I am working on an app that generates scales & chords and recently began work specifically on augmented chords.

It appears to me as though augmented chords are derived from the Lydian augmented scale. So my question is: Can other scales be augmented?

I ask this in an attempt to determine if augmented scales are a type or class of scale, or if the Lydian augmented is a specific instance.

Right now I could easily apply the augmented intervals (- W - W - W - W - H - W - H -) to other scales (e.g. Phrygian, Locrian), but unsure if this would be useful or make sense to do so?

  • "...augmented chords are derived from the Lydian augmented scale": While it is possible to relate them, it doesn't describe how they actually came into use. "Lydian augmented scale" is a concept developed long after the augmented triad. Rather, the augmented triad derives from the diatonic triad by chromatic alteration. ​Diatonic chords can be said to be "derived from" diatonic scales because there was a large body of music that uses these scales first melodies, then countermelodies, then eventually triadic harmony. There's no analogous development for augmented triads. – phoog May 28 at 16:12
  • Thanks for the explanation phoog. Had no idea these two concepts came along at entirely different times throughout history. Realizing now that I may have read a little too far into their relationship – Michael Sanchez May 30 at 13:49
  • FWIW I tend to use the term "augmented" for any scale that has a major third and an augmented fifth but no natural fifth, i.e. the natural harmony you get at the root is an augmented triad. There are lots of such scales, the most obvious of which is Whole Tone (W-W-W-W-W-W). – helveticat Jun 22 at 15:58

Chords are chords.

Scales are scales.

Chords don't derive from scales, not really. That is a notion the "chord/scale system" promotes.

Augmented triads are a major third and augmented fifth above a root. The augmented fifth gives the chord its name. You can have other augmented chords, the main idea is their fifth will be augmented, but the naming may differ depending on the situation. In jazz a dominant seventh chord with an augmented fifth may be called an altered seventh chord labeled alt7.

The whole tone scale is related to the augmented triad as all the triads from that scale are augmented.

Look up hexatonic scale too. You can superimpose two augmented triads separated by minor third or half step to get such scales. (Notice how in that case the description is deriving a scale from a chord rather than a chord from a scale? It goes either way, and is just two sides of the same coin: harmony.)

  • Really appreciate the info! I am getting the feeling that "deriving" chords or scales from each other is not how these should be formed. Instead, I think I will calculate all notes from the root and interval. Thanks again for the clarification! – Michael Sanchez May 30 at 13:45
  • @MichaelSanchez, yes, the harmonic approach to chords is a root with intervals above with the chord possibly inverted. An older (roughly Baroque) harmonic view was a bass (not root) with intervals above. The contrapuntal view of harmony is chord result from the movement of voices, i.e. voice leading. Those approaches evolved over time and interrelate. – Michael Curtis May 31 at 15:16
  • The big stumbling point for many people thinking of chord (harmony) derived from scale is minor key harmony. The scale in minor key music is not fixed. The sixth and seventh scale degrees change. That shouldn't necessarily be confusing, but "chord derived from scale" seems to promote mistaken ideas of either diatonic scale, no mode mixture, or variable scale degrees. Harmony doesn't work that way. – Michael Curtis May 31 at 15:21

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