Saxophone Forum


by Tranesyadaddy
(279 posts)
6 years ago

Behold!!! the new Be-Bop scale!

the common be-bop scale is as follows: G, A, B, C, D, E, F, F#, G The problem with this scale imho is that it ignores the most salient feature of be-bop music, that is the incorporation of the b9 into melodic ideas, normally in V7 chords but not always. so I think a better be-bop scale would be as folows: ascending: G, A, B, C, D, D#, E, F#, G... the D# being the b9 of D7 descending: G, F natural, E, D, C, B, A, Ab, G.. .. Ab being the b9 of G7 this scale has both 7's and two flat 9's woohoooo the descending scale conveniently resolves to C so you can go around the cycle of 12. (then when you've done the 12 you can go back and do the keys you missed). the maj.7 passing note like in the usual 'be-bop' scale was the most salient feature in Bix Beiderbecke's day.

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  1. by knorter
    (205 posts)

    6 years ago

    Re: Behold!!! the new Be-Bop scale!

    Actually you've just ignored the most salient feature of the bebop scale--adding a half step in order to line up chord tones on down beats of running eighth note lines. Study any bebop solo and you'll discover that during any run of eighth notes most downbeats contain chord tones and all the passing notes of scales occur on the upbeats. There are more complex bebop scales that provide a more alter sound that you are looking for. example: D7b9 bebop scale would be: descending D C# C Bb A G F# Eb D You could also use the regular bebop scale and flat the 2nd instead. Or learn the diminished scales which is how many bebop musicians incorporated the flat 9 sound into early bebop. note that this scale still puts the root, flat 7, fifth, and third on downbeats. Kristy

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    1. by Tranesyadaddy
      (279 posts)

      6 years ago

      Re: Behold!!! the new Be-Bop scale!

      I don't agree with that line of thinking about be-bop being grounded upon the down beats. I think Parker's innovations were a reaction to that rigid type of thinking, which defined much of the music of his predecessors, (and lesser contemporaries). a cursory glance through the omnibook has reams of examples of upper chordal tones falling on the down beats. Parker himself said that discovery made him 'come alive'.

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      1. by Tranesyadaddy
        (279 posts)

        6 years ago

        Re: Behold!!! the new Be-Bop scale!

        be-bop was about musical freedom, not scales and rules.

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        1. by Tranesyadaddy
          (279 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! the new Be-Bop scale!

          the point of practising scales is to become acquainted with the notes that will express the ideas in your head, not to learn what to think

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        2. by Tranesyadaddy
          (279 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! the new Be-Bop scale!

          imho.

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      2. by knorter
        (205 posts)

        6 years ago

        Re: Behold!!! the new Be-Bop scale!

        Most of those upper extensions on down beats are enclosures where Parker avoids a downbeat by placing the notes above and below the desired downbeat and then resolves to the chord tone later (on a downbeat) This isn't rigid thinking it sounds good. An example of this is in the first measure of the melody to Anthropology. In concert Bb on beat 3 Parker plays Eb Db D in eighth notes which would put the fourth (a non chord tone) on a downbeat but resolves in the next beat to a chord tone. Some people call this a deflection as well. Going back to what I said about diminished scales earlier: players would also use a diminished chord starting on the b9 example: for C7 players would start a line on a downbeat on Db and arpeggio up Db E G Bb in eighth notes so technically yes again a line starts a non chord tone on a downbeat but it quickly lines up the chord tones again. When you start running eighth note lines in perpetual motion and your chord tones fall on upbeats for the majority of the line while the upper extensions everything sounds off. Rhythmically I'm not suggesting that lines begin and end on downbeats, many lines start on an upbeat to add to the swing and syncopated feel, but the pickups are usually not the chord tones-if they are then it's often times tied to the downbeat or rhythmically syncopated in a way that eventually leads to the lining up of chord tones to downbeats. Gotta go to my gig... more later Kristy

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        1. by Tranesyadaddy
          (279 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! the new Be-Bop scale!

          of coarse a musical idea should resolve sympathetically with the chords, that's good taste. but an idea need not be resolved from start to finish. that's boring, and the antithesis of be-bop.

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        2. by Tranesyadaddy
          (279 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! the new Be-Bop scale!

          course

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        3. by Tranesyadaddy
          (279 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! the new Be-Bop scale!

          also Bird's live playing was often much more exploratory than in the studio. Miles and Monk are two who I think dug Bird's approach. and Red Rodney.

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        4. by knorter
          (205 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! the new Be-Bop scale!

