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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
I actually think chord/scale relationships are extremely important to know, for things like arranging (if you're voicing out/harmonizing a melody and want to use diatonic planing you need to know what scale to use) and sight reading chord changes - both of which I think are important skills to have as a jazz musician. When you improvise it's not usually a good idea to just think chord/scale chord/scale chord/scale all the time, and you need to know the harmony and voice leading of a tune as well, but every professional jazz musician I've been taught by knows their chord/scale relationships inside out. I think it's something that you need to have down good enough that you DON'T ever have to think about it while soloing, so that you can focus on more important things like melody and listening to the band.
 

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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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I actually think chord/scale relationships are extremely important to know, for things like arranging (if you're voicing out/harmonizing a melody and want to use diatonic planing you need to know what scale to use) and sight reading chord changes - both of which I think are important skills to have as a jazz musician. When you improvise it's not usually a good idea to just think chord/scale chord/scale chord/scale all the time, and you need to know the harmony and voice leading of a tune as well, but every professional jazz musician I've been taught by knows their chord/scale relationships inside out. I think it's something that you need to have down good enough that you DON'T ever have to think about it while soloing, so that you can focus on more important things like melody and listening to the band.
What i mean is that learning to improvise by voice leading, chords etc is the correct way to do it. What I disagree with is the paint by numbers way of explainging harmony that d major scale fits over a d major chord anyway you play it
 

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Once people start talking about scales as chord symbols, that's when I worry.
Right. This is where it can go too far, because a scale is definitely not a chord.

But we have to be very careful not to 'throw the baby out with the bathwater.' I don't think piwikiwi really meant a scalar approach is totally useless (I hope not). Scales are important for all sorts of reasons, so I wouldn't entirely reject them, even, or especially, in how they relate to chords (and I know nobody is suggesting that and Pete already made this point). But all too often I've read something on here such as "don't use blues scales," or "pentatonics are too simple," or "never do this or that." Which is an over-reaction. The idea is not to overuse blues scales or pentatonic scales, when it would be more effective to mix in a more harmonic approach along with those blues scales (or other scales). And of course it's HOW you use all these devices that matters.
 

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Right. This is where it can go too far, because a scale is definitely not a chord.

But we have to be very careful not to 'throw the baby out with the bathwater.' I don't think piwikiwi really meant a scalar approach is totally useless (I hope not). Scales are important for all sorts of reasons, so I wouldn't entirely reject them, even, or especially, in how they relate to chords (and I know nobody is suggesting that and Pete already made this point). But all too often I've read something on here such as "don't use blues scales," or "pentatonics are too simple," or "never do this or that." Which is an over-reaction. The idea is not to overuse blues scales or pentatonic scales, when it would be more effective to mix in a more harmonic approach along with those blues scales (or other scales). And of course it's HOW you use all these devices that matters.
No of course not it's just basic vocabulary but jazz is more than just scales
 

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A bit off-topic but It's interesting to me that I frequently read here not to play the whole scale. While I agree that's not how to create a solo, it can be kinda cool within a solo. Lets say you're playing along and end up on a high D. I'll take whatever scale / scales I'm using and (playing 64th notes) run the entire scale down past the break to a low D and then jump to whatever it is you're going. It comes off as sort of a flurry of notes within a solo - more an accent than anything else.
I tend to do this starting at the bottom and run up to the top and back down to the bottom as one very fast slur, then off to the next place. Sometimes I do a chromatic run over a few notes as a fill to get me to the next phrase.

I also like to take a scale and trill it using the next note in the scale and walk it down (or up) that way too. Perhaps its not that useful in jazz improvization, but it works great with the blues...
Oh, I like that. I'll try to do that next time -- if I can think of it while soloing. Mostly, my mind is on vacation and my mouth and fingers are working overtime. I could also do that chromatically. I sometimes play a few notes of the scale as a phrase, then move it up or down a note at a time for a couple of bars.
 

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No of course not it's just basic vocabulary but jazz is more than just scales
That's right. Music, jazz included, is more than just scales. My last post was not all that clearly written, so just to clarify, when I mention using a scale, I mean using the notes from that scale to form melodies. And I've never found the chord/scale approach to work all that well, except, as Pete says, to get in the game. Knowing the chords and using chord tones and guide tones (3rds & 7ths) is much better for sounding the harmony, but of course you still need to play melodically so that's only a template. I'm not saying I'm all that great at doing this, and I'm definitely not a master improviser, so take what I say with a grain of salt. It's just my own observations and experience.

In all fairness to Aebersold, he also points out that scales are only a means to an end, not to be run into the ground mindlessly. There is a danger in taking the chord/scale approach too literally, but it is useful to understand the relationship between chords and scales, as well as the fact they are not the same thing.
 

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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
I don't like to always disagree with everything - and to everyone who says "you have to hear the tones individually," I absolutely agree. BUT as an arranger and pianist, I certainly have to be aware of chord/scale relationships and try in some way to match them up. It starts with being able to identify intervals against the root or bass (instantly by ear). It also consists of leaving some room for the soloist (just playing 3rd and 7th). It has to do with knowing cliches, such as using 3 different melodic minors on the minor ii-V-i (or on a major II-V-I, the roots being a third higher). Without cliches and conventions, jazzers who have never played together before wouldn't be able to play a casual gig and create a unified product. And without them the audience would certainly not be able to follow what's going on or enjoy it. BUT...at least once in each solo I like to surprise the audience, maybe even the musicians, with some sounds that are less familiar, but still understandable as extensions of known harmonies and pleasant combinations of overtones.

