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  1. #1

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    Hi, I'm new here!

    And fairly new to jazz as well, although I use a lot of jazz chords to accompany my voice.
    I want to get into improvisation, but I'm a bit overwhelmed by the complexity of it.

    Is there such a thing as a jazz scale? What are the most common scales used in jazz?

    Thanks!

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    That's a bit hard to answer as there are a lot of choices. In jazz, often the chords will depart from the key of the moment, and the related scales will be following those chords.

    If your were to give a specific chord progression that would focus the discussion a bit.

    And welcome to the forum.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by SophieB
    What are the most common scales used in jazz?!
    I’d have to say, the chromatic scale and its derivatives.

    There are various schools and approaches, some of them pretty esoteric. As a beginner, though, you can get a lot of mileage out of the major, dominant (aka mixolydian) and jazz melodic minor (i.e. same ascending as descending) scales. Practice them in thirds, sixths, tenths and octaves, and as triads. Learning to harmonize the major scale in triads and 4-note (7th) chords is a good way to start.

  5. #4

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    Hi, welcome to the forum. No, there is no jazz scale. Jazz sounds the way it does because it uses a bunch of different chords, scales, and other devices. The most basic way to start learning jazz improv would be to practice simple 2-5-1s in major and minor. You get started on this by learning the scale to the key you're in, learning the arpeggios and scales to the chords in the chord progression, and learning melodies that fit over these chords.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    Hi, welcome to the forum. No, there is no jazz scale. Jazz sounds the way it does because it uses a bunch of different chords, scales, and other devices. The most basic way to start learning jazz improv would be to practice simple 2-5-1s in major and minor. You get started on this by learning the scale to the key you're in, learning the arpeggios and scales to the chords in the chord progression, and learning melodies that fit over these chords.
    I recommend learning a song like Satan Doll as a way to tie the sound practice tips provided here to a song one can swing too.

  7. #6

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    Hi SophieB!

    I agree with fep, an example song would be a good way to start things off. Jazz improvisation may be conceived from various conceptual perspectives, some based on the idea of scales. Most of these perspectives (key scale, melody, chord scale, chord tone, etc.) overlap their contents, conceptual applications, and relationships.
    But things are not always complex; things that can be analysed from a complex perspective (or multiple complex perspectives) may often have actually been viewed and created by the improviser from a simple perspective.

  8. #7

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    Hi Sophie

    under this link:

    http://www.cs.hmc.edu/%7Ekeller/jazz...roviseJazz.pdf

    you'll find a detailed "Beginners way to improvise Jazz" - Tutorial, it's free to download.

    It contains also (Appendix) tables of chord/scale relationship and more.

    It's from one of the minds behind the Improvisor Software (free too) you'll find here:

    <b>"Write the solo that you'd love to be able to improvise."</b>

    There is also a comprehensive Booklet by Jamey Aebersold called "How to improvise" (105 Pages) It's the booklet to his very first play along CD. Don't know about the legal status so I'll not provide a link here. Google finds it for free download on Google Docs though.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by SophieB
    Hi, I'm new here!

    And fairly new to jazz as well, although I use a lot of jazz chords to accompany my voice.
    I want to get into improvisation, but I'm a bit overwhelmed by the complexity of it.

    Is there such a thing as a jazz scale? What are the most common scales used in jazz?

    Thanks!
    C6 diminished scale
    Cm6 diminished "
    C7 diminished "
    C7b5 diminished "

    Welcome !...that's at least a years work.

  10. #9

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    Barry’s scales and their applications are a bit advanced for a newby. Barry has often said that (and I’m paraphrasing) there’s much to be learned from the major scale.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by SophieB
    Hi, I'm new here!

    And fairly new to jazz as well, although I use a lot of jazz chords to accompany my voice.
    I want to get into improvisation, but I'm a bit overwhelmed by the complexity of it.

    Is there such a thing as a jazz scale? What are the most common scales used in jazz?

    Thanks!

  12. #11

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    If you've only got one scale to work with, I'd put my money on the major scale.





    .

  13. #12

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    Some professor types would say no, Jazz is a style.

    Neither diatonic scales and their modes, nor symmetric scales, are owned by or started by jazz. And of course so called “exotic” scales came from countries outside of Western Europe.

    I guess you could throw in bebop and blues scales if you wanted to make a point.

