THE

BEGINNER'S GUIDE
To

IMPROVISING

JAZZ:
Learn how to improvise and UNDERSTAND Basic jazz theory!

WRITTEN FOR ALL INSTRUMENTS
INCLUDES 25 AUDIO EXAMPLES WRITTEN BY PETE SWIDERSKI

INTRODUCTION Why another book on improvising jazz? Because everything out there is either too complicated, or doesn't teach you what you really need to know! I've been playing and teaching jazz for a lot of years now, and believe that I have an excellent approach to teaching jazz improvisation. Many people will tell you that you can't "teach" people to improvise- you have to just "feel" the music. I believe that a player has to understand the theory behind jazz. They must know what those symbols (C7 for example) mean
and what they can play over it. They must understand how chords work together. You must understand

these things, BEFORE you can really play your best! I have long believed that the masters of jazz are also masters of music theory. They just don't "play" whatever. There is a reason that they are the masters, they understand all of the available options to them-THEY KNOW THE THEORY! All players have heard the story about John Coltrane and how he used and studied "The Thesaurus of Scales and Modern Patterns" By Nicolas Slonimsky. We spent the $30.00 to buy the book thinking that it would help. But when you open that book, you are more confused than ever! How did Coltrane use this book? It doesn't make any sense! That's because Coltrane "gets" the theory, he knows what he can do and can now push the boundaries and explore new sounds. IN THIS BOOK I WILL TEACH YOU HOW JAZZ WORKS, AND HOW YOU CAN MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU! I understand that it is confusing, and I will explain it so you can understand it. A little about me. I have been playing saxophone for 24 years; I learned in elementary school. I went to Brigham Young University in Utah, USA earning a Bachelors degree in music education. I have taught private saxophone lessons for nearly 18 years and taught public school as a band teacher for eight years. All of my school teaching years have been in a little junior high in Utah. I understand JAZZ THEORY, I teach it to my young private students, and now I'm going to teach it to you! Good Luck!

Pete Swiderski Copyright 2006 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

SCALES AND CHORDS

TABLE OF CONENTS

Scales

-Explanation of major scale theory, how scales are formed and how to form them.

The Circle of 4ths and Sths. -Shows you how the Circle works, how to use it, and why it is useful. Modes -What are modes, why do I need to know them. Specific emphasis is given to Ionian, Dorian and Mixolydian. Discussion on how to form these three important modes. Also includes audio on what each of the three modes sounds like over different chord progressions. Chords -What is a chord and how do you form one. Changes -Shows you what chord changes are, and how to interpret what a composer wants when he writes certain chords. Symbols - Talks about what chord symbols you will find in most jazz music. Also discusses how to play over these. Audio clips of these examples. Practice songs -This book includes several practice songs that you can use to try out your new theory skills! Bebop Scale -Discussion on what a Bebop scale sounds like, how to form one, and where to use it. Pentatonic scale -Discussion on what a Pentatonic scale sounds like, how to use it over the three main modes. (also includes audio) Blues - How to form a blues scale, where to use one, and how to play over 'The blues' chord progression using the scales and chords discussed in the book. ii V7 I -What is a ii V7 I chord progression. What you can do to play over it, and why it is so important. Discussion on where you can find good ideas for improvisation, and good resources jazz material. THIS BOOK ALSO INCLUDES A CHART WITH ALL MAJOR SCALES, BEBOP SCALES, BLUES SCALES, DORIAN MODE, MIXOLYDIAN MODE, PENTATONIC SCALES IN ALL 12 KEYS! IT ALSO HAS A CHART WITH CHORDS UP TO THE 9TH• I'VE ALSO INCLUDED A ii V7 I chart in all 12 keys. This is a great reference. ABOVE EACH OF THE SCALES AND CHORDS, I'VE INCLUDED THE CHORD SYMBOL THAT GOES WITH EACH. NO MORE GUESSING ON WHICH CHORD TO USE!

2

: MA1~H "" rF "" - - II No matter where you start a major scale on you instrument.fE. 3 . Just like you can identify a cat from a dog even though there are 100's of types of dogs that look different.to keep the hairs and wholes constant.SCALES AND CHORDS Let's start out by looking at a major scale: 1$.F <It. .JJI~LtGftP/JlAI. If I play them in order 12345678. w.rr. If I put numbers on the major scale like this: 1$ J t 2 J J J I5J J 4 ~ r -e- ~ - II We will call C 1.' fl. you must maintain the halfstep whole-step relationship in order for it to sound like a major scale. This is why we use sharps and flats in music. J J JMA1~lkA'E I J J r F - - II A major scale is easily identified by the way it 'sounds'.oJ tiTl" J HA. and D 2 etc we will find that there are 7 pitches in the scale and the 8th pitch is a repeat of the top pitch. it is called major.f GftP mAn~NGJlIP~. Here is an analyisis of a major: . wlOl.

