Funkman's D-Lite - Contortion, Distortion
& 7#9 (Maj / Min)
Theoretically speaking, all you need is a tritone and 9 of the 10 remaining notes of the the chromatic scale, excluding (again, theoretically speaking) only the Maj. 7th (which works great as a passing tone, etc.), and you're good to go.
Think I'm lyin'?
Using D7 as an example for this post, let's build a chromatic scale and label each note's function (notes in italics are the altered tensions):
D=root; Eb=b9; E=9; F=#9; F#=3; G=sus4(11); Ab(G#)=b5(#11); A=5; Bb(A#)=b13(#5); B=13; C=7; C#=Maj7.
Only the last note C#, the Maj7 in this case, gets uninvited to the party, but it usually "passes" by via the backdoor, anyway.
Count 'em up. That's 11 out of 12 legit (and 12 out of 12 if we sneak that Maj7 in there).
Is that flexible or what?
Get my point?
Now stop gawking
at the picture!
I mean, shame on you!
The girl can't help it!
As I was saying, a dominant 7 is a very flexible type thing, indeed!
For that reason, no other chord type lends itself to so many different scale choices: i.e. Major, Melodic Minor, Harmonic Minor, Harmonic Major, Whole Tone, Diminished and even Augmented (upper partials only).
The exercise featured here is derived from a permutation of one of those scales; the half tone/ whole tone Diminished scale to be exact, and the permutation is the Pentatonic b2. (1-b2-3-5-6, using the scale steps from a Major scale. In F, that would mean: F-Gb-A-C-D).
The sound we're after, however, is created when the note D, the 5th scale step of F Pentatonic b2, is heard as the root. This would turn our scale into D-F-Gb-A-C, where D=root; F=b3(#9); Gb(F#)=3; A=5; C=b7.
This gives us the sound of a D7 arpeggio, with both Mal and min 3rds (F# & F respectively), more commonly known as D7#9.
The configuration of the line in the exercise below is a kind of hybrid "Bergonzi Shape" (The eight pentatonic shapes from tenor master/ guru Jerry Bergonzi's book "Vol 2 - Pentatonics" Advance Music).
Whereas the Bergonzi shapes utilize 4 note groupings, with a repeating scheme of alternating skip or step motion in an up or down direction, this exercise employs an 8 note, measure long repeating scheme.
Excluding the 3 note pickup, and starting on the downbeat of measure #1, F pentatonic b2 over D (D-F-Gb-A-C, asc., D-C-A-Gb-F, desc.) the scheme is:
(D) Skip down (A)- Step down (Gb)- Skip up (C)- Step down - /
(Skip C) (Skip A)
(A) Skip down (F) - Step up (Gb) - Skip up (C) - Step down (A next measure)
(Skip Gb) (Skip A)
And the scheme pattern repeats itself each measure.
I believe this Maj./ min scale/ mode came into vogue, as a melodic device in the late 60's with the early "jazz fusion" players (Miles, Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, The Breckers, Joe Henderson, etc.), and should be a familiar sound to most.
The coexistence of a Maj/ min tonality has been and been a major part of the Blues sonority since it's inception. The classic 7#9 sound eg. F#-C-F over D (the 5th being optional), is a staple of the "Funky/ Jazz/ Blues" genre.
Play that Funky Music RIGHT, boy!!