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HomeLJS PodcastLearn Jazz Theory4 Scales to Play Over a Half-Diminished Chord

4 Scales to Play Over a Half-Diminished Chord

Welcome to episode 157 of the LJS Podcast where today we discuss four different scale options for approaching half-diminished chords. Sometimes it can be helpful to take chords out of the context of chord progressions and look at them individually. These scales will help you map out note choices for this mysterious chord.

Listen to episode 157

Ever came across a half diminished chord and felt like you didn’t really know how to approach it or what notes to play?

When it comes to jazz improvisation, your note choices are always going to be dictated by which chord came before and what the next chord is.

However, I think it’s helpful to spend some time in the practicing room working on chords as isolated events. Scales are a good way to identify “pitch collections” that map out note choices in a chord.

In this episode, I identify 4 different scales that can help you map out the half diminished chord so you can start feeling more comfortable with it on your instrument.

In this episode:

1. Using the Locrian Mode over a half diminished chord.

2. Using the Locrian #2 over a half diminished chord.

3. Using a harmonic minor scale over a half diminished chord.

4. Using a minor pentatonic scale over a half diminished chord.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren’t already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

I look forward to having you join me in the next episode!

Important Links

LJS 99: Which Scales You Can Play Over Different Kinds of 7th Chords

LJS 115: How to Balance Music Theory and Playing by Ear

LJS Inner Circle Membership

Free Guide to learn standards by ear: Learn Jazz Standards the Smart Way

Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."

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