CIRCLE OF 4THS AND 5THS I now want to introduce you the circle of 4ths and Sths. ~ ~ F G~ D~ ~ ~ B~ .E~Circle ofFifthsA At> E~ Order of Sharps: F# C# G# D# A# E# B# Order of Flats: Bb Eb Ab DbGb Cb Fb 4 .

The right side is the flats. and the left side is the sharp side. Now if I move up a 4thfrom F. it has no sharps and no flats. Moving to the left to F. but are SPELLED differently. I also know that the three sharps I'll use are the first three in the 'Order of Sharps' You should always be able to refer to the circle of 4ths to see the key you are playing in. G has one sharp. start on C. 5 . I look at the circle and count down on the sharp side and find the key with three sharps. If I'm in a key with three sharps. The sharps and flats always come in the following order. and Db and C# are enharmonic keys. The distance from C to F is a 'perfect 4th.Bb. You will see that they are the same note. just going by different names. I will arrive at a Bb. Enharmonic means that the notes SOUND the same. go down Yz step and this note is called Gb.e. and Cb. The notes here are separated by the interval of a 'Perfect 5th'or '5th. Remember that the number of sharps and flats in the key signature will tell you the key your in. you will see that F has one flat.or a '4th. This means that they are enharmonic. Notice at the bottom of the circle that the key of F# and Gb are in the same position at the bottom. Db. Order of Sharps: F# C# G# D# A# E# B# Order of Flats: Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb Fb Notice that the order of sharps and flats goes in intervals of 4thsand 5ths.. The key of Bb has 2 flats . Now let's start back at the top and go to the right side.This handy little device tells us what key we are in and what sharps and flats are in each key. You will notice that if you start at the top of the circle with C. and then move up a C scale four notes: CD E F.Bb and Eb. The first one is the key of G. and that you go up in the key of the note you are starting on i. Gb. So. and they are the same order but just reversed. Going up a 5th from G takes us to D. go up in the key ofC. this note is called F#. I am moving up a 4th. and it has one sharp. This means if I start on C. Remember that the key of F has one flat in it . This continues on to Ab. There are two other enharmonic key signatures: Cb and B are enharmonic. This pattern continues on until you've reached the key of C# which has 7 sharps in it. It is important that you count the first note. If you look at a piano and find the note G. and go up Yz step. We don't go past Cb because we've flatted every note of the major scale. I can see that I'm in the key of A. Now if you find the note F.. and D has two.

8. If we do the same thing with a scale but use the notes from C major scale instead. you will see 7 different places we can start the scale.J L j E Pl{fY4lAN r r I JJ UJ cor cJ I f 'yg/AN I~ J sa J. (AUDIO CLIP 1) Basically I started the scale on 1 and returned to 1. all of the pitches had a chance to be the first note in the scale. If we number the notes 1. In this way. then on 3 and returned to 3 etc. r e lS ric: r j r ere (I r F r. we get this exercise: 12345678 23456782 34567823 45678234 56782345 67823456 78234567 I~ J J a .MODES Now. If you look closely at the notes. I can play the following combinations: Here is how the numbers from above sound if played. we can change the order we play them in by starting on a different note instead of 1.• ref g r II 6 . because there are 7 different pitches in the scale. then I started it on 2 and returned to 2. let's look again at a C major scale.J J iJJ I flU C I~N/AN f) f)~'IAN ac:J g I J J a .

7 . and play from D to D using the same notes as C major I will be playing MODE 2.These different starting points are called MODES. Most people know this mode as "major" If I start the scale on D. Each of these modes has a name: Mode Mode Mode Mode Mode Mode Mode 1= Ionian 2 = Dorian 3 = Phrygian 4 = Lydian 5 = Mixolydian 6 = Aeolian 7 = Locrian If I compare this to a C major scale and play from C to C. By now you are probably thinking 'why do I even need to know 7 different modes if the notes are all the same'? It is true that the notes are the same. the second note. because there are 7 different notes in the major scale. I would call this MODE 1. Start on the 3rd note (E) and go from E to E still using the same notes as C major. or the Dorian mode. and 84 different places to start them. You can repeat the process through all of the seven modes. or Ionian. I'm playing Phrygian mode. but the difference is the chord. There are 7 different modes. Since there are 12 major scales and each major scale has seven different modes we now have 84 different scales to worry about! The good news is that there are really only 12 major scales.