          I'm a little confused, you start a thread called "behold!!! the new Be-bop scale." You encourage others to learn it in 12 keys. Which to me implies that be-bop is made up of scales. When I suggest that this scale isn't really authentic to be-bop music because of the theory behind it, you respond: be-bop was about musical freedom, not scales and rules Then why did you post a scale for everyone to learn? As a result of Bird's (and a few others) creations, a style of music was created. The scales and theory behind it are determined by analyzing what they played, learning the trends developed by these musicians more than likely based on their ears. Think of theory as more of a monday morning quarterback. These trends and rules are based on common music theory developed over centuries. These amazing, innovative musicians learned the rules by hearing what sounded good in chord resolutions and found ways to twist them slightly while still maintaining the music's good sound. The theory is just a shortcut to learning what they did and to explain it to others. Of course musicians can bend rules but true to all music it has to sound good. If you want to invent new jazz sounds or a new way of approaching music theory, that's great just don't call it be-bop. Be-bop implies a certain way of handling the harmony. I'm in total support of you being a creative musician but the scale that you "invented" doesn't sound good in that tradition. Period.

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        5. by Tranesyadaddy
          (279 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! The title wasn't that serious!

          harmony and the notes that make up the keys are the building blocks of all western music. learning that stuff is how you become a musician in the first place. actually, harmony has more to do with physics than any human imposed 'rules'. scales aren't music, they're a tool to acquaint oneself with the notes, as I said before. therefore a 'be-bop' scale should contain some of the NOTES that the be-boppers used much more commonly than their predecessors. the be-bop scale I keep hearing touted just has the minor and major seventh. Kristy, a be-bop scale isn't a 'how to' instruction guide. anyway, if you want a descending scale to line up with the chord just start it on the 7th or 9th. there's no rule that says you can't.

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        6. by Tranesyadaddy
          (279 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! The title wasn't that serious!

          and I would encourage people to learn any scale in all 15 keys.

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        7. by knorter
          (205 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! The title wasn't that serious!

          Glad to know you were joking first of all. Secondly, no there is no rule that says you can't, just years of the greats doing the way I described. There are multiple bebop scales besides the one you list as "The" bebop scale. I thought I was clear in stating that the scale comes from analysis of solos not the other way around. You're right it isn't a how-to but it does address the normal movement of a line. Starting a scale on the 7th or the 9th only solves your chord tone on downbeat problem for one measure. How do you address double time runs or eighth note line longer than a measure? That's why Parker and his colleagues added an extra chromatic tone in the first place. That is the reason for the development of this sound, creating an 8 note scale so that you could play long running eighth note lines without having to adjust. As I said before the the theory is just to explain it afterwards. In its invention it was used to fill a need to the ears.

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        8. by Tranesyadaddy
          (279 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! The title wasn't that serious!

          well I think it's a dandy scale.

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        9. by Tranesyadaddy
          (279 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! The title wasn't that serious!

          now you mention it, playing a descending 7 note major scale from the tonic down to the 9th over its chord is completely acceptable. there's absolutely nothing discordant or wrong about it. highlighting the 6th and 2nd degrees actually sounds quite nice. the only tension arises on beat 3 where you start on the 4th, but that resolves itself after a single quaver. plus, ending on the 9th has a nice unresolved feel which the soloist can use to introduce the next phrase. incidentally, long scale runs were never a significant part of Charlie Parker's improvisations. in fact they're only notable by their scarcity. one scale run Bird was fond of was to start on the minor 7th, go down the scale to the flat 9, outline the chord and resolve to the sub dominant, which is the exact descending scale I have in my original post, even in the same key Perker liked to play it on his alto, and you respond by saying that I shouldn't classify that as bebop. if you can't call a Parker lick 'bebop' what can you?? also, I never said that the original scale was 'THE' bebop scale, or implied it was the only one, I said it was the common bebop scale and the one I see most often touted, which I do.

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        10. by Tranesyadaddy
          (279 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! The title wasn't that serious!

          regarding the issue of chordal tones falling on strong beats being particularly relevant to bebop, remember Bird had a particular genius for placing the strong notes of a melodic line onto the weak beats of the bar. that's why comping for Bird was so challenging. I've heard it described as being like stepping into an empty elevator shaft. chordal tones falling on strong beats have been part of western music since the days of Hildegard von Bingen, and therefore hardly definitive of the 'bebop revolution'.

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        11. by knorter
          (205 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! The title wasn't that serious!

