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Playing Outside I: Dorian Alternatives part three

In my second post on playing outside over the A Dorian mode, I covered the use of the scales A Melodic, B Neapolitan minor, E Harmonic minor and F# Locrian natural 7. Each scale gave one altered note that can be played; Maj7, #1, #4 and #5 respectively.

In this instalment, I shall be using scales with two altered notes. If we combine the altered note from two of the scales mentioned above, we have six possible combinations of scales that contain two altered notes. They are, played over A Dorian, as follows:

B Neapolitan Major (G# and A#) = 1 b2 b3 4 5 6 7

F# Neapolitan Major b5 (D# and E#) = 1 b2 b3 4 b5 6 7

E Harmonic Major (G# and D#) = 1 2 3 4 5 b6 7

F# Harmonic minor b5 (G# and E#) = 1 2 b3 4 b5 b6 7

E Hungarian minor (D# and A#) = 1 2 b3 #4 5 b6 7

F# Persian (A# and E#) = 1 b2 3 4 b5 b6 7

Now, I know this may seem complex at first. But it becomes easier with practise. Also, after a while, the altered notes become the focus and the patterns of the scales become less important, apart from when a fast section in your playing is required and then an octave or two of a scale containing two altered notes sounds great, while being slightly more outside than the scales with a single altered note.

Again, as mentioned in the previous post, I prefer the 'dip in and out' approach as opposed to resorting to 8, 9 or even 10 note scales. But that is just me. I also like knowing where the altered notes originated as I'm playing, helping me to shift from one modal position to another. A 10 note scale all over the neck would be infinitely more complex to remember, plus also the chromatic feel of the notes is not good to my ear.

The example below uses the modes from each of the above scales that fit over the A Dorian modal position. Of course, it is also worth learning the other positions to allow movement up and down the neck whilst playing in one of the altered scales. In fact you will find some of the positions are more user friendly than others and only cherry pick a few. The scales should be resolved quickly anyway to avoid the 'band falling down the stairs' sound.


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