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#2320051 - 08/26/14 06:20 AM For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales
pbluesman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/08/10
Posts: 17
Hi,

I'm currently learning the Jazz Standard "For Heavens Sake" and I was just wondering if somebody could clarify if I'm using appropriate scales for improvisation, or if you could suggest more suitable alternatives. I find it a bit confusing because it looks like a minor 2-5 to major 1 which I haven't come across before (I've not been playing Jazz very long).

The chart I'm working with is in F major. The first four bars are as follows:

G-7b5 C7b9 / FMaj7 D7b9 / G-7b5 C7b9 / FMaj7 F7

The scales I am currently using:

G-7b5 - G Locrian #2 (Bb melodic Minor)
C7b9 - C Aux. Diminished (Db Diminished)
FMaj7 - F Major
D7b9 (voice this with b13 also as its in the melody) - D Altered (Eb Melodic Minor)

If somebody with more experience wouldn't mind taking a look at this I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks in advance!

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#2320086 - 08/26/14 08:32 AM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 661
Loc: Leicester, UK
Bill Evans has a great recording of that on Trio 64.

http://vimeo.com/m/46935462

Maybe take a listen and sit at the piano with it? You'll be getting BE's answer to your question. ... That's one way to do it ...

...iim7b5 rather than iim7 is common in jazz and often interchangeable and vice versa. Night and Day can have the same progression.

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#2320096 - 08/26/14 08:57 AM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
pbluesman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/08/10
Posts: 17
Hey Mark,

Thanks for the reply. I will definitely take a look at the Bill Evans version you directed me to when i'm home from work.

Regarding the iim7b5, I think the melody at this point is a Db, hence the b5.

Would you still treat this as a minor 2-5 when improvising even though technically its resolving to major?

I'm also a bit confused about why an altered scale would be suggested for D7(b9b13) when the altered scale doesn't contain the natural 5? Is it just that the 5th degree is largely insignificant in terms of the overall tonality?

Thanks again.

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#2320105 - 08/26/14 09:28 AM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
JazzPianoOnline Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/07
Posts: 91
Loc: raleigh, nc
chordscales won't help you improvise! you need to know how to build strong melodic lines.

instead of running chordscales think of playing chord tones on strong beats (1 and 3 in 4/4 time) and extending lines from them using arpeggios, chordscales and approach patterns.

improvisation is about constructing strong melodies. chordscales alone don't really help. to make an analogy, knowing the alphabet doesn't necessarily help you build words. you need to know how to use the alphabet to form words and then how to use the words in meaningful ways.

same thing with music: you need to place chord tones on strong beats so that melody aligns with the harmony. you need to elaborate that melodic backbone with arpeggios, chordscales and approach patterns. (so chordscales are, really, just 1/4 of the story when it comes to imrpov).

and probably the most important of all the components of a strong melody is approach patterns (chromatic and scalar passing tones) which serve to delay resolution and add chromaticism to your lines.

i've got many lessons about this on my site and you can find several good books on this concept too: bert ligon connecting chords with linear harmony, shelly berg the goal note method, jimmy amadie jazz improv how to play it and teach it and ray santisi berklee jazz piano.

write to me if you need more help.
_________________________
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bill@jazzpianoonline.com
www.JazzPianoOnline.com

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#2320110 - 08/26/14 09:47 AM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
pbluesman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/08/10
Posts: 17
Hi JazzPianoOnline,

I have played blues piano for quite a number of years now and so I am already quite capable when it comes to improvising and don't necessarily need help in terms of how to improvise, place chord tones on strong beats etc. That wasn't really what my post was about. I'm asking more from a theory stand point. Also, thanks for the offer but i'm not looking to pay to sign up to an online site.

I am approaching this with chord scales because from previous experience they help me identify with the different sounds that can be produced and I have always found this personally quite an effective method of internalising these sounds and the relationships between the various notes and extensions.

Thanks for your input all the same.

