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A Systematic Approach To lmproiiation

by: ROGER EDISON

LEARN TO PLAY THE ALFRED WAY

A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO IMPROVISATION


FOREWORD Jazz is American music. Only in America were conditions right for i t s development. Although there is no doubt that the major contribution was made by Afro-Americans, there were many threads that went into the original fabric of jazz. I t was the interaction of black African rhythms with such things as Sousa marches, French quadrilles, Spanish habaneras, mountain clog dance music, vaudeville songs, barroom ballads and many other types of music extant in America in the nineteenth century that produced jazz as we know it. The proof of this lies in the fact that where African culture interacted with non-American cultures, as for example i n Cuba and Brazil, much exciting rhythmic improvised music emerged, but not jazz. The main thing that sets jazz apart from other types of music i s i t s rhythmic swing. Swing cannot be defined, but it is essential to playing jazz. (Some potent quotes: "It don't mean a thing if i t ain't got that swing" [Duke Ellington]. Fats Waller, when asked what swing was, is said to have replied, "If you got to ask, you'll never know!") You can learn t o swing. In one word, listen! Listen to the great jazz players on all instruments and from all eras. From the 1920's - Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Frank Teschemacher (the legendary Chicago clarinetist who was Benny Goodman's first inspiration). The 1930's: Lester Young, Frankie Newton (the first 'cool' trumpet player), Coleman Hawkins, Bud Freeman, the entire Count Basie band. The early be-boppers, Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian, Dizzy Gillespie. And today, John McLaughlin, Joe Pass, Chuck Wayne, Stan Getz, Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson and hundreds of others. Jazz is improvised music. Improvising means not playing the notes as written. The tradition of improvising has existed in many times and places. J. S. Bach was renowned for hisability to improvise fugues; Beethoven usually improvised something a t all his concerts; Spanish Flamenco music i s mostly improvised as is Indian classical music. Even parts of traditional Polish polkas are improvised by clarinet and accordion players. In America improvising was well known among country fiddlers and banjoists, black singers, harmonica and guitar players and even members of marching bands and vaudeville pit orchestras. Jazz could be defined as "improvisation with swing." Except for some very recent experiments, jazz improvisation i s always based on an underlying chord structure or melody. In the early period (1890-1920) jazz tunes were often of a marchlike character with typical chord progressions (cycle of 5 t h ~ ) and modulations up a fourth for the trio section. (See for example, Tiger Rag and High Society.) Even today there are many traditional jazz bands that play in this style. From 1920 until today most jazz has been based on popular tunes of the day such as Sweet Georgia Brown, 1 Got Rhythm, All The Things You Are, etc. In the mid-1940's, the jazz composer came into his own, writing many original tunes or lines, often basing them on existing chord progressions such as Charlie Parker's Billie's Bounce (blues), KO-KO (based on "Cherokee"), Groovin' High (based on "Whispering"), etc. The modern era also brought in much more sophisticated harmony such as the use of altered 5ths and gths,, l l t h s and 13ths, substitution chords, and suppression of plain major and minor chords. Today jazz uses many techniques once thought to be the exclusive domain of classical music-irregu lar rhythms, exotic scales, atonality, nnd free for n. In this book, we'll try to open a tew doors and point some directions.
Roger Edison

See Roger Edisonls companion book, "Jazz Rhythm Guitar - A Systematic Approach to Chord Progressions"
/

@ Copyright M C M L X X V l l l by Alfred Publishing Co., Inc.

CONTENTS

PART 1: IMPROVISING ON A MELODY..

. .6 Anticipation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Retardation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Subdivision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Neighbor Notes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Grace Notes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Mordents. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Turns. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Passing Tones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Slides, Smears, and Trills. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29

. .. . . .. . . . .

WHAT Y O U SHOULD K N O W BEFORE STARTING THIS BOOK

P A R T 2 : IMPROVISING ON CHORDS..

. . . . . . . . . . .30 How t o Spell Chords. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 How to Use Chords in a Solo. . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Chord Arpeggio Studies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 Using Chord Arpeggios in a Solo. . . . . . . . . . .44 Improvising on Chords . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Blue Notes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52

1. 2. 3.

How to tune and care for your guitar. How to hold the pick and the guitar. How to find every note in the 1st position (if you've gone through Alfred's Basic Guitar Method Book 1 you'll have this covered). How to read the basic rhythms including
0 1

4.

P A R T 3 : IMPROVISING ON SCALES AND MODES. .56


Major Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 Jazz Minor Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58 Harmonic Minor Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 The Chromatic Scale. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60 The Diminished Scale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60 The Blues Scale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61 61 Modes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pentatonic Scales. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61 How to Use Scales in lmprovising . . . . . . . . . .62 Analyzing Chord Progressions. . . . . . . . . . . . .62

and equivalent rests. 5. 6.

d.. d J J. b
I

Some facility in playing scales. Knowledge of accents and expression marks.


>
A

The first thing that any classical, Latin, o r rock musician notices about jazz is that the 8th notes are n o t played evenly. Technically, of course, a passage of 8 t h notes should be played so that they are all equal, the downbeats being slightly stronger than the upbeats.

