In music and music theory, a hexatonic scale is a scale with six pitches or notes per octave. Famous examples include the whole tone scale, C D E F♯ G♯ A♯ C; the augmented scale, C D♯ E G A♭ B C; the Prometheus scale, C D E F♯ A B♭ C; and what some jazz theorists call the "blues scale", C E♭ F F♯ G B♭ C.
Whole tone scale
The whole tone scale is a series of whole tones. It has two non-enharmonically equivalent positions: C D E F♯ G♯ A♯ C and D♭ E♭ F G A B D♭. It is primarily associated with the French impressionist composer Claude Debussy, who used it in such pieces of his as Voiles and Le vent dans la plaine, both from his first book of piano Préludes.
This whole-tone scale has appeared occasionally and sporadically in jazz at least since Bix Beiderbecke's impressionistic piano piece In a Mist. Bop pianist Thelonious Monk often interpolated whole-tone scale flourishes into his improvisations and compositions.
The augmented scale, also known in jazz theory as the symmetrical augmented scale, is so called because it can be thought of as an interlocking combination of two augmented triads a augmented second or minor third apart: C E G♯ and E♭ G B. It may also be called the "minor-third half-step scale" due to the series of intervals produced.
It made one of its most celebrated early appearances in Franz Liszt's Faust Symphony (Eine Faust Symphonie). Another famous use of the augmented scale (in jazz) is in Oliver Nelson's solo on "Stolen Moments". It is also prevalent in 20th century compositions by Béla Bartók, Milton Babbitt, and Arnold Schoenberg, by saxophonists John Coltrane and Oliver Nelson in the late 50s and early 60s, and bandleader Michael Brecker. Alternating E major and C minor triads form the augmented scale in the opening bars of the Finale in Shostakovich's Second Piano Trio.
Main article: Mystic chord
The Prometheus scale is so called because of its prominent use in Alexander Scriabin's symphonic poem Prometheus: The Poem of Fire. Scriabin himself called this set of pitches, voiced as the simultaneity (in ascending order) C F♯ B♭ E A D the "mystic chord". Others have referred to it as the "Promethean chord".
Main article: Blues scale
Since blue notes are alternate inflections, strictly speaking there can be no one blues scale, but the scale most commonly called "the blues scale" comprises a flatted seventh blue note, a flatted third blue note, and a flatted fifth blue note along with other pitches derived from the minor pentatonic scale: C E♭ F F♯ G B♭ C.
The tritone scale, C D♭ E G♭ G(♮) B♭, is enharmonically equivalent to the Petrushka chord, C C♯ E F♯ G A♯.
The two-semitone tritone scale, C D♭ D F♯ G A♭, is a symmetric scale consisting of a repeated pattern of two semitones followed by a major third now used for improvisation and may substitute for any mode of the jazz minor scale. The scale originated in Nicolas Slonimsky's book Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns through the, "equal division of one octave into two parts," creating a tritone, and the, "interpolation of two notes," adding two consequent semitones after the two resulting notes.
^ a b c Advanced: "Secrets of the symmetrical augmented scale". Josh Workman. Guitar Player 41.7 (July 2007): p108(2).
^ J. Bradford Robinson/Barry Kernfeld. "Blue Note", The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Second Edition, London (2002)
^ Ferguson, Jim (2000). All Blues Scale for Jazz Guitar, p.6. ISBN 0786652136.
^ Arnold, Bruce (2002). The Essentials: Chord Charts, Scales and Lead Patterns for Guitar, p.8. ISBN 1890944947.
^ Harrison, Mark (2003). Blues Piano: Hal Leonard Keyboard Style Series, p.8. ISBN 0634061690.
^ Busby, Paul. "Short Scales", Scored Changes: Tutorials.
^ Dziuba, Mark (2000). The Ultimate Guitar Scale Bible, p.129. ISBN 1929395094.
^ Nicolas Slonimsky. Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns. Music Sales Corp.. ISBN 0825672406. http://books.google.com/books?id=RiYPAAAACAAJ. Retrieved Jun. 2, 2009.