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#2320131 - 08/26/14 10:31 AM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
Cudo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 135
Loc: Heidelberg, Germany
Originally Posted By: pbluesman
I find it a bit confusing because it looks like a minor 2-5 to major 1 which I haven't come across before

IIm7(b5) and V7(b9,b13) chords used in a major tonality context are called modal interchange chords.
Another example would be Fm7 Bb7 in a C major context. These chords are borrowed from a parallel mode.
The most used modal interchange chords in a major tonality come from the parallel natural minor.

In case of IIm7(b5) in a major surrounding you could use MM6 as a chordscale. Some people call that scale also Locrian 2.
C7b9 would take HM5.

Of course JazzPianoOnline is right when he is postulating that chordscales are just basic and improvising needs a lot of additional knowledge like approach technique and others.


Edited by Cudo (08/26/14 10:31 AM)

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#2320136 - 08/26/14 10:42 AM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: Cudo]
pbluesman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/08/10
Posts: 17
Hi Cudo,

Thanks for the information. What does HM5 stand for? Harmonic Minor?

Originally Posted By: Cudo

Of course JazzPianoOnline is right when he is postulating that chordscales are just basic and improvising needs a lot of additional knowledge like approach technique and others.


Completely agree, however you've got to at least learn one thing before you can learn "additional knowledge". There's no doubt that the more different techniques, approaches etc you can learn the more tools you will have at your disposal to create interesting lines. But you can't learn to do everything at once, I need to spend a bit of time familiarising myself with tool number 1 first! grin

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#2320142 - 08/26/14 10:56 AM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
Cudo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 135
Loc: Heidelberg, Germany
Originally Posted By: pbluesman
What does HM5 stand for? Harmonic Minor?


Yes, Harmonic Minor starting on its 5. degree.


Edited by Cudo (08/26/14 11:01 AM)

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#2320151 - 08/26/14 11:12 AM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
KlinkKlonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 364
It´s really not uncommon. More tunes with this resolution that I can think of right now: What is this thing called love, All of you, I hear a rhapsody, I love you, Woody'n you, One finger snap, In your own sweet way, Stella by starlight, Alone together, Once I loved, Peace. I´d say that is also what makes them fun tunes to play, the ambiguity in tonality at places.

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#2320198 - 08/26/14 12:53 PM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 630
Loc: Chicago
I'll leave the technical stuff to others, but when I play a half diminished chord, followed by an altered dominant and then landing on a major 7, I think of it as a surprise. You ear is thinking one thing will happen, but another happens. Then, the question is, how abrupt to you want the surprise to be?

What do I mean by this nonsense? Well, I'll always play locrian #2 on the half diminished, but then I've got options on the dominant chord. If I want an abrupt surprise, I'll play the altered scale (melodic minor half step up) on the dominant, which really sounds like I'm going to a minor chord. If I want a bit less of surprise, I'll play the diminished scale on the V chord, because that scale leads nicely to both major and minor Is. I might also play simply mixolydian on the V, which means I'm really switching to major mode a chord early.

As this shows, given the ambiguity in that chord progression,you can play virtually anything on the V chord.

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#2320234 - 08/26/14 02:29 PM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 413
Loc: California
It's not about scales, it's about target tones. Tones that help you establish the harmony. Of course the tones are derived from certain scales, but what's important is picking the right ones that work with the phrases you're doing and which harmony the phrases are resolving on. Rather than scales, think about your two handed chord voicings (the voicings you use for comping) as this will give you a better idea of what's going on.
_________________________
Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/

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#2320235 - 08/26/14 02:35 PM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 413
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: pbluesman
Hi JazzPianoOnline,

.... Also, thanks for the offer but i'm not looking to pay to sign up to an online site.
....

Thanks for your input all the same.


I wouldn't dismiss his comments out of hand. His site, and Paul Abrahams site, are the only worthwhile jazz instructional sites online. Very high quality teaching.