Ex. 1 (straight melody)

Oh,

I've

come from

A1 -

ba - ma

with

ban-jo

on

my

knee,

A jazz player makes two important changes in this phrase. First, he lengthens all the downbeats while shortening all the upbeats. How much of a change this is cannot be accurately nor 3 i

tated. Some writers have used


5

, others J
5

JI

. This writer believes the basic jazz rhythm

consists of dividing each beat into five parts with three on the downbeat and two on the upbeat. This could be written as
VV V

J m , but would cause a great deal of confusion and or J7

make jazz arrangements very hard t o read. In this book, we will write everything as straight 8th notes, but expect that the player will interpret them with a jazz feeling. Getting back t o Oh Susannah, the second thing the jazz player does is to reverse the accents. That is, the upbeats are played stronger than the downbeats. The final result would sound approximately like this:

Ex. 2 With a jazz feeling

THREE IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER

I . Alternate picking throughout. 2. Down beat 8th notes longer than upbeat 8th notes. 3. Upbeats more accented than downbeats.

JAZZ R H Y T H M EXERCISES (cont'd.)

Part 1 IMPROVISING O N A MELODY

Melodic improvisation was the characteristic style in the early days of jazz. One can imagine a bored trumpet player playing The Stars and Stripes Forever for the umpteenth time deciding to "fool around" with the tune in places. Or a vaudeville piano player asked t o "fake something" while a comedian did his routine, coming up with a new twist on some ragtime song.

There are several devices which can be used t o 'yazz u p J ' amelody.
1. Anticipation. This means getting t o a note before i t s actual time, usually on the upbeat before the downbeat on which it is written. Any n.ote in a melody can be anticipated, but it's best t o keep a balance between anticipated and "straight" notes. Examples of this device are on pages 7 t o 9 . Retardation. Playing a note after i t s actual time. Again, it's best not to overdo this effect. Keep a balance between "straight" notes and retarded ones. Examples on pages 10 and 11 . Sub-division. Breaking longer notes into shorter ones. For example, two 8th notes for a quarter note. Examples on pages 12 and 13. Neighbor notes. The actual melody note can be preceded by one or more neighbor notes. Neighbor notes are those notes which lie a half step or whole step above or below the melody note. Examples are on pages 14 to 23. Passing tones. Connecting melody notes with scale passages. These can be either diatonic (in the key) or chromatic (using all half steps between). Examples on pages 24 to 2 8 .

2.

3.

4.

5.

There is much t o be said for melodic improvising. For one thing, it is the most "commercial" jazz style. That is, it's the easiest jazz style for the average (non-musically trained) person t o understand. Although the heyday of this style was the period 1890-1920, there have been great melodic improvisers in every period of jazz. Unquestionably the greatest was Louis Armstrong, who did his best work in the years 1926-1931. He influenced virtually every jazz player who came after him. You should make every effort t o hear his recordings from that period. (They were re-issuedby Columbia a few years ago on two LPs.)

On the following pages you will find examples of all the devices mentioned above. Try to keep in mind what you are doing when practicing the various charts. Of course, no jazz player says to himself, "Now I'm playing a passing tone" when improvising, but what these exercises can do for you is to develop your ear so that passing tones, neighbor notes, anticipations, etc., become part of your playing vocabulary and flow naturally during your improvisations.

To illustrate this we'll give you a short fragment of a melody "straight," then various ways to anticipate the notes in it. Chord symbols are for a second player on guitar or keyboard.

Anticipations are marked with an A.


Straight Melody

Medium Tempo C

E7

lmprovisation No. 1

lmprovisation No. 2

lmprovisation No. 3

ANTICIPATION (cont'd.)

Straight Melody

lmprovisation No. 1
A

Improvisation No. 2

lmprovisation No. 3

In the author's opinion, too many anticipations in Ex. No. 3! Straight Melody (in minor key)

Em

B7

Em

lmprovisation No. 1
A

lmprovisation No. 2
A
.I

lmprovisation NO. 3
A

ANTICIPATION (concluded)
What follows is a 16 bar melody, first straight, then with anticipations.
Straight Melody

Improvisation using anticipations

Suggestions for further study. Learn the melody to some great older jazz standards such as Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone, Whispering, I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter and improvise on them using anticipations. Or, make up your own straight melodies and vary them as above.

As mentioned before, retardation means playing a note after its ordinary time. We will use.some of the same melodies as in the preceding section to make this clear. Retardations are marked with an R . Straight Melody

Medium Tempo
C

lmprovisation
R

Straight Melody

F7

Improvisation
R

ANTICIPATION AND RETARDATION


Of course, in an actual solo, no distinction i s made among the various types of improvisational devices. For study purposes only, the following charts use only A and R .

This i s a particularly useful device for improvisation when the straight melody has many long notes in it. For example, tunes like Heartaches, Bye Bye Blues, Me and M y Shadow. In the following exercises all subdivided notes are marked with an S.
Straight Melody
(Improvisations with subdivisions on facing page.)
63

Fast

C
I

b e

~ b 7
I

Improvisation

r
I

I
I

aD

I 1

r
I
I

r
I

r
I

I
I

I
J

cm

(now adding A and R )

If you felt that the preceding jazz solo had a rather stilted sound to it, you're perfectly right. If players had been limited t o the three devices we've discussed so far, jazz would have died out years ago for lack of interest. (As a matter of fact, if you

listen to some of the more commercial bands of the 20's and 30's. you'll hear many "hot choruses," as they used t o be called, that sound a lot like what you've just played.)

