Signs of Augmentia - Augmented Scale
Major / Minor Triad Pairs
The Augmented Scale is a 6 note (hexatonic) scale made up of three minor 2nds, spaced a Major third apart:
C-Db, E-F, G#-A
Or, the same exact scale can be viewed as consisting of three minor 3rds (or augmented 2nds), spaced a Major third apart:
Same exact scale and notes, starting on either the half step or minor 3rd side of the scale.
Another common way of viewing the Augmented Scale is to see it as 2 Augmented Triads; again either a minor 2nd or minor 3rd, apart:
Db-F-A, E-G#-C (inversion)
The Augmented Scale also sports 3 Major triads:
(F-A-C, A-C#-E, C#-F-G#, spelled enharmonically);
as well as 3 minor triads:
(F-Ab-C, A-C-E, C#-E-G#, again making use of enharmonic spellings).
Regardless of which triad quality is considered, the Augmented Scale divides the octave into 3 equal parts. Since there are 12 tones in the Western Chromatic Universe, this means that there are 4 distinct, different Augmented Scales (12 divide by 3 = 4; trust me!).
It's the Major / minor aspect of the Augmented Scale that gets our attention for this particular exercise; namely a Major triad and the minor triad a Maj. 3rd below it (eg. C Maj & Ab min.)
If we flip the script, we can see it alternately as a minor triad paired with the Major triad a Maj. 3rd above it (Ab min & C Maj), but for now we'll focus on the former triad pair order of things.
A triad pair, by definition, is any two triads which contain no common tones between them. Therefore, a triad pair which contains all 6 notes of an Augmented Scale, can be created with the above mentioned Maj / min triad scheme.
This line is based on a descending pattern utilizing a different triadic inversion for each measure, with an ascending/ descending shape.
For example, in
D Maj (2nd inversion / 5th - root - 3rd) = A (up) - D (down) - F#
Bb min (2nd inversion / 5th - root - 3rd) = F (up) - Bb (down) - Db
D Maj (1st inversion / 3rd - 5th - root) = F# (up) - A (down) - D
Bb min (1st inversion / 3rd - 5th - root) = Db (up) - F (down) - Bb
D Maj (root position / root - 3rd - 5th ) = D (up) - F# (down) - A
Bb min (root position / root - 3rd - 5th ) = Bb (up) - Db (down) - F
is the same as measure #1, down an octave.
The second, third and fourth lines are transpositions of the first, each time down a Maj. 3rd, with the appropriate Maj. / min triad pairs in effect. Again, each measure is a different way to express a complete augmented scale.
BTW, this scheme can actually be modified for use with triads (or trichords) in any scale of any type.
Does the term "Cycle of Descending Maj. 3rds" ring a bell?
It was made famous in 1959 by one John William Coltrane.
"Giant Steps"! Oh yeah! "'Trane Changes"!
As there are 4 different Augmented Scales, there are 4 versions of the above described patterns.
BTW, the above scalar pattern can be modified for use with triads (or trichords) in any scale of any type.
Get it in your fingers. 'Git it in your soul!"
More on it's uses and applications in a future post. In the meantime check "Categories" for previous posts found on this website, on the subject of the Augmented Scale.