This is a Major chord. It sounds like this (AUDIO CLIP 2). you should learn those right now! (Use the circle of 4th. 3 and 10 etc. A chord is when I select the following pitches: 1. if I form and chord over a C major scale I get C. This is the easiest mode to learn. In this audio clip I will play C Major. 2 and 9 are the same. You can hear how different they are.s) You will notice that nearly all of the material for improvising is based in the major scale. From here on out. Let's start with MODE 1.7. This is a basic chord. A. and D Dorian chords side by side. If I just play D Dorian scale.E. Ionian.5. It is THE most important scale to learn! II 8 . the ear can't really tell them apart. If I play them one at a time I get an arpeggio. 3 and 5. F. lets call it Major or 1. If I formed a chord over D Dorian. In jazz. If I go to 15. Notice how I'm emphasizing different pitches than I do when I'm playing a C major chord.3. Now.G.CHORDS A chord is when I take the major scale and select certain notes that are played together. If you do not know your major scales and their key signatures. I can take more pitches and play 1. we typically go up to the 9th degree of the scale: 1.5 and 7. (AUDIO CLIP 3). I can do this all the way up to 13.9. because most of us already know it when we learn our major scales. E. (AUDIO CLIP 4) For beginning improvisers we only need to worry about 3 out of the 7 modes. For this part I will write out a scale in two octaves: 14 is J I~ J J s 2 J j 4 IJ 5 ~ ~ ~ It 9 10 F 11 r 12 j If 1~ rf J II Notice how Note's 1 and 8 are the same (but in octaves). I would have D. C. and C major scale.3. you will see that I'm now repeating pitches. because they are the same notes.B D.

they are not written out. When we improvise jazz. If you see D-7 and G7 over one measure. 9 . but we usually don't have the changes written out for us. the changes are given to us on the page. Chord changes are a part of all music.CHANGES In jazz music where it is necessary to improvise. I am unaware of the chord changes. All music has some sort of chord progression/chord changes. that are moving with the music. If I'm listening to my favorite song by Elvis Presley. This is necessary so we can 'compose' a solo using the correct notes. CA7. it means that chord is to be played over the entire measure. you play D-7 for the first two beats. Here is a typical set of changes: ["AMPLE OF CijOft) CilANQES 0-7 E_7 0-7 C-7 0-7 0_7 I~ E_7 0-7 II You can see that there are different letters and numbers in combinations on the page. If I'm sitting in band class playing the school song. is over an entire measure. I am unaware of chord changes happening in the music. you will find CHORD CHANGES. and G7 for the next two beats. If the symbol.

You'll find that 1 is a very stable note. I will be playing only scales and chords of CA7. 9. When a composer puts CA7 in a measure he intends that you improvise using sounds from a C major scale and chord. (AUDIO CLIP 5). or 13. CMA7. The reason is a little confusing. but also very boring.MAJOR Now let's talk about Major. If you want to go even higher the 11thand the 13thare very colorful. (AUDIO CLIP 7) So. The number that follows means that you can play the chord up to the 7thor 9th or whatever number is there. This is pretty standard. Even though the sharp 11 it is not written in our chord symbol of CA7 we can add it in. but for now we'll just focus on the theory. This particular note does not work well if you just play it and hold it out. Some notes are more 'colorful' and interesting than other notes. The same applies to the 3rd and the s". any of the following can be used. Yo Y. If you are just playing a scale and play the 4thnote. Let's talk about the 11thdegree (the same as the 4th)for a minute. the sound is unsettled. I~ y. 11. Y. This is a #11 or #4 (sharp 11 or sharp 4) chord. (AUDIO CLIP 6) If I play any note in the chord. (AUDIO CLIP 8) 10 . One thing that can be confusing to beginning improvisers is how many different ways exist to write the same thing. When a composer wants you to play C major. Even if a chord doesn't say CA 9. CMaj. All of those can be followed by a 7. The notes that are more interesting are the 7thand the 9th. we can always play it up to the 9th. CMA. you won't notice any problem because it is just a passing tone. Here is an example of what C major scale sounds like over the following song. The most common remedy to this problem is to raise the 4th(or 11th)upl/2 step. =) Here is what the chord to the 9thsounds like. C. Listen to how many ideas I can come up with. When they are played against each other. I see the CA7 and know that I can use the C major scale or the C major chord up to the 13thif I want (watch that 4 and II)! Later we will talk about what to play. Here are some audio examples of some improvising over a CA chord. If I land on the note and 'force' it on you. CM. your ear will disagree. you'll notice that they all sound good. CA.I will use in this book the symbol CA7. but you can remember that it is because there is only ~ step between the 3rd and 4thnotes.