The next two devices introduce notes which are not actually part o f the melody

NEIGHBOR NOTES
Any melody note can be preceded by one or more neighbor notes. A neighbor note may lie: UPPER NEIGHBOR NOTES LOWER NEIGHBOR NOTES

1. 2.

A half step above the melody note A whole step above the melody note

3.
4.

A half step below the melody note A whole step below the melody note

Examples Melody Note


1.

2.

3.

4.

IMPORTANT: NEIGHBOR NOTES MUST RESOLVE TO MELODY NOTES


The question of which neighbor notes t o use. is largely a matter of taste and style. In the music of the 20's and 301s, the upper N was usually in the key. That is, i f playing a N to the melody note C you would use a ~b in the key of F minor, but a D natural in the keys of F, C or G major. The lower N was always No. 3, a half step below the melody note. I n the 40fs, however, the emerging modern jazz style began to make use of No. 1 more and more. Listen especially to lines by Charlie Parker and you'll hear many neighbor notes a half step above, regardless of key. No. 4, a whole step below the melody, is usually confined to blue notes such as the lowered 7th.

On the following pages you'll find examples of different types of N. Practice both the straight melody and improvised versions so the various devices get "in your ear."

Neighbor notes = N; resolutions shown by arrow. Other devices not marked. Straight Melody (same as p. 13)

Fast, be-bop style C

Straight phrase

Moderate swing
Dm Dm/C

~b

A7

Dm

Dm/C

~b

A7

etc.

With N

Straight phrase

Ballad tempo
G Em Bm G7 C Cm A7 D7 G

etc.

With N

Straight phrase

Jazz Waltz

With N

Straight phrase

Any melody note can be preceded by more than one neighbor note, but,it is very rare to see more than three. Here are some examples:
Straight Melody

C
I

D/C

FmG/C
I I
I I

C
a8

etc.

With double and triple neighbor notes


N N

Straight Melody
r

etc.

With N

Straight Melody
A .

Gm7

~bmaj7

etc.

With N

Straight Melody

Am7

D7

etc.

Grace notes are special cases of neighbor notes. On guitar they pose a special problem. Usually only the first note is picked; the others, including the melody note, are played by ham'mering down or pulling off the left hand fingers. Play the exercises on these two pages making sure that you pick only where indicated.
Grace note from below.

Play either by hammering down next finger or by sliding up to next note:

Hornmering down Sliding

must use hammer down

must use hammer down

Grace note from above.

Pick the grace note; pull o f f to the lower note.

Double grace note from below.

Pick once; hammer other fingers down:


3rd str. 2nd str.

u w

u w

The note you're going to must be a t least as high as the 2nd fret. Notice the special fingering for C in bar 2 and F in bar 3.

Double grace note from above.

Pick once; pull o f f other fingers.

Remember that all grace note figures must be played on one string. In bar 2, for example, the E is played on the 2nd string 5th fret so that the rest of the figurecan be played on the 2nd string.

MORDENTS
Two types of mordents are used, the ordinary mordent ( w ) and the inverted mordent ( W ). Both are very effective devices when used with taste and restraint. Here's how t o do them:

The Mordent. Play the written note, then the note above it (in whatever scale you're in a t the time), then the written note again. Mordents must be executed on one string.

Written

Played

Only the first note of each mordent is picked. The 2nd note is hammered on, the final note is pulled off. The mordent is a characteristic of the be-bop style that evolved in the early 1940's; listen to Dizzy Gillespie's playing from that period for many examples. (The melody to 52nd Street Theme which Dizzy recorded contains many mordents.)

The inverted mordent. Play the written note, then the note below it (usually a half step regardless of the scale), then the written note again. Inverted mordents must be played on one string. Make sure t o finger the written note with the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th finger, never the 1st finger. Written Played

w w

2 -

w w

l -

Only the first note is picked. The 2nd note is pulled off; the final note is hammered down. The inverted mordent is less used than the mordent, but may be heard a t the end of the first phrase of George Wallington's Godchild.

The inverted mordent (alternate way of playing). Play the written note with any finger. Quickly slide back one fret then back up to the written'note. This fingering will work on any note higher than the 1st fret.

Written

Played

Keep in mind the two words "taste" and "restraint." Any device can become an irritating mannerism if over-used, and this applies especially to the above. The lines on this page should be practiced as written. When playing the ones on page 21, add embellishments as you wish.

Fast
C
A
*C

Am7
*C

Dm7
H

GI1

C
**

Am7
**

Dm7
44

GI1

Moderately Gm7

C7-9

The turn ( cv ) may be described as a combination of mordent and inverted mordent. It is a very pretty effect t o use on ballads on notes with a value of at least two beats (but don't overdo it!). Turns are commonly played in either o f two ways. Study the examples below; then apply them sparingly t o the ballad on page 23.

TURN NO. 1 . Start with the note above the written note, then the written note, then the note a half step below, finally the written note.

Written

Played

or

3 1 1 1

One pick for the four notes in the turn.

TLIRN NO. 2. Start with the written note followed by the note above, the written note, the note a half step below, and finally the written note. Once again. only the first note of the turn is picked.

