View Full Version : Harmonizing a scale... I'm back at the same chord composition! Or am I?

09-06-2006, 01:03 AM
Hey guys! Recently I have been experimenting with scales. I want to have the ability to apply every scale possible and as part of this game, I chose to challenge myself with a scale that I saw in looknohands.com called the E Prometheus Scale. I was intrigued by its name so I decided to see how it sounds. These are the scale formula:

E Prometheus
intervals: 1,2,3,b5,6,b7
half-steps: 2-2-2-3-1-2
notes: E,F#,G#,Bb,C#,D

So of course to apply the scale, I had to get chords from it and I decided to stack the notes in thirds. I got

1st chord - (E, G#,C#)
2nd chord - (F#, Bb, D)
3rd chord - (G#, C#,E)
4th chord - (Bb, D, F#)
5th chord - (C#, E, G#)
6th chord - (D, F#, Bb)

What I noticed is that when I reached the 3rd chord, it was a repeat of the composition of the 1st chord. That goes the same for chords 3 to 6. Looking at it, there seems to be only two chords in the scale.

My questions are:

Did I harmonize the scale right?

Are there only really two chords for this scale?

Am I back to the same chords?

Why did this happen?

Also, just in case you guys know, I still don't know how to give the chords their name that's why above, I labeled them by number. So another question that I have is,

how do I get the names of these chords that I harmonize?

I thank you guys in advance. I really hope I can get clear and very easy to understand (as much as possible, no overwhelming terms =D) answers.

Thanks again!


09-06-2006, 01:43 AM
The problem with this is that you're trying to harmonize a 6 note scale. Any time you try to harmonize a scale with more or less than 7 notes, you will end up with odd chords (chords not built from thirds) and overlapping chords. The chords that we are accustomed to hearing and playing are built from thirds. The major scale and the minor scales conveniently allow us to make chords built in thirds by taking every other note in the scale. With 5 or 6 note scales, some of the intervals you end up with are not thirds when following the 'every-other-note' pattern.

This scale above is actually the B melodic minor scale (respelling the Bb to an A#), with the note B left out. This scale, with or without the B, is going to tend to sound like B melodic minor, and the harmonies used with it are going to gravitate towards the sound of B melodic minor.

09-06-2006, 08:55 AM
:) So how do I harmonize (in thirds or in whatever) 5 or 6 note scales?

09-06-2006, 12:59 PM
:) So how do I harmonize (in thirds or in whatever) 5 or 6 note scales?

In general case it's ok to harmonize such kind of scales with the complete ones, i.e. containing 7 notes and including the notes from your given scale. If this is impossible, reduce the situation to a simplier case - you can just play your scale over the chords from E major or E mixolydian. I would say that it's not full Lydian dominant.

09-07-2006, 09:09 PM
I would agree that scales like this are not, necessarily meant to be harmonized or, used as key centers / cadences. They may best be thought of as an option for melody / solo over a more standard progression.

However, it's kind of fun and might be interesting,.....so

E,G#,Bb = E,b5
F#,A#,C# = F#
G#,Bb,D = Bb7, no 5th,....very odd but that's as neat as I can make it, on the staff, - rename the G# to Ab ???
Bb,D,F# = Bb,#5
C#,E,G# = C#minor
D,F#,A# = D,#5

It does yeild some interesting results.
My goal when naming chords is to make them as neat as possible on the staff. That's a fair, general rule I think but, it doesn't always work out functionally.

....I may have to take this home and play with it,...I like to spell chords from the diminished scale too :eek: ....crazy but true....