In order for you to get into jazz, you need to understand the theory. You need to learn why the chord progressions are the way they are, the theory behind the reharmonizing, and your piano voicings for all those chords. It's evident from your top level post that you haven't gone through this exercise yet, instead you're trying to jump immediately into playing a standard. Do yourself a favor, and learn (and practice) the fundamental stuff before you do that. It's not difficult and its not a mystery, but it requires that you take a step back, and instead of working on tunes, you work on the exercises designed to practice the crucial chord progressions and voicings around the 12 keys. Your standard blues doesn't translate directly into jazz, so you need to take a step back.

And again, forget about scales. You don't want to become one of these dudes that does mindless licks up and down scales.


Edited by Michael Martinez (08/26/14 02:43 PM)
_________________________
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http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/

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#2320243 - 08/26/14 02:50 PM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
pbluesman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/08/10
Posts: 17
Hi Michael.

I think it's possible that you have misunderstood. I wasn't dismissing his comments out of hand, I believe I politely thanked him for his comments and explained that this wasn't really what I was getting at with my original post. If it didn't come across that way then I apologise, I'm not looking to offend people.

I was really just trying to keep this thread focussed on my original post because I'm well aware that everybody has their own opinion when it comes to improvising and I didn't want this to turn into another argument over the best way to learn jazz, because the truth is all approaches are valid. Some people emphasise learning licks, others chord tones, others scales. You need to do all of them, but you can only learn one thing at a time, or at least I can.

jjo - thanks for your comments this actually made a lot of sense to me and gave me something to think about.

Thanks all.

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#2320282 - 08/26/14 04:36 PM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 661
Loc: Leicester, UK
PbBluesman!

Originally Posted By: pbluesman
Hey Mark,

I will definitely take a look at the Bill Evans version you directed me to when i'm home from work.



When all is said and done, hearing this stuff and doing it by ear–I'm sure you know!–that's the way to go. The BE version is classic. Is there a version other than BE you've been listening to?

Something to ask as you listen to BE is does the chord we're discussing, the ii-7b5 sound like it's in a minor key when BE plays its?

Also the pickup to the melody starts on A natural.




So the composer of the tune (and Bill Evans) pretty much are telling us from the start we're in F major and Db in the melody really just wants to resolve to C.

Play the pickup and the first two measures (without the chords) and you'll probably hear that. However, if you hear it some other way, with some other emphasis that's fine. In which case see if you can explain to yourself why and how you hear it in that other way. Your explanation to yourself of why and how you hear as you do. That's the gold!

Originally Posted By: pbluesman


Regarding the iim7b5, I think the melody at this point is a Db, hence the b5.

Would you still treat this as a minor 2-5 when improvising even though technically its resolving to major?



You've raised a good question. Which is should we improvise on the chord as ii-7b5 like it's going to resolve to a minor key? Or improvise on it as ii-7 because the tune does eventually resolve to major.

Which one you choose is up to you. But there's context there that can help you choose. So, for example, the melody begins on the pickup with the A. That says F major.

Another way is learn from great players who have defined this stuff. For example, Herbie Hancock with Miles Davis often played m7b5 chords as m7 chords. It was a stylistic thing in that particular group. But Bill Evans and Red Garland did the same. Herbie was influenced by BIll and Red so .... smile

The beboppers often did the same. But they also had another way. For them a min7b5 chord was a minor iv chord with the 6th in the bass–which really is something entirely different than a ii7b5

So Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Barry Harris and others might say the chord we're discussing in FHS is a Bbm triad with a G in the bass.

The exemplar of that sort of thing is Woody'n You. In fakebook's it's G-7b5 to C7 to F-7b5 to Bb7 to Eb-7b5 to Ab7 to Dbmaj7. See how all those min7b5 chords eventually resolve to a major chord?

Dizzy talks about that in his autobiography. But those chords in that tune, and the way he and they described them, were more or less heard as Bbm/G to C7 to Abm/F to Bb7 to Gbm/Eb to Ab7 to Dbmaj7 So all the m7b5 chords built on ii are conceptualised instead as iv chords with the sixth in the bass.