Written cu
A

Played

As with other types of embellishment, all turns must be played on the same string. Note the fingering in the examples below:

Slowly
5th string 3rd string 5th string
c \ ,

3rd string

4th string
i U
I I , 1

2nd string
I
I

4th string
&
I

2nd string

n I

e
I

r
I

r
I

4th string

2nd string

3rd string

1st string

3rd string

1st string

3rd string

1st string

2nd string

A d d turns and o ther embellishments where desired.

Em7-5

A7-5

Dmaj 7

Part 1 : Diatonic passing tones (DP) are scale passages that connect melody notes separated by a fourth o r more.
For example:
1.
Fourth
I I

A
C

r n n hnrome

F
I
I

2.

Fifth
I
I I I

can become

I r

r
I
l

or the reverse

3.

Sixth
r
I
h

I I

can become

or the reverse

4.

Seventh can become


I

r
1

4
r l t

I
I

or the reverse

1 I

5.
11

Octave
I

,
I

LI , r J

u
I

I
I

e J

rl "

can become

r w r 1I I I
I

or the reverse

It's not a good idea to play these passages too square (evenly). We've only written them this way for ease of reading. A jazz player might play No. 5:

Generally, it sounds better t o accelerate a scale passage towards the end.

The matter of which scale t o use as passing tones is not always an easy matter t o determine. As long as a tune stays in the same key there is no problem. But tunes, especially interesting ones, often have temporary changes of key. Examples of this may be found in I'll RememberApril (4 bars in G, 4 bars

in F, then t o G minor, later t o ~b and other keys) Tea for Two ( 8 bars in ~ b 7 ,bars in C, etc.), and virtually every jazz tune of any sophistication. I f you have some knowledge of harmony, you should be able to determine temporary key changes. This subject is discussed in greaterdetail in Part 3 of this book, "IMPROVISING ON SCALES" (page 56).

The following line is based on the chord changes t o a famous jazz tune. Temporary key changes are marked.

Key of Gm

Key of E b

~brnaj7

~ b 6

Cm7

Gmaj

Am7

Bm7

Em7

Key of G

25

PASSING TONES (cont'd.)


Part 2: Chromatic passing tones (CP) are a series of half steps that connect melody notes. We assume that you know your chromatic scale. If n o t , refer to page 60.

1.
o
I

Fourth
n

can become

m.
I

r u m

CI

r
I

r^ I

or the reverse

2.

Fifth

4.

Seventh

5.

Octave

As with diatonic passing tones, don't play chromatic scale passages too square. You've already learned that the melody note may be anticipated or retarded, so there's no need to arrive at the melody note exactly on the beat. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons classically trained musicians sound

stiff and stilted when they try to play jazz is that they play too precisely. In jazz, the whole effect is that while the accompaniment played by the rhythm section remains steady, the melody goes ahead of and behind the beat, only occasionally coinciding with it.

The first half of this melody has chromatic passing tones written in. I n the second half, use them at will.

Moderate to fast

'

Bm7

~bmaj7

Am11

D7-5

Gmaj7

A very effective device is t o approach a melody note from three half-steps away, above or below. The other fingers are then hammered down or pulled off. I n each case the figure must be played on one string and only the first note is picked.
From below

From above

Play the exercise below with a light swing. It uses the above device more than good taste would allow in an actual solo.

~ b 6 .

2nd str.

Bb7

SLIDES, SMEARS, and TRILLS


Probably because they're so easy t o play, slides have been overdone. So much so, that many, if not most, jazz players never use them. We include them here for completeness.

THE SLIDE FROM BELOW. Start anyplace lower on the fretboard than the note you're heading
to; pick once and slide the same finger up the string, arriving at the final note where it is written, on or off the beat.
Examples
,

slide

slide

, slide

slide

slide

From four frets below

From five frets b ~ l o w

From seven frets below

From nine frets below

From eleven frets below

THE SLIDE FROM ABOVE can also be made from any fret, but good taste dictates n o more
than three or four.

frets above

From five frets above

From seven frets above

From nine frets above

From eleven frets above

Smears also called "bends" and "chokes" are well known t o blues and rock players. They are played by pushing the string across the fretboard, increasing the tension on the string and thus raising i t s pitch. Confusingly enough, the symbols used are either cu or w . Careful arrangers also use the

word "bend"; otherwise there is no way of knowing whether bends, mordents, or turns are meant. Smears are most effective on the higher strings. If you have trouble pushing the string hard enough to change i t s pitch, try using a lighter gauge string.

In the following example, finger G; push the string up to G # .


bend
**

The trill is rarely used in jazz, although some country blues players (e.g. Blind Lemon Jefferson) use(d) them often. Pick once;play the other notes by alternately hammering down and pulling off. Written Played

1 3 1

3 etc.

Part 2 IMPROVISING ON CHORDS

Up to this point, chord symbols above the melody have been for accompaniment only. We will show you how to integrate chords into single string solos.

to include lowered and raised 5ths, lowered and raised Sths, natural and augmented 1lths and 13ths as well as other altered and sometimes rather dissonant chords. In recent years players have introduced superimposed triads (two chords a t the same time), chords extended into scales, totally free form, microtones (intervals smaller than a half step) tone rows (a series of tones always played in the same order backwards, upside down or upside down and backwards), and other more or less successfuI experiments. In this book we will take you as far as gths, 11ths, and 13ths, still the mainstay of most jazz chord progressions.