I am in the key of F. but I find that both ways are easiest depending on which key you are in. solving for 1. and play from G to G using the Key of F maj. I know that G is the 2nd note of some major scale. Here is G major and G Dorian: '$. so if we find out the first note then we know what key signature we are in. Remember that there is one whole step in between the 1st and 2nd notes of a major scale. For example: I want a G Dorian scale. f)gIlAN I 5J 7 8 J J The other way to form a Dorian scale is to compare the Dorian to a major scale. J i 2 ! 4 t. F major has one flat. I will go down a whole step from G and find myself on F. the 2nd mode) I can now find out who 1 is.gmN4 Fdt t. and flat 3 and 7. Let's go back and look at our major scale from the first part of the book. I now know that F major is the key I'm using. If I put the note G under the number 2 (remember that we are trying to find G Dorian. In both cases the 3rd and the 7th are lowered YIstep. . my ear recognizes the sound as minor. Here are some of 11 . 12345678. I like to call this flat 3 and flat 7.DORIAN Our next Scale is the Dorian mode (mode 2). I will start on G. Let's figure out how to make a Dorian scale. Most students think that this is the easiest way to form Dorian. If a composer wants you to improvise using a Dorian scale. There are two ways to think about this: the first way is to remember that Dorian is the 2nd note of a major scale. If I hear a scale or chord with a flat 3. We identify the sound of 'Minor' by the flat 3. As we saw earlier Dorian is the 2nd mode. the chord symbol will look like this: D-. j MAtOI r F IE j IE r IJ J tJPllAN 'r) F IE j EE) r You can see that the difference is the 3rd and the 7th notes. There are a lot of ways that a Dorian chord/scale can appear in music. if I take a major scale. We call this D minor. Now. II IN flft GtCgN/)pgGtngN IINCt wt Att /. but we playa Dorian scale over it. Now. In Dorian the B becomes B flat. and the F sharp becomes F natural. You can think of this is algebra. In other words. it will become a Dorian scale.

which means that it is not ~ step away from the 4th. Remember that you can always go up to the 13 even if it is not written in the chord symbol. All of these can be followed by 7 9 11 or 13. Dmin. Dm.11th.the most common: D-.and 13thare more colorful sounds than the 1st. the 7th. The reason is that the 3rd note is lowered ~ step. It is a whole step away! (0). y. You can play I1ths and 4ths and they will sound great! Just like major. 1$ 0-7 11 $I. Here are some audio examples of improvising on a D-7 chord. 51 =) Can you hear that it is a different sound than the major chord? 12 . I will use the song below. (AUDIO CLIP 9) "f) f)~flANG~N4· 1$. we had a special problem with the 4th(11th)note? This is NOT a problem in a Dorian scale. Remember back on the Major chord symbol. The one I will use is D-7.9th. and 5th. 3rd.

We can form Mixolydian in a similar fashion to the Dorian except we need to remember that Mixolydian is the 5th mode. but just has a 7 next to it. The symbol G7 implies that we can playa G Mixolydian scale. Dominant 7thchords will always go at least to the 7th. just don't spend a lot of time on it unless you raise it up Yz step. Notice that this symbol is similar to the major symbol. Remember the chord is 1 3 579. We can always go up to the 13th. I'm playing in the key of C major. we should raise the note Yz step. I know that G is the 5thnote (because it is the 5thmode we are looking for). The second way to find Mixolydian is to compare it to a major scale. Mixolydian will use the following chord symbols: G7 G9 GIl G13. In the case of G Mixolydian.- ~7 13 . This is the best way to form Mixolydian. Remember that when we use the 11th(4th)as part of the chord or scale and wish to play this note for a long time. Just take a major scale and lower the 7thnote Yz stepflat 7! When a composer wants you to use a Mixolydian mode.MIXOLYDIAN The last chord I want to talk about is the 5thmode. It's ok to play the 4thas a passing tone. or G Mixolydian (dominant 7th)chord. Once I have found 1. J I~ MAjO/ j r F IF F ir r IJ j Ml1f4J. I know what key I'm playing in. In the following example I will improvise over G7. Just follow the same procedure that we used for Major. Let's do an example of G Mixolydian.no sharps and no flats! I should also note that another name for Mixolydian is 'Dominant 7th.Mixolydian. The flat 7 sound is what makes the chord dominant 7th. I put Gunder 5 and then go down to find 1. YD/AN r F IF F ~r) r Note that the only difference is that Mixolydian has a flat 7 compared to major. (AUDIO CLIP 10) "4 M/1f4LY#IANS4N4" I. he will use the following symbol: G7..

1) Q_7 (ji) Q7 E_7 .MODE REVIEW Now for a review.CO. 0-7 q7 I. Just play the major scale and chord that it says. Major and Mixolydian.eo. E_7 ~ D_7 q7 :) 14 . Mixolydian is the sth mode and looks like this: G7. In most improvisation we use three chord symbols. (Remember that the actual chord symbol can be anyone of the notes. Dorian. The symbol we'll use is D-7. 1 C-7 !( 0-7 0-7 q7 . Dorian is the 2nd mode and is formed by either going down one whole step and using that key. or taking a Major scale and lowering the 3rd and the 7th by ~ step. 'THE 2-5-1 rUNE" 1. Major is the first mode (Ionian) and looks like this: CA7._ 1 . Q) 6) CA7 i< E_7 6.not just D).i. To form Mixolydian (dominant 7th) just take a major scale and lower the 7th note ~ step (flat 7). All three of these can have chords that go up to the 13th• Just make sure that on Major and Mixolydian you raise the 4th and 11th ~ step if you plan on sitting on them very long! Ii V7 I Now let's take a look at a song that uses our three chord symbols.