Chord scales, especially those consisting of seven tones, are actually just what the name implies: CHORDS. For instance:
F Lydian = Fmaj13#11
D Dorian = Dm13
G13#11#9b9 = G HW diminished scale
Cm7#11 = C Rumanian (C, D, Eb, F#, G, A, Bb = 4th mode G harm min)
Cm(maj7)13#11 = C Melodic Rumanian
G7#9b9#5b5 = G Super Locrian or 7th mode melodic minor
G17 = G Mixolydian (basically a sus13 chord with the root and third stacked on top)

All of the above are reasonably harmonious constellations of tones - not all scales fare as well as chords, for instance the major scale on a major chord. If I arrange a C major scale as a harmonious constellation with C in the bass, then it would have to be an Fmaj13#11 over C or Dm13 over C. Same for A natural minor, the harmonious chords are Dmin or Fmaj over A bass. Same in Phrygian. Why? The half step intervals have to occur as maj 7ths and not as min 9ths.

Where do you use such huge chords, and don't they get in the way? That's where listening comes in, and building with a soloist. But if I hear that he/she hits the 7th mode of melodic min. every time on V7- i min, then I can run that whole scale with the pedal down at an important cadence point to build excitement (a lot of pianists do it, especially in the melody accompaniment).

To respond more specifically to the quoted comment, I would add that Aebersold did not invent the chord/scale relationships. They have been forged through centuries of composition. If you talk about more contemporary tonalities like jazz melodic minor, think of Debussy, Ravel, Gershwin, Strayhorn, Ellington...it's all there. The way improvisation is taught stems from the creativity of Bird, Dizzy, Coltrane, and others. Aebersold presents it in a way that is typical to jazz pedagogy and theory, and, just as is the case with classical theory, it's derived from what the masters did and still do. The masters create, the teachers (many of whom are also masters) analyze, organize, and propogate.
 

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now we are blurring the line between musical theory and philosophy [rolleyes]
Sorry, Mike. It was more an attempt at analogy and a feeble attempt at humor. But on a philosophical note, I would say that this forum is wonderful because of the dialectical process happening. It's the most powerful engine of truth that exists.
 

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Sorry, Mike. It was more an attempt at analogy and a feeble attempt at humor. But on a philosophical note, I would say that this forum is wonderful because of the dialectical process happening. It's the most powerful engine of truth that exists.
No worries man I caught the humour in your post. Hope you caught the humour in mine :bluewink:
 

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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 /
 

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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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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.
If they aren't there then it probably means that your piano player is not paying attention:')
 

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I was thinking about this, in addition to using the regular dimished (whole and half) scale uses, (like 7b9 and dim7 chords) can you/do you substitute the diminished scale over minor 7th chords in more modal tunes? Do people do this? Which version of the scale would I use scale?

I was recently playing Maiden Voyage with some guys and one guy did this killer solo that was quite out of the box, and when I asked him about substitutions he just said "diminished" but I'm not really understanding it.

It seems there's a million and two interesting things to substitute and play over most tunes and chords (esp dom 7 chords, or take a look at Parker's blues!!), but on more modal minor tunes I struggle more. I get fed up playing Fsharp m7 and Am7 over and over in Maiden Voyage, or equally something like Impressions. What can I do to spice minor chords up and make these tunes more interesting?
Would I use the A half-whole or the A whole step diminished scale over the Am7 chord for example?

Just looking for suggestions as to what others substitute in these tunes.
cheers
Since this thread has died down somewhat, and since saxdude has not checked back in, I'd like to reemphasize a point about Maiden Voyage: The first chords are not minor, they are dominant.

concert pitch: A section : D9sus4 - F9sus4 :
B section Eb9sus4 - C#m(maj7)
Of course, if you use Mixolydian over the sus chords, it's the same as using Dorian over the minor 7 chord a fifth above the bass. It's just that when you enter the question of which diminished scale to use, this difference has to be considered. It's really the distinction between a ii m7 in major or a tonic i min. A tonic i may take Dorian, but most jazzers tend toward melodic minor, especially if it's minor blues or a similar progression. iv min in the minor tonality would also usually take Dorian, or Rumanian is a nice variation on this. ii m7 could also take melodic minor, but that's a more specific flavor, and would be followed by an altered dominant. If you'd like to hear some extended use of melodic minor in various modes, follow this link and scroll down to the 3rd example. Michael Sorg Music - Theory
 

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It seems to me that, say, a dmin7 chord can be thought of as a D7alt9 chord, in which case the d diminished (half, whole step) scale would sound OK. I'll have to try that.
 

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It seems to me that, say, a dmin7 chord can be thought of as a D7alt9 chord, in which case the d diminished (half, whole step) scale would sound OK. I'll have to try that.
The distinction between a tonic function dom7#9 and a min7 has been blurred for many years, for sure. Most funk and soul charts which stay on I dom7#9 for awhile use the Dorian mode for the melody and harmony of say, the horn parts, as well as the main melody. Often the only instrument playing the dom7#9 is the rhythm guitar. Even keyboards and organ are riffing primarily Dorian.

As far as the diminished scale goes over min7...well, the chord is definitely in there! It's an unusual way of connecting the dots, but as long as you don't emphasize the major third too much, putting it on the beat, it works for me. Many people like to hear the major 3rd as a chromatic approach from above to the minor third of the minor chord, usually like a grace note. If you alternate the Ab maj triad with the D min triad, you get a Locrian related sound, unique and exotic. Or alternating Dm6 with Abm6...very nice! Alot of cool patterns can be constructed from say the tones of D Rumanian that are present: D, F, G#, A, B, C, than playing the same thing a tritone away. But definitely not for your Top Forty band, and certainly not for beginners.
 
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