A chord is a group of three or more notes. In traditional harmony, the notes of a chord were arranged in 3rds, but modern musicians often use other combinations that don't f i t that definition (for example, C sus4-C F G; G 13-5 -G ~b F B E A). In the early period of jazz, most harmony consisted of major, minor, and 7th chords with an occasional diminished. In the 1920's, augmented triads and dominant 9th chords were added.
The swing era (1930-1945) brought in the minor 7th, major and minor 6th, major 7th and major 9th. Starting in the 19401s,jazz harmony was expanded

HOW TO SPELL CHORDS

All chords may be derived from the basic five:


The major chord ( I s t , 3rd, and 5th steps of any major scale) The minor chord ( I s t , lowered 3rd, and 5th steps of any major scale) The 7th chord t l s t , 3rd, 5th and lowered 7th steps of any major scale) The diminished chord ( I s t , lowered 3rd, lowered 5th, and 6th steps of any major scale) The augmented chord ( I s t , 3rd, and raised 5th of any major scale)

Thus, a major 7th chord is a major chord plus the 7th step of the scale. A major 6th (or 6th) is a major chord plus the 6th step of the scale. A minor 7th adds the lowered 7th to a minor chord. A minor +7 chord adds the 7th t o a minor chord. A minor 6th chord adds the 6th to a minor chord. Ninth chords always add a 9th to a 7th chord unless otherwise specified. For example, C9 means C7 plus the 9th step of the scale, D. C major 9th means C major 7th plus the 9th step of the scale. Eleventh chords add the 11th step of the scale to a 9th chord. C11 means C9 plus the 11th step of the C Scale, F. Thirteenth chords add the 13th scale step t o an 1l t h chord. C13 means to add the 13th step of the C scale (A) t o a C11 chord. Thus, each higher numbered chord builds on the one before it. Altered notes are self-explanatory. C7-9 means to add the lowered 9th step of the C scale to a C7 chord. C7 + 5 means t o raise the 5th step of the C scale ( G # )in the C7.

(DL)

HOW TO U S E CHORDS IN A SOLO

First, you must know what notes belong in a chol'd. Take C, for example. The notes are C, E, G . I f any kind of a C major chord is being played as accompaniment, C, E, and G are "free tones." That is, they may be played a t any time in any order. In addition these free tones may be treated as melody notes. Thus, any of the devices learned in Part 1 can be applied to them.

First, learn your chord arpeggios. Since this is not meant to be a book on arpeggios, only one short phrase in the lower positions is given for each chord. Once you have the notes down, mix them up any way you like, preferably with another instrument playing accompaniment.

ARPEGGIO STUDIES O N C
Use (Use alternate picking and iazz phrasing throughout.)

Use for C minor C ~ ( C E ~ G )

c~+~(cE~GB)

Use for

c7

C~(CEGB~)

CS(CEGB~D)

Use for C dim. C O ( C E ~ F # A )

Use for c aug.

C+(CEG#)

Ideally, the above exercises should be played while an accompanying chordal instrument such as guitar or piano plays the indicated chords.

ARPEGGIO STUDIES O N F

Use for

Use
for F minor

F~(FA~C)

Use
for

~7

F~(FACE~)

Use
for

F dim.

FO(FA~BD)

Use
for

ARPEGGIO STUDIES ON 6 b

Use
Bb major

r r v ( ~ v u rh

UvlllaJ I I~~ UI'nI


a

. nf,:

f,

El

II

Use

BC

for minor

~ b m ( ~ b ~ b ~ )

Use
for

B~~(B~D b) F A

Use

~b

for dim.

B~'(B~D~EG)

Use
for

ARPEGGIO STUDIES OR1 ~b

Use

Use

Use
for

~ b 7

E~?'(E~GB~D~)

I
Use Use

~b

for aug.

. E~+(E~GB)

ARPEGGIO STUDIES UN A

~b

Use for major

A~(A~cE~)

Use

Use

Use for Ab dim.

Abo(AbBDF)

Use for ~b aug.

A~+(A~cE)

Use

Dbrnaj7(~b~~b~)

Use

Use

f o r
~ b 7

D~T(D~FA~C~)

D ~ ~ ( D ~ F A b) ~ C ~ E

Use

Use

f o r

~b

aug.

D~+(D~FA)

Use
for

Gb maior

~b(~b~b~b)

Use

Use

Use

F# dim. F t d i r n ( F # ~ c b) E

for

Use
for

ARPEGGIO STUDIES O N B

Use
for

B major

B~~~~(BD#F#A#)

--

Use

Use
for B7

B~(BD#F#A)

Use
for

Use
for

B aug.

Use
for

for

Em(EGB)

I
Use
for

Use
for

Use
for

ARPEGGIO STUDIES O N A

Use
for

Use
for

Use
for

Use
for

Use
for

ARPEGGIO STUDIES UN D

Use
for

D~~~~(DF#Ac#)

I
Use
for

D minor Dm(DFA)

D~+~(DFAc#)

Use
for

D7

D~(DF#AC)

Use
for

Use
for

D aug.