Most players don't limit the options to one or the other. If I just use the scales. Remember that the most interesting and colorful notes are the upper extensions of the chord.E r).1 E"AMPL. Now looking at our song we can see that we start out with a CA. one bar of the V7 chord. The second example will focus on the 7 9 and 11. I'm not really switching anything. I can approach my solo in a more intelligent way. I'm not using some of the great sounds that I can get out of the upper extensions of each chord.1 Nmct IIdfIJ I'M 11IIr l/G/N4rllt GAMtGCAUfdl ttmrlllN4 I'm not really thinking about any specific chords. then the 5th mode. When you are playing over the ii V7 I progression keep in mind that all three chords are using the exact same key signature. then the 1st mode.E . 15 . Another way to look at this is the 2nd mode. We can choose to use the major scale as our basis. When you see this progression it is usually one bar of the ii chord. or we can use a combination of both. and is called a ii V7 I progression. If I examine most songs. In this example I will use the upper chord tones of the ii V7 I. two beats of the V7 chord. In this example I will just start playing in the key of the ii V7 I using one scale only. I can think about just one scale! By doing this however. Most songs have some form of ii V7 I progression in them. If I know this. Now look at measures 4 and 5. Use lower case to indicate minor.. and two bars of the I chord. Listen to this example of the first few measures.You can see in a number of spots that the Dorian is followed by the Mixolydian which is followed by the Major. (AUDIO CLIP 11) You should be able to hear the color in the second example. Better players will try to follow each chord. You can hear that this technique works very well. It is common to use Roman numeral to write this out. or we can choose to use the chord as our basis. Here we can see a ii V7 I. This is very common.7chord symbol. Another common way is to have two beats of the ii chord. I can usually find a number of chords that are sharing the same key signature. Instead of thinking about three different chords of the ii V7 I.2 0-1 You can hear that I'm actually switching chords with the piano and bass. The first example will focus on the chord using the 1 3 and 5. (AUDIO CLIP 13) II 1/71 E"AMPL. (AUDIO CLIP 12) II v7. and four beats of the I chord.

Turn on the music and listen to the changes go by. Now. (AUDIO CLIP 25) 0-7 C-7 C-7 C-7 F7 0-7 C-7 II 16 . just stop and listen for a minute. try to improvise over the changes. If you do get lost.PRACTICE SONGS Now it's your turn to practice. Try to keep track of the changes so you don't get lost. Start with simple ideas that involve the scales and the chords. I've written the scales in on some of the chords to help you out. Find the music for your instrument on the pages below.

~A7 8-7 A-7 07 ~_7 11-7 qA7 8-7 07 ~A7 II 17 . j. I.1 E_7 0-' 0-7 0-7 E_7 0.) ..7 I.3 17 C: C.'. I. J .. I.FO~ TeUMPETS ANO TENO~ SA'lCOPHONES • JJ.

iHIS IS FO~ BASS CLEFINST~UMENTS 19' iIJ'J Q err trl jI. 0-7 19: 19' C-' 0-' C-7 18 .

V7 chord). This scales works very well over a V7 chord.£ - II It is really just a Mixolydian scale on top of a Major scale. Here is what it looks like. I know that this chord is really in the key of C Major. Now. I will see that G7 is the five chord and D-7 is the two chord. When using this scale it really sounds nice when it descends. (AUDIO CLIP 16) It works very well over both. If I see a D-7 chord in the music. (AUDIO CLIP 14) If I use the bebop scale over a Dominant 7 chord. This is because what works over the V7 chord works over the ii chord (they share the same key!) Now. (Remember that C Major is the 1stmode and G Mixolydian is the 5thmode. Now here is the same bebop scale over a G7 chord. The trick is to find the Dorian (ii chord) that fits with the Dominant (Mixolydian. HEtt IG rlltiE6CP GtAl. I can find the corresponding Mixolydian and use that bebop scale. It contains both the regular 7thand the flat ih. Listen to this example. when I see any ii chord in music (Dorian). For example. if I remember that chords like to form a ii V7 relationship. if I see a G7 chord. I can also use it over a Dorian. The ii V7 relationship is strong! (This also applies to ii V7 I ) 19 . Here is an example of the bebop scale over a D-7 (AUDIO CLIP 15). This scale is called the 'Bebop scale'.BEBOP SCALE Let's talk about another scale that can be used over the dominant 7thchord. I can use a G bebop scale over it.

