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Old 2009-02-14, 11:52
JonR JonR is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 67
Originally Posted by Carbonized
Shit... I never realized the Locrian mode was the Diminished scale!
It isn't. (apologies to davie, who knows his stuff, but his assertion could cause confusion.)
Locrian mode can be regarded as a "half-diminished" mode, because a 7th chord built on its root is a half-diminished (m7b5) chord. (Eg, B-D-F-A from C major.)

But the "diminished scale" (in the conventional sense) is something different. It has 8 notes (octatonic), and runs WHWHWHWH. Sometimes called the "whole-half diminished" (for obvious reasons) it has just one other mode, called (guess...) the "half-whole diminished" - HWHWHWHW.
Jazz musicians use the WH dim scale to solo over dim7 chords, and the HW dim to solo over 7b9 chords.
A dim7 chord is the natural VII chord in a minor key, and a 7b9 is the natural V chord. (Derived from harmonic minor in each case, but jazz musicians don't seem to like using harmonic minor to improvise with... )
Eg, in key of C minor, the V chord is G7b9 (G-B-D-F-Ab) and the VII chord is Bdim7 (B-D-F-Ab... notice the similarity?). The C harmonic minor scale would fit both, but a jazz dude is more likely to choose the G HW dim or B WH dim scales - which are the same set of 8 notes:
G Ab A# B C# D E F.
Originally Posted by Carbonized
So, davie_gravy, C Minor is the parallel scale to the Locrian mode? Does that mean that the two can be played together (one riff and one solo and vice versa)?

Thanks a lot for the help. I really needed to know this info.
Just to add to davie's reply:
"Parallel" means sharing the same root note. So C minor (C aeolian or C natural minor) would be parallel to C locrian (or C major or C dorian, etc).
C aeolian is relative to D locrian (not B locrian) and any other mode of the Eb major scale.

As davie says, any relative mode can be played against any other - because they are all the same 7 notes! (It's hardly worth thinking of relative modes as different scales at all.)
With parallel scales it's trickier - because they each contain at least one "wrong note" relative to the others.
Eg, we are very familiar with the sound of a parallel minor scale over a major key - that's the blues! But other parallel scales (being less familiar) are likely to sound more "wrong".
If only one or two notes are different that might be OK.
Eg, for C major (ionian), C mixolydian and C dorian are very familiar bluesy alterations, containing b7 and/or b3 respectively.
C lydian is also familiar in jazz improvisation, which means raising the 4th of C major (F# instead of F). (Only over a C chord, mind, not any other chord in the key.)
But C phrygian and C locrian modes are going to sound more "off" against a C major tonality.
That may not mean "wrong" or "bad" (if you want a "wrong note" sound, then that's good!).

A more musical-sounding application of parallel modes is to write a sequence using chords from those modes, alongside chords from a basic major (or minor) key - and then just use the appropriate scales when playing over those chords.
Eg, a chord sequence in C major (C, F, G, Am, Em, Dm or any combination) could include chords like Bb, Ab, Eb or Fm (from C minor/aeolian), or Db or Bbm (from C phrygian or locrian). Or indeed (going in the other direction) D major from C lydian.
It takes skill to weave a large number of these together so the whole thing works, but anything is possible. (Tip: start by borrowing just one or two chords from a parallel mode. Don't overdo it to start with....)
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