D+(DF#A~)

ARPEGGIO STUDIES O N G
Use
for

Use
for

G~(GB~D) G~+I(GB~DF j# G~~(GB~DF) G ~ G ( G~BD E )

G minor

Use
for

G9(GBDFA)

t -

+ t

Use
for

Use
for

As previously mentioned, it i s more "commercial" (easily understood by the average listener) t o stick close t o the melody when improvising. In Part 1, we learned various devices to embellish the melody and give it a jazz feeling. Our first step in using chord arpeggios will be t o keep the melody intact, but use chord arpeggios t o fill in dead spots, places where the melody sustains a long note or rests.

Below i s the melody t o a medium tempo tune. On page 45 you'll find a jazz version using all the devices learned in Part 1 as well as chord arpeggios used as fill-ins. We are limiting the types of arpeggios t o the five basic sounds in jazz:

1. Maior, major 7th, 6th, major 9th


2. Minor, minor +7, minor 7th, minor 6th

3. Dominant, 7th, 9th, 1 1 th, 13th


4. Diminished

5. Augmented

Straight Melody

Both the melody and the chords have been "jungleized" - simplified to the lowest common denominator. The jazz soloist can now begin t o build on this simple structure. One of millions or billions of possibilities appears on page45 . Original melody notes are circled; chord arpeggio fill-ins are bracketed and labeled.

Comments: This solo is reminiscent of the 1920's and 30's. The chord structure is primitive and the arpeggio figures reflect it. Nevertheless, the solo would have been perfectly acceptable to the audiences of those days because (a) the melody is still recognizable and (b) the arpeggios are all within the chord.

IMPROVISING ON CHORDS (cont'd.)


WHY DIDN'T THE PRECEDING SOLO SOUND MODERN?
Basically, for two reasons:
Important: Any chord arpeggio can be treated like a new melody and can, therefore, be embellished with neighbor tones, passing tones, anticipations, retardations, etc. The possibilities are so enormous, that we'll only be able to suggest some examples:

1. The chord arpeggios were based on simple, unaltered chords.

2. The arpeggios were played without embellishment.

Basic chord arpeggio variations

Above are just a few of the many, many possibilities. You will notice that the rhythm is basically 8th notes and that the original order of notes has been retained. There is, o f course, no reason why you

have to do either. You can play slower or faster notes or mix up the notes of the arpeggio any way you choose. Also, don't forget the other ernbellishments you have learned, the mordent, turn, etc.

IMPROVISING ON CHORDS (cont'd.)


Below, and on the next few pages, are further examples of what may be done with simple arpeggios of C minor, G7, C diminished and C augmented. I f you like the sound of any of these fragments, transpose them t o other keys and chords. Then make up your own.
Basic C m i n o r

Basic G7

Variations

Basic C diminished

Variations

Basic C augmented

Variations

IMPROVISING ON CHORDS (cont'd.)

Added and altered notes As already implied i n the arpeggio studies on pages 32 t o 4 3 , major chords can be altered by adding any combination qf the Gth, major 7th, or 9th. These notes will always sound good in a modern context and can be used almost as freely as chord tones. We say "almost" because neighbor notes don't always sound right when leading t o Gths, 7ths, or 9ths. The best policy is to try them out. I f they sound right t o you, then they're right. This also goes for the lowered 5th (-5). To some people, playing -5 against a major chord sounds too far out; others love the sound. (Listen to records by Lennie Tristano or George Russell for many examples of -5.)

Here are a few variations on a plain major chord using Gths, 7ths, Sths, and an occasional -5.

F major chord

Variations
maj 7 maj 7 N

maj7 9 maj7

(an early be-bop cliche)

Minor chords can also be varied by adding 6th, 7th, and 9th. The 7th can either be the +7 or the 7 depending on the key and your personal taste. Examples below.
F minor chord

Variations

+7

Seventh chords have a whole arsenal of altered notes. These include -5, +5, -9, 9, +9, 11, + l 1, and 13. Below are only a tiny fraction of the possibilities.

Diminished chords can be expanded by adding the +7th, 9th, and 1 1 th. 11

E diminished chord

Variations

+7

Augmented chords can be expanded by adding the 7th, 9th, and

+ 1 1 th.

F augmented

Variations
7

A famous Dizzy Gillespie lick

Blue notes are derived from African sources. They do not actually exist in the Western European tempered scale that we use. Piano players are stuck here, because they cannot alter the pitch of a note, but guitar players can push the string across the fingerboard and thus raise i t s pitch a quarter step, half step or more. Blue notes are usually

described as the lowered 3rd, lowered 5th, and lowered 7th degrees of a major scale. This is not accurate and comes from the fact that early theorists tried to force Afro-American music into a European mold. Actually, blue notes lie between the lowered and the natural note as the example below illustrates.

C maior scale
A

lowered 3rd

"Blue" 3rd

natural 3rd

higher than Eb but lower than Eh

similarly,

lowered 5th

blue 5th

natural 5th

higher than Gb but lower than G h

lowered 7th

Blue 7th

natural 7th

t
higher than B b but lower than Bt(

All blue notes marked with a B. Each one should be pushed about a quarter tone higher than written.

