Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Let's get altered!

Here's what I use to play over a dominant 7 chord.


  • Dominant 7 arp.  (Pretty straightforward.  This outlines the basic, unaltered harmony.)
  • Dominant 7 #5 arp.  (Takes you outside a bit.  This one includes a chord tone that makes it usable with the altered scale below.)
  • Minor 7 arp. (This gives the root, #9, 5 and b7 of the dominant chord.  The #9 is nice and aggressive without sounding too outside.)
  • Diminished arp.  (A dominant arp with a raised root or b9.  Very typical, kinda boring outside sound.)
  • Minor 7 b5 up a major 3rd. (Creates a 9 chord.)

  • Mixolydian mode. (Good old fashioned diatonic insideness.  Matches up with the plain vanilla arp.)
  • Dorian mode.  (Replaces the major 3 with a #9.  Works with the minor 7 arp.)
  • Altered scale.  (This scale is the 7th mode of the melodic minor scale.  It gives you all the alterations: b9, #9, b5, #5, root, 3rd.  As such it works best with a #5 or b5 arp.  It can be confusing to use it with arps that don't contain an altered 5th.)
  • Chromatic madness.  (As long as you're playing something rythmically interesting and/or moving to/from chord tones, you can do anything with any note.  Ya.)


  1. Damn, Doug... you're spelunking into some deep-down crevices of tonal domination. My guitar chops are soft and mushy, but I'm slowly learning how to sightread piano music.

  2. I whipped out my scale and chord guide and tried out the chords, in the key of D. My favorite 2 are:

    Minor 7 arp

    Minor 7 b5 up a major 3rd

    Scales sound like harder biz to learn. But I like the concept of chromatic madness and agree with the philosophy behind its core principles.

  3. Also, I wonder if some keys (C,D, etc) are inherently more pleasurable to our aural centers than others. I would imagine "C" makes people feel the most comfortable since its been the most used across time, but I have no research data to back that up.