and music theory
, a hexatonic scale
is a scale
with six pitches
. 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
theory calls the "blues scale
", C E F F G B C.
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 La vent dans la plaine
, both from his first book of piano Preludes
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 Thelonius 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 minor 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). While, "possibly the most famous," use of the augmented scale in jazz is in Oliver Nelson's solo on "Stolen Moments", it was also used in the 20th century by composers 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.
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".
Since blues notes (or 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 blues note, a flatted third blues note, and a flatted fifth blues note along with other pitches derived from the minor pentatonic scale: C E F F G B C.