Barry Harris' eight note diminished scales

Mirek Tim Patek

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Jazz pianist Barry Harris (1929-2021) is known to piano players and to guitar world too (search youtube channels TILF Barry Harris and Labyrinth of Limitations) but it has not been mentioned yet in this ukulele forum.

There is a book by Alan Kingstone The Barry Harris Harmonic Method for Guitar, and the charts on treble four strings are applicable to ukulele.

Barry Harris advocated the use of these eight note scales:

1) the major sixth diminished scale comprised of a 6th chord and a diminished chord on its major seventh, i.e. C6 and Bdim7

2) the minor sixth diminished scale comprised of a minor 6th chord and a diminished chord on its major seventh, i.e. Cm6 and Bdim7

and less frequently

3) the seventh diminished scale comprised of a dominant 7th chord and a diminished chord on its major seventh, i.e. C7 and Bdim7

4) the seventh flat 5 diminished scale comprised of a dominant 7th flat 5 chord and a diminished chord on its major seventh, i.e. C7b5 and Bdim7

Attached is the overview of these four scales on the GCEA ukulele. It sounds good when the different inversions of e.g. C6 chord are played with the diminished chord inbetween.
 

Attachments

  • Barry Harris four diminished scales GCEA ukulele.pdf
    366.9 KB · Views: 63
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I already knew some of these, under different names, but it was a great collection. Personally I found the charts too busy and unusable. It must be a system that I am just unacquainted with. It reminded me of when I went into McDonald's for the first time in over a decade and the menus were animated. I was too distracted and ultimately I just left. However, in this case, I just wrote down the notes of the scale and played them 3-note-per-string style without worrying about all those dots and all those colors.

Where I have found these scales the most useful in my musical life is playing them over Rhythm Changes. I always do my own thing instead of trying to re-create the traditional sound and in doing so, I tend to play a m6 rather than a Δ7. And I play dom7b9. And the B section is nothing but dom7 chords. These scales work fine in these contexts.

I have heard that these scales also work well with a blues progression if you want to infuse a little something different into the same old blues.
 
I'm slowly but surely working on Barry Harris chord movements. The best explanation I've found of it is this one:



And I've done a chart of the chord movements in the four scale modes in these .pdfs:
 

Attachments

  • Barry Harris Dom7.pdf
    326.5 KB · Views: 9
  • Barry Harris Dom7b5.pdf
    325.9 KB · Views: 2
  • Barry Harris Maj6.pdf
    348.9 KB · Views: 3
  • Barry Harris Min6.pdf
    349.7 KB · Views: 1
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