r F r II Now for some examples of how this sounds. you will play the pentatonic based on the 3rd note of the Dorian scale. and the 7thtends to define a chord like dominant 7thhas a flat 7 and major has a regular 7. This is a five note scale. This scale is very useful because it doesn't contain a 4thor a 7th. (AUDIO CLIP 17) Here I will improvise over a CA7 chord using the pentatonic scale. 8 F - - II If you take a major scale and use the 1 235 and 6 of the chord. I would not want to build it based on the 1 of a Dorian. just pick the pentatonic that shares the same name. (AUDIO CLIP 19) Remember over Dorian. The 4th can be problematic. playing pentatonic over a Dorian is somewhat different. If you want to use Pentatonic over C7. 20 . It is best to use it with some other scales and chords we have talked about.PENTATONIC SCALE Next we'll add another scale to our arsenal. By using the pentatonic scale I avoid these issues. use C pentatonic. Here. The 3rd note is F natural. the same scale works for both major and dominant. then pick the C pentatonic scale. (Remember it is the pentatonic that begins with C) Here I will improvise over a G7 chord using the G pentatonic. This one is called the pentatonic scale. The word "penta" means five. Now. I will build my pentatonic on F. (AUDIO CLIP 18) Finally I will improvise over a D-7 chord using the F pentatonic. then you get the pentatonic scale. You would not want to use pentatonics exclusively while improvising. so the scale is F G A C D. For C Major. Remember that since it doesn't have the 7th. If you want to play pentatonic over a Major scale. I pick the pentatonic based on the 3rd note of the Dorian scale. For example: if I have a D-7 the notes are D E F GAB C D.

A 'C blues scale' looks like this: I~ J 1 ~J h J 4 #4 fJ IJ 5 ~r ~1 r J II ~"EG GCALE The blues scale has a very interesting and 'earthy' sound that is very attractive to improvisers. There are 12 blues scales. One of the best places to use a blues scale is over a form called "The blues" The Blues have been around for years. and have many different forms. '8 FLAT SLUES' Foe 'C'IHtiTWMEHTS E~7 F7 E~7 21 . one for each major. but the most basic form looks like this.THE BLUES Now let's talk about the Blues scale and its usage. Blues scale is formed like this 1 b3 4 #4 5 b7 8.

since we have a song full ofV7 chords. the Bb7 chord corresponds with the F-7 chord. the chords. It will quickly become boring to the listener. To also mix things up. You can hear that all notes of this scale seem to work over all of the chords in a blues. Here is an example of a solo using all of these elements. Only the F7 is really functioning as a Dominant ih chord in the truest form of the definition. So the form is I IV I V7 IV I V7. The blues example here is called Bb blues. A better way is to mix the Dominant 7thmaterial. Here is an example of how the Blues sounds improvising over the entire song with the Blues scale. One of the things that make Blues so appealing to beginning improvisers is the ability to use the Blues scale over the entire song without worrying about the chord changes. This is followed by a Eb7. and use a Bb blues scale over the entire song. This includes the Mixolydian scale. (AUDIO CLIP 20) If the Blues I'm playing is 'F blues' then I would select the F blues scale. the Chord (1 3 5 7 9). the Bebop scale. and the Pentatonic scale. For example. So you can use the F Dorian chord as a way to introduce different sounds in the song. Since this is a beginning book. This is not the ideal way to improvise over Blues. In our example of Bb blues. (AUDIO CLIP 21) 22 . in this case Bb7. because it is in the key of Concert Bb. Please see the chart at the end of the book for a reference chart to ii V7 I to help you figure out which chords relate to each other. I won't get into that too much. The Eb7 is a IV chord and the F7 is the V7 chord. This is a little confusing since all three are dominant 7thchords.Notice that it is a 12 bar form consisting of three different chords. Note how the first chord is Bb7. we can find out what the corresponding Dorian is to each of the Mixolydians that we are using. the Bebop scale and corresponding Dorian material with the blues. we can use all of the material that we would normally use over a dominant. All three of the chords are V7 chords. Ifwe put numbers on the chords we would call the Bb7 a I chord. we look for the 'I' chord of the song. Now.

J J J ~ Q7 E j r: t I F7 C7 Q7 II 23 . I. ~J J Jj3 it: ek ~. E~7 E~7 F7 II 'S FLA1'Sl.UES' For'S FLA1"·IN'1'fUMEN1" I.Now it's your turn to try the blues! (repeat as needed) Pick the song for your instrument: (AUDIO CLIP 26) 'S FLA1'Sl.UES' FOf 'C'INS1'fUMEN1" y.

