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Syncthosescalesforbetter
bebopsolos

byGeorgeWhitty 3minread original

Doyoueverwonderwhysomesolossoundliketheyredrivingdown

agreasedrailandothersseemtoneverfindtheirfooting?Forme,a

greatilluminationinthisareacamefromsaxophonistJerry

Bergonzi,whointroducedmetotheconceptofmindingwhich

notesofascaleIwasputtingonthebeatsversuswhichofthemI

wasputtingbetweenthebeats.Theearperceivesnotesplayedon

thebeattobetheharmonythatsbeingplayedover,soinorderto

playascalemostinsyncwithanygivenharmony,weneedto

constructscalessothatthenotesthatareonthebeatoutlinethe

chordswereplaying.Letsexplorethisalittlemoreclosely.

1.Out-of-SyncScales

Ex.1illustratesastandardCmajorscale.Noticethatforthefirst

barwereoutliningCmaj7onthebeatsbutforthesecondwere

outliningDmin7.Atthatpoint,were180degreesoutofsyncwith

theharmonywereplaying-wereoutliningDmin7withthemelody

whilethechordisplayingCmaj7,andourlineissuspendingover

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harmonythatsresolving.Thisproducestheclassicsituation

where,evenifeverythingelseaboutthelineisgreat,themusician

soundslikeheorsheisfishing.TheyreoutofwhatIcallthe

harmonicpocketandthelinejustisnthookedintotheharmony

inawaythatprovidesdrivingpropulsion.Allthepotential

harmonicleveragebetweenthetensionandreleaseintheharmony

iswasted.PlayablockDmin7chordoveraCmaj7chordandyou

canhearthatitsjustkindofamess-thatswhatweregettingif

ourlineisoutliningtheDmin7overtheCmaj7.Whatsthe

solution?Readon!

2.In-SyncScales

Ex.2aaboveshowsawaytosolveourharmonicsyncissue.Lets

usean8-notescale,createdbyaddingapassingtonebetween

degrees5and6(G#inthiscase),thatwillstayinsync,withchord

tonesonthebeat,allthewayupanddownthekeyboard,aslongas

westartonachordtone.Takealookatanyclassicbebopsoloand

youllseethispassingtoneallovertheplace.(Itsinthefirstbarof

thebebopstandardDonnaLee,forexample).Ifyouanalyzewhat

notesareputonthebeat,itsgenerallyeitherchordtonesorlikelya

greatharmonicsubstitutionmadeabsolutelyclearandcoherentby

whichnotesarechosentobeonthebeat.Thenotesonthebeatare

whatwehearastheharmonyintheline.Wealsogettheeffectof

tensionbetweenthebeatsandresolutiontochordtonesonthe

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beats.Thisreallyhelpsdrivetheline.InBostonwecalledthesebop

scales,andthereareonesfordominantchords(seenbelowinEx.

2bwiththeextranotebetweendegrees7andthetonic):

andaminorone(seenbelowinEx.2cwiththepassingtone

betweendegrees5and6,andwithanatural7:

Finally,Ex.2d:

illustratesthebopscaleforaltereddominantchords,usingaflatted

2nd,araised5th,aflatted7thandthepassingtoneofthenatural

7thaswell.

3.Out-of-SyncSolos

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Ex.3illustratesanoutofsyncbebopsolowitheverythingoutofthe

harmonicpocket.

Whilesomeaspectsofthislinesoundfine,everythingaboutthe

lineiscompletelyatoddswiththeharmony.Butwait,youask.If

itusesnotesfromtherightscales,whatcouldbesowrong?The

answerliesinwhichnotesofthescaleareonthebeat.

4.In-SyncSolos

Ex.4demonstratesabebopsolowitheverythinginthepocket.Now

youcanhearthatwhentheharmonyissuspending,thelineis

suspendingaswell,andwhentheharmonyresolves,thelinedoes

also.Ah,muchbetter!Remember,thisdoesntmeanwerestuck

playingchordtonesonthebeatallthetime.Theideahereisjustto

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understandthevalueofmindingwhatyouputonthebeatsand

whatyouputbetweenthebeats.Infact,therealfunbeginswhenwe

starttosubstitutegoodextensionsontotheharmonyandapplythe

sameprinciples.Forexample,runninganAbminbopscaleovera

G7chordputsthenotesofanAbmin6chordonthebeat.Therefore,

wehearareallyclearrepresentationofoursubstitutiononthe

G7.Again,whatsonthebeatiswhatgivesthingsanice,strong

sound.

OriginalURL:

http://www.keyboardmag.com/jazz/1303/sync-those-scales-for-better-bebop-

solos/53316

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