You might try improvising on For Heaven Sake like that (play the G in the bass but treat the rest of the chord as Bbm). And then resolve it to C7. See if it makes a difference ... It's not always as simple or as easy as just "do it or try it ..." Sometimes there's a bit of experience and experimentation required to make the leap. Sometimes the leap just happens. But the experiment is worth doing. You can make about your own mind about what you find and what you hear.


Originally Posted By: pbluesman

I'm also a bit confused about why an altered scale would be suggested for D7(b9b13) when the altered scale doesn't contain the natural 5? Is it just that the 5th degree is largely insignificant in terms of the overall tonality?



That altered scale, wherever it came from, is just someone's idea of how to dress up that particular chord at that particular moment. All sorts of scales and chords could fit there.

The thing about scales placed over chords–some call that chord scale theory–as has been pointed out already is it's a limited way to go at it. Well, limited in some ways. Because Miles Davis explained many times that once he got to So What and related repertoire that he was exploring scales and not chords. There is a difference between playing on chords and improvising on scales and you can hear it in the repertoire MD was playing in those days.

I hope this stuff helps ... it's only the tip of the iceberg. Different players get to it in different ways. I've described it here in terms of a few different players to bring out the diversity in the approaches.

Anyway, which For Heaven's Sake are you listening to? ... it's a great tune!!

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#2320283 - 08/26/14 04:43 PM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
Ilion Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/09
Posts: 27
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: pbluesman
Hi,

I'm currently learning the Jazz Standard "For Heavens Sake" and I was just wondering if somebody could clarify if I'm using appropriate scales for improvisation, or if you could suggest more suitable alternatives. I find it a bit confusing because it looks like a minor 2-5 to major 1 which I haven't come across before (I've not been playing Jazz very long).

The chart I'm working with is in F major. The first four bars are as follows:

G-7b5 C7b9 / FMaj7 D7b9 / G-7b5 C7b9 / FMaj7 F7

The scales I am currently using:

G-7b5 - G Locrian #2 (Bb melodic Minor)
C7b9 - C Aux. Diminished (Db Diminished)
FMaj7 - F Major
D7b9 (voice this with b13 also as its in the melody) - D Altered (Eb Melodic Minor)

If somebody with more experience wouldn't mind taking a look at this I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks in advance!


I think you are on the right track practicing these scales with these chords. I tend to think of your G locrian #2 as G natural minor with b5. Same difference...

For F Major you can also use F lydian.

I would use Eb melodic minor for D7(b9) just because the Bb is more consistent with the key than B natural (from the diminished scale). But in truth, when you improvise you can obviously freely adjust and alter harmonies...

I also like to practice patterns and arpeggios from within the scales. For example, playing an A aug7 arpeggio on Gm7(b5).

I would disagree that practicing scales and arpeggios isn't extremely relevant; using the same analogy as above, it is very difficult to spell words and create sentences without intimately knowing the alphabet. Of course there are different approaches, but mine is to know the sounds and tonalities of the scales so deeply that I can focus all my attention on melody which I do agree is the only real consideration.

Additionally, once those tonalities are sufficiently learned, and once good melody is the target, any intention to play "chord tones on strong beats" and so forth is pretty limited.

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#2320286 - 08/26/14 05:01 PM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1352
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Chord/Scale relationships are very important, needless to say; playing a scale up and down is not improvising.

Your choice of chords and scales is pretty ok, just a little off in my pov.
I would play: Gm7b5 C7b9, Am7 D7b9, Gm7b5 C7b9, FMaj7 B7#11, Bbm7

Gm7b5: locrian #2
C7b9: Half/Whole diminished
Am7: dorian
D7b9: is a little tricky; it has a b6 via the key signature, but there's no place for a b5 so no alt-scale (or super-locrian or diminished-whole tone). I would use the Half/Whole diminished and add the b6.
F: well duh the Ionian smile
B7#11: Lydian dominant
_________________________

I never play anything the same way once.

https://soundcloud.com/chrisb/sets
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#2320478 - 08/27/14 04:04 AM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
pbluesman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/08/10
Posts: 17
Mark - Thank you for that very long detailed response, it's very helpful and has given me quite a few ideas to try out at the piano.

