Tag Archives: whole-tone scale

Improvise with Whole-Tone Scales

… But let’s call it “galaxy music”…

Here’s a fun improv starter that especially appeals to the child within all of us. Fix your levers so that you have the following scale: C D E F# G# Ab (or A#, either one; you’re just eliminating the A by doubling a musical note) Bb C.

whole-tone scale

(click on image for larger version)

Now play with running up and down the scale, glissing, and playing random notes. Sounds like what we think of as space music, don’t you think? If you play certain intervals between your two hands it can sound very eerie.

You can also try using A-natural in this exercise, although that isn’t strictly speaking part of the whole-tone scale (hey, did you know you just learned some theory? You now know how to improvise with whole-tone scales . . . ). Have fun with this; there are no wrong notes.

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This post is adapted from material that I originally published in the ezine, Notes from the Harp.