I understand little music theory, so I do not understand the difference between an augmented and diminished scale.


Diminished scales

A diminished scale is a pattern of alternating whole steps and half steps. For example, there are two diminished scales beginning on C:

C D Eb F Gb Ab A B C and C C# Eb E Gb G A Bb C.

The first of those is called a "whole-half" diminished scale, and the other is a "half-whole" diminished scale. The names comes from the pattern of intervals:

C D Eb F Gb Ab A B C
 W H  W H  W  H W H

C C# Eb E Gb G A Bb C
 H  W  H W  H W H  W

One can also think of diminished scales as two overlapping diminished chords. The two scales demonstrated here both contain a C diminished chord combined with a D and C# diminished chord, respectively.

C D Eb F Gb Ab A B
C C# Eb E Gb G A Bb.

Augmented scales

Augmented scales are a pattern of minor thirds and half steps, and where a diminished scale can be thought of as two overlapping diminished chords, augmented scales can be thought of as two overlapping augmented chords:

C C# E F G# A C
C Eb E G G# B C

There is another scale which can be thought of as two overlapping augmented chords: the whole-tone scale, which comprises only whole steps.

C D E F# G# A# C

  • And the chromatic scale, which is overlapping two whole-tone scales? :D Sep 17 at 4:27

The so-called augmented scale uses intervals of m3 and semitone. So, for example, C aug. scale has C E♭ E♮ G, G♯ B, back to C. That means there are 4 different augmented scales, as using root notes rising a semitone each time, wheen you get to E♭, the notes involved are the same as those in the original C.

Diminished scales are twofold. half-whole, and whole-half. So, the pattern of notes id either TSTSTSTS, or, STSTSTST. Let's take the first, in key C. C D D♯ F F♯ G♯ A B C. The second uses C D♭ E♭ E♮ F♯ G A B♭ C. These notes may be called by other names, but are all 12tet.

Before considering these scales, it's well worth getting one's head round all the majors, minors, pentatonics, blues and modes, as they get far more use in real life!

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