To answer your question I actually just picked the song at random from the real book, I wanted to learn something and put my own spin on it before listening to some recordings so I could compare what they did with my own. I have however listened to the Horace Silver version before but it wasn't a tune that I was too familiar with.

My plan was to go through the following steps in order to learn the tune:

1. Learn melody with roots only
2. Learn song with 2+1/2+3 style accompaniment
3. Learn the song with rootless chords
4. Pick and learn appropriate chord scales
5. Look specifically at some options for reharm
6. Compare with recordings, possibly transcribe some solos etc.
7. Work out a written arrangement for the melody (I think this gives an opportunity to come up with different figures, runs that I wouldn't normally when improvising.

So far it's going quite well and I'm on step 4.


Ilion - Thanks for your feedback. I completely agree I think we both learn in a similar manner. If I learn the sound of the scale I learn the sound of the intervals and that helps me a lot.


Chris - I've just edited this because I realised what I'd written was a load of nonsense. You say there's no place for the b5, if I use the half/whole diminished as suggested with the b6 added do I not end up with the b5 anyway?

e.g. D, Eb, F, F#, G#(Ab) A, Bb (replaces B), C


Edited by pbluesman (08/27/14 09:57 AM)

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#2320526 - 08/27/14 08:17 AM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: Mark Polishook]
pbluesman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/08/10
Posts: 17
Hi Mark,

You've really got me thinking now... (quite a dangerous prospect)

Originally Posted By: Mark Polishook

You've raised a good question. Which is should we improvise on the chord as ii-7b5 like it's going to resolve to a minor key? Or improvise on it as ii-7 because the tune does eventually resolve to major.

Which one you choose is up to you. But there's context there that can help you choose. So, for example, the melody begins on the pickup with the A. That says F major.


This is really interesting, I was initially making my scale choice based on the rootless chord I was playing at the time, which was G-7b5. However what I'd not considered is that when improvising I might not be playing this exact voicing so my scale options need to change as appropriate.

If I use the same rootless voicing from above, I'm forced down a particular path for my scale choice.

But, if i'm improvising over a R7 shell for example, I could actually do whatever I want with it because I'm less constrained than when using a rootless voicing.

Likewise if I use a rootless voicing but maybe add in a different extension, thats got to have an influence on my choice of scales and notes in my right hand.

Just another level of complexity to obsess over!

By the way, I knew I recognised your name but wasn't sure why. Its because I've got your blog bookmarked in my browser. I've read and enjoyed quite a few articles from your blog, in particular I really liked the series of interviews that you did. I wasn't familiar with the artists who you were interviewing but it was interesting to read how some of these people got started in Jazz.

Thanks


Edited by pbluesman (08/27/14 08:32 AM)

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#2320587 - 08/27/14 10:07 AM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 661
Loc: Leicester, UK
Originally Posted By: pbluesman
Hi Mark,

You've really got me thinking now... (quite a dangerous prospect)



Always go with danger. When improvising, that is smile

Originally Posted By: pbluesman


I was initially making my scale choice based on the rootless chord I was playing at the time, which was G-7b5. However what I'd not considered is that when improvising I might not be playing this exact voicing so my scale options need to change as appropriate.

If I use the same rootless voicing from above, I'm forced down a particular path for my scale choice.



Not always. Because rootless voicings often accommodate more than one chord. But you're definitely on to something with that idea ....

Originally Posted By: pbluesman


But, if i'm improvising over a R7 shell for example, I could actually do whatever I want with it because I'm less constrained than when using a rootless voicing.



Great point! ... And to extend it a little (building on what you said previously): A shell is only two notes (of course). It's the "only two notes" part that's important. A rootless voicing could only be two notes ... or even one note. Actually any voicing can have any number of notes.

The big idea is the fewer notes in the voicing the more freedom in choice of scale. Because if the voicing is just one note or two notes or whatever then the scale picks up the slack and fills out the rest.

