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Book on Bebop Scales

3500 Views 6 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  JL
I asked this question within a fading thread, and maybe not many people saw it, so I'm asking it again here. (Sorry about repeating it, if you already saw it.) I wonder if anyone has seen the book Bebop Scales by Scott Black? I read about it online in the "Tucson Citizen":

It sounds pretty good. (But I always think that when I read an advertisement for a jazz instruction book.)

One thing I wonder is, are the bebop scales SO crucial to playing jazz? (I'm not saying they aren't; just asking.) This book makes them central to the music (we're just talking bop and post-bop and other styles that developed out of bop, I guess, but still...). It's funny, because other books, like Levine's, don't give that impression. In Levine, they're just another important scale along with the others, not the "key" to everything. And the book that jazzpianoonline mentioned in the other thread I was talking about (the thread called "Best Music Theory"), Jazz Theory and Practice by Richard Lawn and Jeffrey Hellmer (a fairly long and detailed book, not a brief intro), doesn't mention them at all, as far as I can tell. (Or do they call the bebop scale by another name?)

So two questions:
(1) how good is Scott Black's book?
(2) the bebop scale the most important one?
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The essence of the bebop scales has to do with the chromatic passing tone. I think it's the idea of inserting chromatic passing tones that is really important. If you analyze any solo by Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, etc, you'll find lots of chromatic passing tones that smooth out the eighth (or sixteenth) note line and make it sound good. They aren't always the same passing tone used in the "bebop scale" proper, but often are.

I use the maj7th passing tone and also a chromatic run from the minor or major 3rd up to the 5th a lot when playing blues, so this concept doesn't just apply to bebop either. To restate, I think it's the concept that is important, not any particular scale. You do have to be careful to place the chromatic notes in the right place, usually, but not always, on a upbeat.
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