'S FLAT Sl.U£S' FOg SASS em INSTfUM£HTS 19: 19: 19: S~7 E~7 E~1 24 .U£S' FOg 'E FLAT' IHSTfUM£NTS I ~ 0' C7 1 1 g7 's FLAT Sl.

you can use whatever you want! Keep in mind that when you are soloing it is very similar to a tree growing. What sets some apart is HOW they put the notes into a song. it should make sense. If I form my solo thinking of a four bar phrase.PUTTING IT TOGETHER Up till now we have focused on the notes that we can play. but not in any way that is musical. Another great key is Repetition. I see the tree forming from the bottom up. you'll find that nearly all can be played simply by knowing the three modes that we've looked at. Since you are the soloist. or I can change the notes. Another thing that doesn't work well is large skips all over the place. (AUDIO CLIP 22) Now I will put those notes in ways that make sense musically. If you look through most songs. you might consider playing it again and maybe again. the majority of 'stuff is running eighth notes. Some skips and jumps are good. Some great places to get variety. You can also look for rhythms from the melody of the song. (AUDIO CLIP 23) Notice how I connect the notes so that the line I'm forming sounds like a complete phrase. Another great tool is to change the lick. Just make sure that it seems to connect some how. If I come up with something nice I can repeat it exactly. It doesn't matter who the player is: ALL players have the same number of notes available to them. Now let's focus on ways to put the notes together to form meaningful solos. and then the roots and then some leaves. The first thing to consider is continuity. or composing a solo as you go along. This means 'do your solo lines make musical sense'? Here is an example of a solo that does not make sense. I'm more likely to have some connection with the notes. 25 . The solo has to start at some point. phrases often come in 2. This doesn't mean that you can't mix things up in a solo. but too many seem to make a disorganized solo. 4 or 8 bar lengths. is from what you hear other players using. and then grow in whatever direction you want. but for the most part. Ifl plant a peach tree. You will see that in music. The rhythmic variety is what breaks up the eights and creates interest. Seek out the best improvisers on any instrument and listen to their rhythms. or I can change the rhythms. OK. Here are some examples of this. I don't expect to see the top branches growing. I will play all of the correct notes. we have the notes let's get to work. If you playa great lick. You can use rhythms from other songs too. When improvising you have to keep in mind that you are actually making up a solo. (AUDIO CLIP 24) Another great idea is to use rhythmic variety throughout the solo. We need to keep in mind things that a composer would use when writing music.you'll find some that you really dig! You'll find that for most solos. This is often a great resource for ideas. and it really sounded good.

I would start with Volume 54 "Maiden Voyage". Each album comes with the changes and melodies transposed for all instruments. You pop in the CD a practice improvising to the CD.jazzbooks. This album will give you a chance to play along with some great tunes. The books contain a CD that has a real rhythm section. My favorite is anything from the Jamey Aebersold library. He has well over 100 different albums out for purchase. Jamey's website is: www. The "Blues in 12 keys" album is another great choice. 26 .RESOURCES There is a lot of material available to allow you to practice these principles. with great players.com.

.drfc drte f E I E7 A7 ~ ~ ~ I~ . e al~tr f)A7. J J JEle SFIJJJ'9 E eF r I 0-7...J. JlA]..Ide f!F~tr~li~UOr.JA] de f MllCO~ YDIAII MODE AU OU Fi_7S-7 rife crIE Ie r . J.•. JP J nlj:er IJJ.4).-1 Q_7 E_7 Fire U c'eerl.. AND CHARTS The following sections is to be used a reference to help you learn your scales.AY 1'IIE'EIS 1IJft1'1'EN II~1' 1'0 EACH) Cl>7 •• • • I.iJiJ iJ it!r && I. Modes and ii V I progressions. drl 1 I. EA7 JIJ. ide clF'c eke 'f I.73dr: r r 'Ltis r (IE c:r Ii U.JAjiJ~ECf'FI SA7 . c~rE. MA1Of'C~f:S (TilE CIIO~ SYM!O~ 1'0 9I.J..J AA7 OA7 Q~A7 I.JiJ:la'd. •..jrtJ~.•. r• .] E mE rI 27 .QA7 •.:t I.S ALma 07 Q7 Ii].E~A7 I.CHORDS.JiJ J iJi(ie && 1.frlE'e!r E I de'!! rl t de r dr tC.i~ir: at liJiatiJiiI~~ef~FIE!r. A~A7 JA::lJJJ JCI 0~l>7 Fl>7 •. • ••• A-7 ~ I. SCALES.•.• .J:9 OO'JlAIIMoDE rcfUI I. i~iriF'r~( r ~C'f .3 aide dF I.