Slow

P7

Blue notes can also be introduced into non-blues type solos as a touch of "funk." Medium Bounce (A la Count Basie)

Dm7

Gm7

C7-5

>

D. C. a1 Fine

Parts 1 and 2 have covered jazz styles up to about 1960. Even today, many jazz players use only the devices we have covered. Does there always have to be a reference to the melody in an improvised solo? No. Many great jazz players in a sense create their own melodies based on the existing chord progression. The usual pattern in a jazz arrangement i s

Introduction: First Chorus: Middle Choruses:

(Usually 4 bars) Front line plays melody in unison or in harmony Individual players take solos based on the same chord progression as the melody. Same as first chorus.

Last Chorus:

It's up to the soloist whether he refers to the melody or not. Some players stick fairly close especially on the first chorus, then get farther and farther away. Others start right out playing only on the chords assuming that since the melody Planning your solo I f you can play great ideas "off the the top of your head," great! Just listen to the rhythm section and blow! But if you don't have that kind of talent, a little planning will go a long way towards helping you create interesting and exciting solos. Know the basic tune thoroughly. That means 1. know the chords and know the melody. Create a 'jungleized' lead sheet; that is, a basic 2. melody and chord sheet reduced to the simplest essentials of notes and chords.

was played once up front and once a t the end, referring to it even more would be repetitious and boring. It's up to you! Jazz is wonderful music, especially because it leaves so much room for self expression.

3. Sketch in the important notes you want t o use in your solo and, if possible, run down some ideas before you're actually in a playing situation. I f you have a tape recorder this can be done easily by feeding the chord changes into i t and trying out various ideas against them.

Ideally, jazz should be totally improvised, completely made up as you go along. But actually, most players have a general idea of what they're going to do before they do it. A few geniuses like Charlie Parker seem to have an endless flow of fresh, exciting ideas. It's fascinating t o listen to different takes of the same tune. Most of the other players sound very similar from take to take, but Parker always comes up with something totally different. . . and usually better than the take before. This might be a good time to suggest listening to the great Bird. Most of his records have been re-issued, and every one is worth listening to and analyzing. Slow them down to half speed and try to copy the solos, on paper if you can, then on the guitar. It's not an exaggeration to say that every modern jazz player owes a great deal to Charlie Parker.

CHARLIE PARKER

Part 3 IMPROVISING ON SCALES AND MODES

In many ways, this type of improvising gives the player the most freedom. He need not concern himself with melody notes or chords. As long as the player keeps within the scale, any note sounds right. Because of i t s free nature, this type of improvisation is hardest to describe on paper. At least with melodies and chords, the player (and the listener) have something t o hang on to. The task of playing scalar improvisations that have line and direction is a formidable one. All too often such solos degenerate into a meaningless display of technique with little or no emotional content. AI l scales and modes are presented in diagram form. The advantage of this is that one scale pattern can be used anywhere up and down the fretboard. The fingering is the usual one finger for each fret except where marked. Once a scale has been mastered, it can be made the basis of all the embellishments learned in Parts 1 and 2. That is, the scale itself becomes the melody which in turn can be embellished with grace notes, mordents, neighbor notes, passing tones, etc.

Major scale pattern No. 1 As given here, with the keynote on the 6th string 3rd fret, the pattern produces the scale of G major. This pattern works from ~b or F # (keynote on the 2nd fret) through G (keynote on 3rd fret), ~b (keynoteon 4th fret), A, ~b , B, C, ~b , D, ~b , E, and F with keynoteon 13th fret.

.
Keynote

Keynote

IVlajor scale pattern IUo. 2 As given here with the keynote on the 5th string 5th fret, the pattern produces the scale of D major. This pattern works from D b (keynote on 5th string 4th fret) through C (keynote on 5th string 15th fret).
Keynote
/

Keynote

Major scale pattern No. 3 As given here, with the keynote on the 6th string 5th fret, produces the scale of A major. This pattern works from A major through ~b major with keynote on 6th string 14th fret.

Keynote

Keynote Note the position shift on the 3rd string.

The jazz minor scale is identical to the major scale except for the 3rd which is lowered a half step in the jazz minor.

C maior scale: .Cjazzminor:

1 C C

2 D D

3 E

Eb

4 F F

5 G

6 A A

7 B B

8 C

Jazz minor scale pattern No. 1 (As given in G 1


Keynote

Keynote

Jazz minor scale pattern No. 2


This pattern works from C# minor up to C minor. (As given, in D minor.) Keynote

Keynote

Jazz minor scale No. 3


This pattern works from A minor up to C# minor Keynote

Keynote

The harmonic minor scale is identical to the jazz minor except for the 6th which is a half step lower in the harmonic minor.
1
Jazz minor : C Harmonic minor : C

2 D D

3 Eb ~b

F F

G G

A Ab

B B

Harmonic minor scale pattern IUo. 1 As given in G minor. Works from F # minor up to F minor.
Keynote

Keynote

Harmonic minor scale pattern No. 2 As given in D minor. Works up to C minor.


Keynote

Keynote

Harmonic minor scale pattern No. 3 As given in A minor. Works up to G minor.


Keynote

Keynote

THE CHROMATIC SCALE


The chromatic scale consists entirely of half steps.
It has no key center and therefore no keynote.

Chromaticscale: C C# D Eb E F

FS

~b A ~b B C etc.

Chromatic scale pattern No. 1 (four notes t o a string).

Chromatic scale pattern No. 2 (five notes t o a string).

