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Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
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I'm not sure I quite understand the use of the word substitute in the context of scales. A substitute is when you have a given, e.g. a prescribed chord (written by the composer) which is part of a tune's harmony. You then find a substitute chord which works in its place, ie it has a function within the harmony of the tune and can have a greater or lesser degree of dissonance or tension, depending on what you want.

An obvious example is the tritone substitute, so bII7 (edited, thanks JL) is used in a tune which has a written V7.

Seeing as the idea of "using" scales for improvising is nothing to do with what is written in the tune by the composer, it's totally up to the person "improvising" to choose a scale, so there is no original set scale for them to use a substitute.

Of course I'm aware of the Aebersold method of advising a scale that you might use, but that is really not improvising, it's a pedagogical tool to get people started off with having the confidence to play "something" that might have fewer wrong notes (!) than they might otherwise.

I also know there are also some (usually modal) tunes that are written with scales that the composer tells the soloist to use, but these are quite rare, and presumably part of the composition is the performer must use those scales, not supply substitutes, or its against the composer's wishes just as would be playing a written note wrongly.

I much prefer to think of the chord tones, and then make melodies. Any scales that happen in the course of that impro are due to passing notes or suspensions added around the chord tones.

If I sart to try and think "modally" while playing a sequence I find it slows down or stops any meaningful creativity.

e.g. take a simple Dm7 G7 C. I would never ever try to thing D dorian, G mixolydian, C Ionian or whatever.

My approach is to think DFAC, GBDF etc, and make a melodic solo using or abusing those chord tones. Of course, like anyone, I would also throw in various licks or patterns I've ;learned over the years and that might include diminished scale or chord derived patterns - but (and this is the important bit, I don't think of using a diminished because I heard you can substitute a diminished scale for a pre existing scale.

What is going through my head (subconsciously) is "aha, if I play this diminished lick it will sound cool because of the way the b10 suspends onto the b9 then skips down a b5".

But I would never think "hmmm, I know a D dorian is the proper scale for this chord, but I know a diminished can be used instead to sound cooler".

More likely I would think "Dm7? OK that would normally have a C, but I'm going to play a C# in this context, it will be very tense and tease the listener, but I know how to resolve that tension with the voice leading".
 

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Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
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Yes, bII7

but the scales have to be completely automatic and internalized. That's the reason for practicing scales.
Exactly, and you have to know hoe they relate to the chords.

When someone says D dorian "fits" a Dm7, and they play D E F G A B C D in 1/8 notes, then yes it's fitting the chord as the chord tones are on the beats.

BUT

If they play downwards D C B A G F E D then it's a different kettle of fish. So this is a very very flawed approach IMO. Likewise if you say a diminished scale will "fit", it might but would depend on where you place which notes.

What is sad to me is people learning that kind of stuff, without the harmonic knowledge to know why, how, when and whether these scales might or might not "fit" the harmony. Which is why when I hear about "scale substitutes" alarm bells ring.

I don't mean to be dogmatic about this and I'd like to hear some opposing viewpoints.
 

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Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
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Thank you for sharing this. I'm working to learn to play like this. The whole aebersold chord/scale thing is really a waste of time if you're serious about playing
Well, like using the minor blues scale over a whole blues, it's a good way to get people started off very quickly who might otherwise be scared about learning the functional harmony. If it kickstarts somebody into "having a go" it's a good thing as long as they don't get sucked into that method and start thinking it's the be all and end all of improvising.

It's a very tempting tool to use when teaching and you don't have much time (that is a trap I fell into once). Once people start talking about scales as chord symbols, that's when I worry.
 

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Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
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I will sometimes change the Dorian to Harmonic or Melodic Minor.

like if a tune is in D minor...I will play D Minor (Major 7)
and then, I will play C# Diminished.

so....
This

D min / D min / D min / D min /

Turns into:

D Minor (Maj.7) / C# Diminished / D Minor (Maj.7) / C# Diminished /
Yes, great!

I will often do that, it's like implyinmg the V7 b9 over the I min. Even though the rhythm section is chugging away on a D minor, it's absolutely fine for a solist to imply changes that aren't there, or aren't there yet.
 

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Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
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Many people like to hear the major 3rd as a chromatic approach from above to the minor third of the minor chord,
I'd really love to know who these people are.

Actually no, don't send me their address and phone no.

I just wish people liked my wrong notes.
 

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Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
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Pete, I do apologize. Of course I stated that incorrectly. The minor 3rd is approached from a half-step from the b4, not the major 3rd! My contention is that any chord tone (or extension for that matter) can be approached from a half-step above, and these are active tones, as opposed to the passive approach from a half-step below.
Yes, but there are loads of notes that can be used if it's an approach note or a passing note. This is the big problem with saying such and such scale fits a given chord. People learn those associations, without knowing the functions of each note, whether it's a chord tone, passing note or whatever. And how each note has a different implication depending on it's placing in time (on the beat, off the beat etc.)

EDIT:

e.g. a major 3rd on a minor chord can be fine:

Eb E F E Eb C on C minor (though you could make the second E and Fb)

I haven't heard the term active tones.
 
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