Originally Posted By: pbluesman



Likewise if I use a rootless voicing but maybe add in a different extension, thats got to have an influence on my choice of scales and notes in my right hand.



Totally. And well said smile .... and as the other notes move in and out of the voicings you're using you're getting into the realm often discussed as "voice leading."


.... and to return to the dangerous area ...While there are all of the common scales that get used over chords in jazz, in fact all a scale is a string of notes that goes from low to high or high to low. That's a permissive definition and it gives a lot of leeway ... which is why I like it.

Look at it like that you can make up your own scales. Or go to Nicholas Slonimsky's Thesaurus of Scales (which is what John Coltrane did AFTER Barry Harris gave him the book). Or transcribe a lot or look at a lot of transcriptions (and pull out the scales). Or look in theory books and jazz method books .... If you do any of that you'll get a lot of choice in terms of scales you can use.

To add more danger ... there's an interview with Herbie Hancock on the web where he discusses how he played on Wayne Shorter's Nefertiti. One of the points he makes is Wayne's tunes often arrived as melodies with voicings. But the voicings weren't named. It was up to the players to decide what to do with them, how to interpret them, what they might be, etc. In essence Wayne was encouraging maximal choice by giving minimal information.


Originally Posted By: pbluesman

By the way, I knew I recognised your name but wasn't sure why. Its because I've got your blog bookmarked in my browser. I've read and enjoyed quite a few articles from your blog, in particular I really liked the series of interviews that you did. I wasn't familiar with the artists who you were interviewing but it was interesting to read how some of these people got started in Jazz.


Thanks very much. smile

BTW, I forget about that Horace Silver version of For Heaven's Sake. It's great. And a totally different approach to the tune than Bill Evans. And also your step-by-step method looks great. If I were to add only one step to the end if would be; Transpose everything learned into at least a few more keys!... Let us know how things go with FHS ...

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#2320589 - 08/27/14 10:18 AM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
36251 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 742
I've never enjoyed learning chord scales so I'm just going to throw this out there and see if it hits the wall with anyone.

If a chord scale is 7 notes, then why can't you just take the four notes of the chord and fit three appropriate notes in between, voila chord scale.
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#2320601 - 08/27/14 10:47 AM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: 36251]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1352
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: 36251
I've never enjoyed learning chord scales so I'm just going to throw this out there and see if it hits the wall with anyone.
If a chord scale is 7 notes, then why can't you just take the four notes of the chord and fit three appropriate notes in between, voila chord scale.
Of course you could, if it works/sounds good to you then go for it.

I'll share a little list I got from Gary Burton:
The Relationship between Spoken language and Improvised music
Vocabulary:
Words - Sounds (scales, chords)

Grammar:
Words in correct order to make a sentence - Harmonies in the correct order to make a progression

Content:
Explanation/Storytelling - Developing melodic themes, communicating compositional structure
_________________________

I never play anything the same way once.

https://soundcloud.com/chrisb/sets
https://www.youtube.com/user/djboing/videos

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#2320656 - 08/27/14 12:51 PM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: 36251]
KlinkKlonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 364
Originally Posted By: 36251
I've never enjoyed learning chord scales so I'm just going to throw this out there and see if it hits the wall with anyone.

If a chord scale is 7 notes, then why can't you just take the four notes of the chord and fit three appropriate notes in between, voila chord scale.


Or you could base everything on the F major scale and just change the notes needed to fit the chords as they appear. (And apply that to Db flat in the bridge.) Which to me sounds a lot more simple and possibly more meaningful then naming everything after regions in the mediterranean sea that doesn't even exist anymore and was a misnomer anyway, since the medieval monks got everything wrong.

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#2320732 - 08/27/14 04:03 PM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: KlinkKlonk]
Ilion Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/09
Posts: 27
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: KlinkKlonk
Originally Posted By: 36251
I've never enjoyed learning chord scales so I'm just going to throw this out there and see if it hits the wall with anyone.

If a chord scale is 7 notes, then why can't you just take the four notes of the chord and fit three appropriate notes in between, voila chord scale.