THE DIMINISHED SCALE


The diminished scale consists entirely of alternating whole stepsand half steps Cdiminished scale: C D E b F F $ G$ A B C (Either C, Eb, F#, or Acan be the keynote).

Diminished scale pattern (as written, starting on

G).

THE BLUES SCALE


This scale is well known to blues and rock players who make great use of it. I t incorporates all the "funky" notes discussed under blue notes. In C, it looks like C D ~b
Blues scale pattern (as given in F).

~b

(A) ~b

MODES
The ordinary modes are seven in number. As they are simply re-arrangements of the major scale, no new material need be learned. For example, the Dorian mode is the same as the C major scale except starting on D. The Phrygian mode starts on E, etc. Here they are: IONIAN: DORIAN: PHRYGIAN: LYDIAN: MIXOLYDIAN: AEOLIAN: HYPODORIAN CDEFGABC DEFGABCD EFGABCDE FGABCDEF GABCDEFG ABCDEFGA BCDEFGAB

When playing in the above modes the ordinary C rnaior fingering can be used.

PENTATONIC SCALES

These are greatly used in rock and have a limited value in jazz. A pentatonic scale contains five notes. Since the five notes correspond t o the 1, 2, 3 or 4, 5 and 6 of the major scale, no new fingering need be learned.
1. Pentatonic scale on C:

C C

D D

E
F

G G

A
A

2. Pentatonic scale on C:

You will notice that the first scale is another way of saying C6 add 9; the second is an F6 add 9.

HOW TO U S E SCALES IN IMPROVISING


As stated before, a scale can be thought of as an extended chord. For example, take C13 + 11 :

If we rearrange the notes of the chord as a scale, we come up with:

Bb C

F#

(G)

This i s a jazz minor scale based on G. So i f the rhythm section is playing C13 + 11, C9, C7, C7-5, C9 + 11 or almost any C dominant sound, you can play any note in the G jazz minor scale and sound right.

All the devices learned in Parts 1 and 2 can also be applied t o scales, but a great deal of personal taste enters here. Fast grace notes and mordents can be used on any scale or chord tone, but long delayed neighbor notes can sound wrong when resolving to more remote scale tones such as the 9th, 1l t h , and 13th. But here's where you have to be the boss. (Remember, in 1930, added 6ths and major 7ths sounded "far out" and "weird."') So don't be afraid to strike out in new directions. On the other hand, be honest. Don't use sounds that are far out just to raise eyebrows. Make sure they really sound good to you.

Some modern jazz composers are writing pieces that state, for example, "Play 32 bars in the Phrygian mode." In a situation like this, anything goes as long as it's within the mode. This type of improvisation certainly gives the player more freedom than the type that gives you a chord chart. The latter type often leads to a more or less cut and dried "running through the changes" with the player's creativity stifled by the limitations of staying within the chord progression.

ANALYZING CHORD PROGRESSIONS


A detailed discussion of this subject is beyond the scopeof this book, as i t presupposesa thorough knowledge of harmony. However, we can point you in the right direction. Below is the chord progression t o a great jazz standard. The bars have been numbered to make analysis easy.

ANALYSIS

First, taking each two bar phrase, arrange all the chord tones into a scale. Eb maj7 gives us Eb G Bb D; Eb 6 gives us C; to this we can add the 9th, F. Arranging these into a scale we get: Eb F G B ~ C D. This is obviously an Eb scale of some kind. I f

we fill the gap between G and Bb with Ab, we get an Eb major scale; if we use the less obvious Ah, we get a transposed Lydian mode: Eb F G A Bb C D. (This is simply a Bb major scale starting on Eb .)

Using similar methods, Bars 3 and 4 give us the scale G A C D E F # . I f we fill the gap with the expected Bb, we get a G jazz minor scale. The less expected Bh gives us a G major scale. Bars 5 and 6 are the same as 1 and 2. Bars 7 and 8 are a whole step lower than bars 3 and 4. They imply either F jazz minor or F major. Bars 9 and 10 imply either Bbmajor (expected), or Bbjazz minor (less expected). Bars 11 and 12 imply either Ebmajor (expected), or Bbjazz minor (less expected). Fm7, Gm7, and Bars 13 through 16 imply ED major. That is, all the notes in the chords ~ b m a j 7 , ~ b belong 7 t o the Ebmajor scale. The ~ b m chord 7 is a passing chord and may be ignored. Bars 17 through 28 duplicate bars 1 through 12. Bar 29: Ebmajor. Bar 30: The notes in an Abm6 are A b c b E b F. These all belong to the ~ b m a j oscale. r Bars 31 and 32 shift between Ebmajor and ~ b m a j o r . On page 64, you"ll find a "map"' of the same tune as on page 62. This tells you what scales to play and when. Bars are numbered as before.

Ebmaj7

Fm7

Gm7

~ b m 7

Fm7

~ b 7

Ebmaj7
I

~ b 6

Ebmaj7
I

~ b 6
I
I I

Gm7

c7

borh
0

I I

I_
r

1 3 1

Q
borb

bor

A final word. All great jazz players have learned from people who came before. Listen to the greats. Analyze. Imitate. Don't worry about originality. It'll come through as you develop.
I sincerely hope that we've opened a few doors and pointed out a few directions. Good luck!