Saxophone Forum


by altocbrute
(9 posts)
1 month ago

using scales for improv

At this point, I know the major and minor scales in 12 keys. My teacher in high school never taught me about modes and encouraged me to focus on scales. However, I'm now at a point where I want to develop my improv skills but I'm not sure how to best use scales to develop melodic lines over chords. Can I, for instance, use the notes of a harmonic minor scale over a min7 chord? Melodic minor scale? What about the bebop scale or blues scale? How do I know I can use the notes of those scales over any particular chord? Also, is knowledge of modes necessary or will scales be sufficient for improv? I hear people say different things so I'm not sure what direction to take. 

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  1. by altocbrute
    (9 posts)

    1 month ago

    Re: using scales for improv

    never mind, i just saw a previous thread mentioning the jazz theory book by mark levine. I'm going to buy that, read it, see if it makes sense, and I'll report back to here. but please, any insight in the mean time would be appreciated. thank you

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    1. by historicsaxwhisperer
      (543 posts)

      1 month ago

      Re: using scales for improv

      It sounds like you found one of my old posts.

      ALSO, use you tube. There is endless opportunities to improv, make mistakes, figure out what does work, and build that inner voice. In a pandemic, where you have a laptop and earphones, you cant go wrong with wood shedding.

      Just Keep at it.

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      1. by altocbrute
        (9 posts)

        1 month ago

        Re: using scales for improv

        Yes, I believe it was one of your old posts. Thanks for the reply and you're absolutely right. That's how it's always been done. 

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