  14. #13

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    You should play jazz for a year before ever even thinking about playing a scale.

    I just made that up. But I believe it.

    But for an actual answer to your question, the major scale and melodic minor (same ascending and descending)

    But really. No damn scales.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    You should play jazz for a year before ever even thinking about playing a scale.

    I just made that up. But I believe it.

    But for an actual answer to your question, the major scale and melodic minor (same ascending and descending)

    But really. No damn scales.
    I agree. I've known people who got so caught up in perfecting their scale playing that they never got around to playing music. Learn songs. Listen to lots of versions of those songs, including vocal versions. Copy a few licks that you really like and modify them to your liking.

    I'd only add that a good teacher can really help you zone in on what you need to be doing. Everybody seems to want to glean all the free information they can get from the internet, but that can easily overwhelm you. A lot of it won't necessarily be appropriate for your level and a lot of it isn't even really all that good. A good teacher will find out what you do and don't know. They'll spoon feed you what you need when you're ready for it. That's what you need at first. They'll also keep you focused and keep you accountable. If you don't know one, get out and hear some of the best jazz musicians in your community and ask them who you should study with. You'll probably get some great recommendations. And you'll hear some good live playing, which is something you should be doing anyway.

    Good luck with your journey.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by jameslovestal
    I recommend learning a song like Satan Doll as a way to tie the sound practice tips provided here to a song one can swing too.
    I’m always calling it Satan Doll from now on

    the most useful scales for jazz are
    - major
    - the diatonic minor scale (natural, melodic and harmonic)
    - the chromatic

    But you have to learn to outline harmonies. The scales aren’t really so important on their own.

  17. #16
    Every scale is a jazz scale. I'm not being glib here when I say that. Jazz is the means by which any scales you choose, any arpeggios you feel appropriate, any one note can be used to create a very personal statement that follows the sound of a piece with which you work/play with.
    The evolution of scale based thinking may go back to blues, but jazz is a long way from there. I think it hinders your ear, knowledge and attitude to think of the jazz experience to a scale.
    Listen to jazz. Learn to love it before you learn to play it. You may find it a strange new world, but you should pick up on the attitudes that answer the question "what is jazz?" and what does it feel like; how is it unique?
    Jazz is the music that allows you to use all or any resources available to you to make your own.

  18. #17

    'Somehow, I suspect that if Shakespeare were alive today, he might be a jazz fan himself—he’d appreciate the combination of team spirit and informality, of academic knowledge and humor, of all the elements that go into a great jazz performance. And I am sure he would agree with the simple and axiomatic statement that is so important to all of us—
    when it sounds good, it is good."
    Duke Ellington

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by pcjazz
    I’d have to say, the chromatic scale and its derivatives.
    Isn't the chromatic scale all 12 notes after each other? How can that help me improvise?

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by jameslovestal
    Satan Doll

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by FwLineberry
    If you've only got one scale to work with, I'd put my money on the major scale.
    That's what I do mostly...
    On Autumn Leaves I use G major, but it sounds dull after a while...

  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    But really. No damn scales.
    What should I focus on first?

  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by SophieB
    Isn't the chromatic scale all 12 notes after each other? How can that help me improvise?
    By learning to use them and by using your ear to sort the potential within.

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by SophieB
    What should I focus on first?
    Listening. Making simple melodies, but not limiting yourself to a particular scale. Can you play by ear? Can you find a note that you can hear as "DO" and play a familiar tune; play a melody by ear?
    Can you listen to something familiar and sing a nice accompanying melody or pretty embellishing tune? That's jazz.
    Maybe listen to someone like Ella Fitzgerald and listen to what she's doing while she's NOT thinking about scales. That's jazz.

    Next might be familiarizing yourself with the basics of diatonic harmony and melody. Immerse yourself and the answers you get will lead to questions that will take you there.
    Could be-

  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by SophieB
    That's what I do mostly...
    On Autumn Leaves I use G major, but it sounds dull after a while...
    Put the guitar down. Sing a solo only using only rhythm. Still sound dull?
    Rhythm and space takes you out of the realm of notes and scales. And that's where the music is.

  26. #25

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    Another idea… take the first four notes of Autumn and play with them. Try different timings, add grace notes, passing tones, octaves, whatever. all the while either singing or humming (my wife hates when I do that)))
    And… listen to jbn!