7 #11 lydian = mode 4 of  the melodic major  scale
Caug (maj7) 1 3 #5 7 Iaug (maj7) ionian b6 = mode 1 of  the harmonic major  scale 4


bIIIaug (maj7) ionian #5 = mode 3 of  the harmonic minor scale 4
Caug (maj7) #11 1 3 #5 7 #11 bIIIaug (maj7) #11 lydian aug = mode 3 of  the melodic minor scale
Cmin7 1 b3 5 b7 Imin7, VI min7 aeolian = mode 6 of  the melodic major  scale b6


IImin7 dorian = mode 2 of  the melodic major  scale 6


IIImin7 phrygiAn = mode3 of  the melodic major  scale b2
Cmin (maj7) 1 b3 5 7 Imin (maj7) harmonic minor = aeolien ♮7♮ b6



melodic minor = aeolian ♮6 ♮7
Cmin6 1 b3 5 6 Imin6 melodic minor



dorian b7
Cmin7 b5 1 b3 b5 b7 b13 VIImin7 b5 locrian = mode 7 of  the melodic major  scale b2
Cmin7 b5 9 ♮13 1 b3 b5 b7 9 ♮13 IImin7b5 dorian b5 = locrian ♮6 = mode 2 of  the harmonic minor scale b2
Cmin7 b5 9 b13 1 b3 b5 b7 9 b13 VImin7 b5 locrian ♮2 = mode 6 of  the melodic minor scale
C7 1 3 5 b7 V7 mixolydian = dominant scale = mode 5 of  the melodic major  scale 4
C7 #11 1 3 5 b7 #11 subV7 lydian b7 = lydian dominant = mode 4 of  the melodic minor scale
C7 b9 ♮13 1 3 5b7b9♮13
mixolydian b2 = mode 5 of  the harmonic major  scale 4
C7b9#11♮13 135b7#11♮13
mixolydian b2 #4 = dominant diminished scale without #2



dominant diminished scale =  ½ tone -whole tone scale – *
C7 #9 ♮13 1 3 5 b7 #9 ♮13
mixolydian #2 4
C7#9 #11♮13 1 3 5 b7#9#11♮13
mixolydian #2 #4 = dominant diminished scale without b2



dominant diminished scale – *
Caug7♮9 = C9 b13 (?) 1 3 #5 b7 9
mixolydian b6 4



whole tone scale
C7 b9 b13 1 3 5 b9 b13 V7 b9 b13 phrygian dominant scale = mode 5 of  the harmonic minor scale (HM5) 4
C7alt 1 3 b7 b9 #9 #11 b13 VII7 alt super locrian = dim.- wholetone = altered scale =  mode 7 of  melodic minor scale – *
C7sus4 1 4 5 b7 V7sus4 mixolydian – *


II7sus4 dorian – *
C7sus4b9
III7sus4 phrygian – *
C7sus13b9

dorian b2 = mode 2 of melodic minor scale


VI7sus4 aeolian – *
Cdim7 Cdim (maj7) 1 b3 b5 bb7 1 b3 b5 ♮7
diminished scale= whole tone- ½ tone scale – *

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