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#1728927 - 08/08/11 05:14 PM Bebop scale important question
36251 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 724
You use bebop scale so the downbeats can be chord tones. A lot of the exercises use scale motion but when you are soloing and you use arpeggios and starting and stopping at different places in the measure and the chords are constantly changing, and it's a quick tempo...How do you keep track of all this and know when to add the extra note cause you started on a chord tone or not use it cause you started on a non-chord tone?

Bottom line, How do you take your practice and bring it to your performance? Please don't limit answers to learn to listen better, practice more. I'd love to have some useful tips to improve that have worked.

Anyone out there???

thanks
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#1728981 - 08/08/11 06:41 PM Re: Bebop scale important question [Re: 36251]
Hidden son of Teddy Wilson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/09
Posts: 110
Originally Posted By: 36251

You use bebop scale so the downbeats can be chord tones.


I keep reading this everywhere the bebop scale is discussed. Yes, it's true....IF you play a scale from start to finish starting at the beginning of a bar. So I don't think it's that relevant in real life solos.

For me, the extra notes in the bebop scale are just passing tones that I tend to use more often than other passing tones.

But for example, I use the b3 on a major scale (Eb on C major) a lot as a passing tone, probably as much as the b6, and that b3 is not in the bebop scale.


Originally Posted By: 36251

A lot of the exercises use scale motion but when you are soloing and you use arpeggios and starting and stopping at different places in the measure and the chords are constantly changing, and it's a quick tempo...


Exactly. I don't think in terms of "the bebop scale", but rather in terms of tones that I can use (chord tones), and all others are potential passing tones.

(But what do I know ... I'm not the greatest theorist out there!)

Not to mention that this applies if you're playing 8th notes, but what if you're mixing 8th and triplets ?

Originally Posted By: 36251

How do you keep track of all this and know when to add the extra note cause you started on a chord tone or not use it cause you started on a non-chord tone?


You sound like you have an accounting approach, as if you're calculating if you're on a chord tone and calculating whether you're going to have to add the extra note so the next chord tone falls on a downbeat. Well, I don't think in those terms at all, and I don't think it's that important.

I tend to vaguely aim for a certain chord tones at a certain place (like targeting the major third), and adding passing tones along the way as needed but I don't really overthink that chord-tone-on-downbeat thing too much. Maybe I'm lucky?

Originally Posted By: 36251

Bottom line, How do you take your practice and bring it to your performance? Please don't limit answers to learn to listen better, practice more. I'd love to have some useful tips to improve that have worked.


I wouldn't think in terms of "the bebop scale".

This is what I've done in the past (YMMV) :
Pratice phrases that sound nice, in all keys.
Practice connecting phrases over different chords.
Practice playing phrases where you don't know where you're
going at all and you have to figure out what to do in real time.

So, yes... practice more ! (sorry smile )

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#1729004 - 08/08/11 07:42 PM Re: Bebop scale important question [Re: 36251]
custard apple Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/09
Posts: 2297
Loc: Sydney
I agree with Hidden Son.
Rely on your ears - does the phrase sound good or not ? You will be far too busy when improvising to worry about chord tones on downbeats IMO.
With a dominant chord in particular, it will take any type of note.

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#1729030 - 08/08/11 08:23 PM Re: Bebop scale important question [Re: 36251]
KlinkKlonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 355
I wouldn't worry too much with the bebop scale. You can use any passing note. Start with guidetone lines. Connect the thirds and seventh of each chord ascending and descending. One bar of G7 to C for example ascending from the seventh of the G7 to the third of C: F F# G A B C D D# and E on the C.
Check out Bert Ligon's connecting chords with linear harmony.

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#1729051 - 08/08/11 09:01 PM Re: Bebop scale important question [Re: KlinkKlonk]
36251 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 724
Good answers. I phrased my questions to try to show that thinking bebop scale works the best in a vacuum. Still there are greats like David Baker and Barry Harris who think it's vital.
when I practice using them I love the way they sound. The more people who explain why they use them or never think of them can only help my playing.

I do think Bert Ligon's concepts are great. He was the first I can remember to make a distinction between the 3rd and 7th. How I wish I had him as my first teacher 40+ years ago. I look back to many teachers who gave out little info and lots of busy work.
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#1729282 - 08/09/11 08:44 AM Re: Bebop scale important question [Re: 36251]
beeboss Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/18/09
Posts: 1194
Loc: uk south
It is vital to be able to modify scales with additional notes in order to make pleasing lines. The extra notes can be added to help you land on a target note on the beat that you desire or for many other reasons. It doesn't much matter how you label or think about these extra notes, chromatic passing notes or bebop scale etc, but it is important to be able to bring them into your improvisation.
I recommend practicing a major scale with all the possible chromatic passing tones
ie C major scale with an added Db, or added Eb, Gb, Ab, Bb etc
After they get in your ears and fingers you will find your own way to use them
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#1729525 - 08/09/11 04:45 PM Re: Bebop scale important question [Re: beeboss]
36251 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 724
Originally Posted By: beeboss
It is vital to be able to modify scales with additional notes in order to make pleasing lines. The extra notes can be added to help you land on a target note on the beat that you desire or for many other reasons. It doesn't much matter how you label or think about these extra notes, chromatic passing notes or bebop scale etc, but it is important to be able to bring them into your improvisation.
I recommend practicing a major scale with all the possible chromatic passing tones
ie C major scale with an added Db, or added Eb, Gb, Ab, Bb etc
After they get in your ears and fingers you will find your own way to use them
Thanks for chiming in. I'm a fan of your playing on YouTube. I transcribed part of Dewey Square which I don't think you still have posted. It was your chromatic phrase at bar 9,10 and 11 over EbM7 to Ab-7Db7 to G-7 that inspired me. I got to the 24th bar of second chorus and felt there was more than enough great stuff to work with - thanks
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#1729591 - 08/09/11 06:30 PM Re: Bebop scale important question [Re: 36251]
beeboss Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/18/09
Posts: 1194
Loc: uk south
Thank you very much 36251
I had no idea anybody would ever transcribe something I played, the thought makes me feel kinda weird.
Anyway glad you enjoyed it.
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#1729608 - 08/09/11 06:57 PM Re: Bebop scale important question [Re: beeboss]
JamesPlaysPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 118
I agree with what others have said so far. Here's my 2 cents extra:

The scale provides a great "explanation" of why certain phrases sound great. You can analyze great piano lines, horn lines, etc. and use the scale to show "why" it works. The various bebop scales "fix" the "problem" of the fact that the regular diatonic modes are only 7 notes, by strategically providing passing tones in-between two notes that will both work as stronger tones. This provides an 8-note scale that sets up a "strong-weak-strong-weak" flow, which matches up nicely with strong and weak 8th notes in a bebop context.

Blah blah blah! Now, what can you do about it?

I'd like to suggest a small variant of "just practice more!" but hopefully one with something more tangible to do. Using the bebop scales the "right" way really amounts to developing the natural tendency of using chromaticism in a way that works out well rhythmically. Another way of saying you're trying to develop a "tendency" is saying that you're trying to "force a habit." "Forcing a habit" is what learning licks is all about! So my suggestion would be to find one (or ten!) line(s) that are great examples of using a bebop scale "the right way," and then I'd do the usual drill that one does with learning licks: learn it in all 12 keys, then "force" yourself to insert it into specific places into your soloing (such as "I will play that line in bar 5 of the 12-bar blues.") Such intentional practice will seem very artificial at first, and it may seem very "un-you." However, the beauty of it is that, the more you do, the more natural it all becomes, and the more you feel a real sense of ownership of what you're playing. Soon you're creating variations, mixing-and-matching, and after a while it's something you can just "do." I can assure you that it goes well-beyond just whatever lick you're learning, too. That is, learning 5 great bebop licks will do much more than just allow you to play 5 licks. It will develop your own tendency, that much more, for being able to improvise your own sounds along similar lines.

Hope that makes sense!

-James





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http://www.BetterPiano.com - A Resource for FREE Piano Goodies!
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#1730184 - 08/10/11 04:14 PM Re: Bebop scale important question [Re: 36251]
DaveRobertsJazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/08/09
Posts: 74
Much more important than following or worrying about scales is trying to play something interesting. When I solo I might try to play off of the melody, especially if it has unique characteristics. Another tune might have interesting chord combinations that suggest melodic lines that I'll pursue.

But mostly I focus on playing musical phrases that I then play around with, repeating them up and down the keyboard, varying the length of the phrase, repeating notes, throwing in ascending and descending runs for variety, playing on the beat, ahead of the beat, behind the beat, keeping it flowing and logical, whatever makes sense in the moment.

In short, the key is to try play something that has musical meaning for you and (hopefully) the listener. Getting hung up on when to add an extra note or when to hit a chord tone, only gets in the way of that rather than helping it. If you're playing something interesting, nothing else really matters, in my opinion.

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#1730404 - 08/10/11 09:52 PM Re: Bebop scale important question [Re: 36251]
Hidden son of Teddy Wilson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/09
Posts: 110
James & Dave have great advice there (that I, too, need to be reminded of every so often, so thanks guys).

I would add that that's why it's important to analyze phrases that you think sound good. You might find that they sound good to you for reasons that have little to do with chords tones on the beats.

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#1734783 - 08/17/11 12:44 AM Re: Bebop scale important question [Re: 36251]
ado Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 94
Loc: france
When I learned the bebop scale ,I found out that I have been using those extra notes in my improvising already for a long time somehow.
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ado

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#1734825 - 08/17/11 02:55 AM Re: Bebop scale important question [Re: 36251]
Rollin shoulders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/16/11
Posts: 51
Loc: WNY
Since it's Jazz, can't you imply the bebop scale notes whenever you felt like?
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#1737213 - 08/20/11 02:03 PM Re: Bebop scale important question [Re: Rollin shoulders]
JamesPlaysPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 118
Originally Posted By: Rollin shoulders
Since it's Jazz, can't you imply the bebop scale notes whenever you felt like?


In essence, yes! I'd say there are some musical contexts where it might generally feel a little more appropriate than others, but overall, the bebop scales are all about a particular kind of chromaticism, and chromaticism is more or less "welcome" in most contexts.

Moreover (this might be what your comment was really about) you certainly don't have to use an *entire* bebop scale, or do anything else that says "I am now playing exclusively from the such-and-such bebop scale." When you understand the particular chromatic motions that each scale is really "justifying," then you can certainly think of just adding that motion to some other scale or context.

For example, the major bebop scale "justifies" using chromaticism between scale degrees 5-#5-6. Meanwhile, say you're playing a really slow, heavy blues-type tune. Overall, that might call for more of the blues scale. Yet, you could easily play a line that is mostly blues scale but with a 5-#5-6 slipped in. You do get a subtly different sound when you do this, and you should be aware of that, but still it wouldn't be "offensive" to most people's ears, and could be made to "fit" that musical context just fine.

-James


-----------------------------------------------------
James Dering
http://www.BetterPiano.com - A Resource for FREE Piano Goodies!
-----------------------------------------------------
_________________________
Facebook groups: Jazz Piano Chat Blues Piano Chat Pop Piano Chat
Learn to play on YouTube: The Pretty Pop Piano Thingy

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