          First of all, can you use specific examples so that we can look at these phrases together? Maybe use the omnibook as a guide because it's readily available to anyone following this post. You've quoted Bird to support yourself but given no reference points for anyone to research these points on their own. I could say I once heard Bird play Yankee Doodle Dandy on a penny whistle in Db while standing on one foot and you'd have to take my word for it. Using quotes out of context doesn't make your argument stronger. He also said "don't play the saxophone, let it play you" I suppose I should tell everyone to leave their horns in the case until their instruments decide to play for themselves. Secondly, how can you say Bird didn't use long runs of eighth notes. Open any transcription and you see countless 8th note runs. By "long" I mean a bar or longer due to the need for an 8th note scale. The use of 8 note scales enabled Bird to resolve his 3rds and 7th in time to the next chord. Example Ko-Ko In concert key halfway through the first bridge, concert A minor followed by concert D7 Bird arpeggiates up the A minor chord then starting on the 3rd of the D7 he uses a portion of the dominant bebop scale, adding a Db to resolve on the C which is the 7th. One bar later on concert G he adds an eb as the last note of the bar to give himself an extra 8th note so he lands on a D (the fifth of the chord). I never said that chord tones on strong beats were developed in Bebop, quite the contrary I stated that Bebop musicians maintained good musical harmony from history and just added some chromatic twists to fit the more rapid rhythm of that style of music. Starting a scale on any chord tone is another common use of the bebop scales. You can change direction on any chord tone and add any chromatic tone to even things out when you need it. I'm not dispute the wide use of chromaticism in this music. I started responding to you because I felt the way you posted your information could lead to inexperienced musicians believing that was the way to play bebop. They have to learn to crawl before walking. I also responded (prematurely evidently) to your claims of creating a new scale.

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        12. by Tranesyadaddy
          (279 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! The title wasn't that serious!

          the one specific example I already gave should be familiar to any jazz saxophone player. I felt pointing out where it occurs in the Omnibook was redundant. play that line to any of your colleagues and ask them who you're quoting. for the record, there's one on bar 8 of the first chorus of Parker's Mood, where the C in the resolution is the 3rd of the new A minor chord. (in Eb) I'm not sure what you mean by 'quotes out of context' I certainly haven't provided any. I didn't say Bird never used 8th note runs. that was his bread and butter. I'm saying he never played mindless scale runs. Bird's runs included, above all, melodic ideas and chordal outlines, plus the odd short scale run, often altered and hardly ever, as far as I'm aware, the common bebop scale, like the one you're advocating. his ideas were resolved musically... not because a particular scale landed him in the right place. I don't know who would assume from my original post that I was attempting to present a comprehensive guide to one of the most challenging styles of music in history.

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        13. by Tranesyadaddy
          (279 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! The title wasn't that serious!

          the rebuttal to any further points you make will be in one of my previous posts.

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        14. by RichardSaxMan
          (3 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! The title wasn't that serious!

          Hey, great discussion guys! I've learned so much from following this thread. Tranesyadaddy, don't worry about being seemingly redundant. Its really helpful for guys like me when you point out those specific examples in the Omnibook. I'm just learning the jazz language and really sitting down and digging through the things you guys are talking about has been both challenging and a great learning tool. Sadly, I have nothing to add intellectually to this discussion but I wanted to let you guys to know that I've enjoyed this discussion very much!! Keep up the great constructive conversations!!! Hopefully some day I'll be able to jump in contribute....... -Michael Richardson

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        15. by Tranesyadaddy
          (279 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! The title wasn't that serious!

          thanks very much for your comment. I'm glad that you see jazz as a language. you're on the right track already. :)

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        16. by connsaxman_jim
          (2336 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! The title wasn't that serious!

          I admire your attempt to be innovative! Jim

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        17. by Tranesyadaddy
          (279 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! The title wasn't that serious!

          cheers, Jim.

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        18. by Grockle
          (1 post)

          2 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! The title wasn't that serious!

          I'd just like to thank say how much I enjoyed this post after finding it by accident looking for the flatted ninth scale which I thought I read being maybe from the normal Ionian major chord, anyway I'm not a saxophone player, but Piano and Guitar. The whole thread is very interesting and I'd like to thank Kristy for all the valuable information and insight into the Be-Bop fundamentals. Esp like the bit about leaving the instrument in it's case. Absolutely magnificent. Let me know if ya need a pianist in the U.K

          Funky Si

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      3. by Gitfidl
        (1 post)

        5 years ago

        Re: Behold!!! the new Be-Bop scale!

        The problem with all of these alternative scales, numerics and circles is that you cannot find people who read ordinary sheet music. So this may be useful for you eggheads. Herb Ellis said "I just play over chords" and don't know much about scales. Well if you want to play well you need to WORK at it three or four hours a day .. and you do not have time for six or more alternate scales to memorize. Sounding good is a human thing.

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        1. by Mobile Band
          (27 posts)

          4 years ago

          Re: Behold!!! the new Be-Bop scale!

          Pete Thomas mentioned a "Whole Tone Bebop Scale" (over an C7): C, B, Bb, Ab, Gb, E, D, C. Its funny because of having only 7 notes, so contradicting the idear behind bebop scales, which allow easy flowing through 4/4, swinging in eights, because the 8 tones of the scale fits perfect in the 8 8ths of 4/4. Mobile Marching Band

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