I AA7 A7 0~A7 rj7"U Q~A7 Q~7 E~_7 "A7 .INE%)IN THE SECTION ON PLAYINOtTHE SLUES) f117 .: r Y.rnJ rI_7 F-7 J I~'e r tr/clr. .1$ i.I l' 1$ JiJ JfUmer I ill ..:'r4et. I.JtJlW'drrrir 'I 1$ JiJI"drr'rr ~ ~ ~ S!.J3crifr .drr . /.Ji.~~tr~lij!lJGiiririrIFir ll. QU rJA7 IErf..JJ:lcrdrr: .7 fII_7 E7 1$ ifU.J]'~.7 drwtrlrt'rt * I ~ .ft r'tr.LLCHO~ It.. Iasf. I . lilwJ ii 'dr. . E_7 J AilE WJl!IfT'EN TO THE 9TH) 1$ I I$~U F7 CA7 I~I I&~H F-7 C7 I~~I f)A7 10 f)7 I~I 1~1 28 .O~7 F#7 . I u'rrd.~a. tJ a • liEtE k a't l' I'r'j'dtte'v ~r I PENTATONIC SCALES ~~A7 f117 1$ 'tif EA7 rI..UES SCALES LUSESLUES SCALE AS OUTI. IJH'J ~ C-7 FA? 07"_7 QA7 Q7 . MA1011CHOiOS (. I jJ.

sU I•• .~ ~~A7 ~~7 I~t' S7 li~t~l I I•• E7 If" ijt!." IIA1 I~~~I A~_7 E~7 I.~&tO ~u (17 I&~. AA7 S-7 1.' A7 I~I IfI ~A7 A-7 07 l.fO ~7 ~_7 I$~n 0-7 II I~~l II 29 .Wt 1.'1 I'M C)A7 I.

~ 12'lira J~ iere&: I'cle r.l!e f ~ I m A7· D7~7 30 .r:ltrfr rEI f 87 12' de 'rsrfr:t fj IJJtO J de. r e fEltfCC.J.t Ire A~A7 • •. a~A7 CA7 ..del( E7 •.I ~... r. 8A7 DOIIAlil MODE 12' IS .7. 8~A7 E~A7 . ~ .trn'EkI~.r~r~r'cT~t rltlt I. J JfiJ e e r~rliU ttJE Eel ..J 13P'!!1v'clrlldcJdr Pf 'ctr~tIklc r (Irk tr IJ.~re iCr~rl~e:'ricr~e I ~~A7 .Jp"3fj'E Ie.E IClAlilTTElil IIIE'JIT TO EACH) 12' e:e r me:j r:. I 01( . A~7 D~7 Ft7 fir IJ. 8- 7 LF I MllCOL YDIAIiI MODE 12'IJrJ JQ.e.MAlO~. FA7 r~r t t HIi.••• .r. SCALES (THE CHm CYIo1SQL TQ PLAY TIIEC.rtf I J.uJJJ'dc A~. .7 aU Ft.

rrtfl 07 $.J.I 12' drtlJ'ltifr1~tli.H1cJ J IE ctrEC.r'rf Ell7 E7 OU 1~5irE'F'dt.'15fEJ~tt..12'dr'rr&C+f.U AS OUT~INEO IN THE SECTION ON P1. ..• ~ 8MS7 A~_7 J IiJ.tl JJ.1 E7 .sdrrtcr J IgytS(rjljlrt llmrE£firt'. S~UES·SCALES (USE SLUES SC..J IS. lkt!citJ EJb9r I'C. •• A7 •• • . F_7 191&g 31 .7 ..~HjS::41ll All' A7QU 0117 f- 7.f'Ic:~rt€~rJi (r PENTATONleSCALES ••1 A~1l7 *7 F_7 0~1l7 0~7 B~·7 Q~1l7 Q~7 12'i~Vj~df.b.7 Qll7 Q7 E..·b~r~f~~i I r'c cl.J !?' ~ktr.AYINQTHE SLUES) 07 I'ee ttl! dr' 1 ~rk i.Q7 . 1'C:~Fkc·€l1J lija. ! ! 12'" e~tlt~fti rl~c!r·rlr'er·f!I'LCt~'tP·i'lcrL1tg.

067 I' 07 I I I I II 32 . .7 A~7 fI-' E~7 I~I PI_7 1?'&tO 1~&tO 1&~&tO Q~l>.0 I~U I.·t QU I~~' ~r1_7 I~tl I~~'I 10:~~t!. I"•• 867 I'•• 87 I'·!.lo:~~~i A~l>. 8-7 A7 1\--7 10'.7 I~~I Q~7 '67 I.

e.AbA7 DbA7 GbA7 CbA7 BA7 EA7 AA7 DA7 GA7 CA7 FA7 33 .ii V71 CHART This chart can be used as a reference to see how 2-5-1 chords compare to each other. You should practice the scales in order: i. This way you will start to recognize how the 2-5-1 scales fit together. II •• (Dorian) C-7 F-7 Bb-7 Eb-7 Ab-7 Db-7 C#-7 F#-7 B-7 E-7 A-7 D-7 G-7 V7 (Mixolydian) F7 Bb7 Eb7 Ab7 Db7 Gb7 F#7 B7 E7 A7 D7 G7 C7 I (Major) BbA7 EbA7 . play C-7 then F7 then DbA 7.

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