Or you could base everything on the F major scale and just change the notes needed to fit the chords as they appear. (And apply that to Db flat in the bridge.) Which to me sounds a lot more simple and possibly more meaningful then naming everything after regions in the mediterranean sea that doesn't even exist anymore and was a misnomer anyway, since the medieval monks got everything wrong.


Haha, or, you could just play what sounds best, and eschew that which sounds bad. And I totally agree on the monks screwing up what the Greeks were trying to do.

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#2320766 - 08/27/14 05:51 PM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 630
Loc: Chicago
You can make fun of the names, but there is a reason to know the scales, if not the names. One jazz instructor I had said that he learned all of the scales he uses before he ever knew the theory or the names. How did he learn them? He listened to records and tried to figure out what people were playing and discovered that they used certain notes over certain chords to get some cool sounds. Later, he learned the names for those scales. So you can look for shortcuts, but every teacher I'm listened to recommends learning the basic scales in all keys.

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#2320835 - 08/27/14 08:37 PM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 413
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: pbluesman
However what I'd not considered is that when improvising I might not be playing this exact voicing so my scale options need to change as appropriate.


Think of it like this: you might not use G7 as G7b13 unless you want to emphasize a C major blues sound, and you might not want to harmonize G7 as G7b9 unless there is an Aminor somewhere in your tune .... Point being that certain altered tones work while others don't in the context of the tune. So let's say you use G7b9 because you are going for a diminished sound or a minor type of sound: then certainly you aren't going to use the same scale for improvisation as you would for a generic G7. The scale will be altered to reflect the altered tone. What this means in the long run is that your choice of scale reflects your choice of harmony. Harmony first. Scale second. So, for example, if you're using a diminished scale then you should know where it comes from (diminished chords and hence their scales have dominant functions: a diminished chord being one way to voice a domininant chord with a flat 9) .... because that's going to tell you the place (function) of that chord in the progression which is going to let you know how to improvise over it ...

so like I said before: 1) choose the chords; 2) practice the two handed voicings (comping); and ... your ear will start to realize what's going on and your improvisation will start to occur...


Edited by Michael Martinez (08/27/14 08:48 PM)
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http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/

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#2320837 - 08/27/14 08:40 PM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: 36251]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 413
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: 36251
I've never enjoyed learning chord scales so I'm just going to throw this out there and see if it hits the wall with anyone.

If a chord scale is 7 notes, then why can't you just take the four notes of the chord and fit three appropriate notes in between, voila chord scale.


Because your choice of those three notes needs to fit with the surrounding chord progression. If you just willy-nilly pick the three, it's not going to work.
_________________________
Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/

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#2320843 - 08/27/14 09:07 PM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: Michael Martinez]
36251 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 742
Originally Posted By: 36251
"fit three appropriate notes in between"



Originally Posted By: Michael Martinez
"If you just willy-nilly pick the three, it's not going to work."


????
_________________________
AG N2, CP4, GK MK & MP

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#2320884 - 08/27/14 11:20 PM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: 36251]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 413
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: 36251


????


it's all about context
_________________________
Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/

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#2320953 - 08/28/14 03:34 AM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: pbluesman]
flat13sharp11 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/23/09
Posts: 119
Loc: Lancashire, UK
This is a Jarrett solo version from a Budapest concert in 2007 I was sent a while ago. I transcribed most of it apart from the improvised solo.

For Heaven's Sake
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/timwood1987

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#2321005 - 08/28/14 07:58 AM Re: For Heavens Sake - Improvisation Scales [Re: flat13sharp11]
pbluesman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/08/10
Posts: 17
Originally Posted By: flat13sharp11
This is a Jarrett solo version from a Budapest concert in 2007 I was sent a while ago. I transcribed most of it apart from the improvised solo.

For Heaven's Sake


Hey thanks,

I really enjoyed that. Amazing rendition. There's no doubt the man's a genius. Got to admit though, I hardly ever listen to Jarret because his self indulgent murmuring's ruin it a bit for me.

Absolutely top notch pianist though.

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