The whole Whole Tone

I like the whole-tone sound, but it can get kind of boring and predictable (true of all the symmetrical scales, but especially the whole tone, since it has the most repetitive pattern . . . whole step, whole step, whole step, whole step, whole step, whole step). I've been exploring ways to spice it up.

One way is to add chromatic passing tones between whole tone degrees. Here are two ways to do it that keep the root, 3rd, and #5 on the beats.

Jazz Whole Tone Scale with Passing Tones

Two augmented triads a step apart have all the notes of the whole-tone scale.
Like in the previous post, whole steps can be filled in chromatically.

Here are a couple of very basic versions of Db+ and Eb+ connected by chromatic passing tones (the first line just shows the basic triads).

Triads with Passing Tones - Jazz Whole Tone Improvisation

Here are some other ideas for embellishing the whole tone scale:

Whole Tone Improvisation Techniques

The first two use the Db+ Eb+ triad pair. The next two just enclose every scale tone (chromatically below, diatonically above).

The next line just encloses one of the two triads.

The last line alternates chromatic approach from below and neighbor tone above on different chord tones, always skipping past one chord tone and resolving in the opposite direction.

Leave a comment