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  1. #1

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    I'm doing some woodshedding on Jimmy Raney's "Rhythm in Bb" from Abersold's Vol 20 "Jimmy Raney Play-a-long" and have found two distinct and separate diminished runs over the same changes.

    I understand how diminished scales work, but I find Raney's application of them intriguing.

    There are two examples below. Both are over ii7-V7 (C-7 & F7) in the key of Bb, but one uses the fully diminished (Whole-Half) and the other uses the half-whole diminished (Half-Whole).


    Example 1 - Fully Diminished Scale (W-H dim over ii-V):
    How did Jimmy Raney View Diminished Scales?-screen-shot-2020-01-15-3-15-08-pm-png
    Measure 4 from Rhythm in Bb (example is in key of Bb [i.e. staff is Bb & Eb])

    Here, Raney plays a Whole-Half diminished scale starting on C. This run sounds great over the ii-V by hitting the F7's b9 and #9. The lick is returning back to the Bb chord.

    Questions:

    • How is this being applied?
    • Is it "play a fully diminished scale starting on the root of the ii?"
    • What "rule" is he using here?


    Example 2 - Hal-Whole Diminished Scale (H-W over ii-V)
    How did Jimmy Raney View Diminished Scales?-screen-shot-2020-01-15-3-15-20-pm-png
    Measure 8 from Rhythm in Bb (example is in key of Bb [i.e. staff is Bb & Eb])

    Here Raney is again starting from C but uses a Half-Whole diminished scale. This lick is a lead-in to the top of the "A" form.
    Questions:

    • The H-W dim scale used fits as a lick over F7 (F Gb Ab etc...) but the fingering needed to play this suggests different thinking.
    • What "rule" is he using here by starting this on the C (perhaps its just a practiced lick he had?)?


    I feel like there is a "key" here that I am trying to unlock but can't yet fully understand how he applies the use of these two diminished scales .
    Last edited by TheGrandWazoo; 01-16-2020 at 09:45 AM.

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  3. #2

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    I've learned about 8 of those solos, every one a masterpiece of pedagogy. I have noticed also what looks like a diminished arpeggio that he moves into with a half-step--that might be the whole/half thing I don't know. But I see diminished arpeggios all over these solos.

    I looks like you are close by noticing these scales seem to resolve to the major/tonic. Maybe (in Bb) they are altered tritone subs for the F7? That they moved chromatically down into the I chord makes me think a tritone sub of the V7 is in play.

    I haven't got a rule yet either and if we could crack this it would open up a lot of phrases in the other solos.

    You know we had a very long running study group working on the solos that was pretty active for almost 4 years. I still want to learn the remaining two solos.

  4. #3

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    In both the examples you give, perhaps you've overlooked the key signature of two
    flats, ie Bb major.
    Therefore the E's are Eb's ...changes things a bit.

  5. #4

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    Aren't the notes the same in the two examples except for D (ex 1) versus Db (ex 2)?

    Since those notes fall on the "and", I'd say you get away with anything you can resolve rather than getting all "chord scaley". In example 1, I think the D makes more sense than a Db because it is resolving up a half step to Eb. In Example 2, either would work but the Db is cooler (#5 of F7).

  6. #5

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    I have to admit it wouldn’t even occur to me to think of these primarily as diminished scales. To me they are typical bebop lines you can play over the Cm and F7 which happen to incorporate some of the altered notes available on the dominant (F7).

    But I may not be the best person to comment on this, I didn’t really learn jazz in terms of scales, I just copied stuff by various players like Wes, Dexter Gordon, etc. Since they used phrases like these a lot over dominants, these lines sound quite natural to me without thinking about any scale analysis.

    As to how Jimmy Raney thought about it, I don’t know, but interestingly there is a video on YouTube where he says he developed his approach by translating Charlie Parker’s language to the guitar and using his ear.


  7. #6

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    I agree with Graham, I don’t really see a clear cut dim scale run. I doubt Jimmy was thinking dim scale.

    the rules are
    half whole on dominant chords

    whole half on dim chords

  8. #7

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    Joe Diorio tought me something about diminished scales that is priceless:

    ther are ONLY THREE diminished scales
    ..C..Db..D

    now the scale is difficult enough to learn how to apply it with out adding more mystery to the scale

    lets study C Diminished (this is called by many as the Whole/Half dim scale)

    C D Eb F Gb Ab A B

    being that the scale is symmetrical it could also be know as a Eb Gb and A dim scale

    now lets tackle that "other" diminished scale..the Half/whole scale

    B C D Eb F Gb Ab A

    a different scale..right..well..no..same scale just starting on a different note-B (it is NOT the B dim H/W scale--I mean you can call it that but why?)..this may change your approach to the diminished scale and how to apply it

    now if you begin to rip apart the scale to find all the embedded chords..you might be amazed that you are counting over 20 major minor (7 &7b5) and many dominant and alter dom chords
    AND two tri-tone scales (well four actually) (D7b5..Ab7b5) (F7b7..B7b5)

    1 b2 3 b5 5 b7 / D Eb Gb Ab A C // F Gb A B C Eb

    these tritone scales are very cool and can be used in many ways apart ftrom the dim scale..

    please do some homework on this kind of stuff..it will open many new doors to harmonic and melodic exploration

  9. #8

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    I think if you analyse those licks as dim, then the first one is F half-whole, or A/C/Eb dim7 as F7b9. The second is similar, but Db isn't in the dim scale, so just another altered/chromatic note #5. I'm not sure if JR would have thought of it this way or not, but the 1-b9-#9-3 fragment is very common bebop

  10. #9

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    I have no basis for thinking this, but learning a bunch of Jimmy's solos, I tend to thing if the first note of the phrase is on the upbeat, it doesn't "count" as part of the scale/arpeggio being used, but is just a half-step chromatic approach note. That may be totally wrong, but I have found if I want to play an ascending diminished arpeggio, sliding into the first note (which is on the downbeat) from a half-step below (on the preceding upbeat) is one mechanical sort of way to describe what is happening. Being dyslexic I always get half-whole and whole-half hopelessly confused! I think of "kite shaped" diminished arpeggios whose every note can usually be approached by a half-step.

    Primitive, yes; and I'm still not a great bebop player, so take with caution!

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGrandWazoo
    I'm doing some woodshedding on Jimmy Raney's "Rhythm in Bb" from Abersold's Vol 20 "Jimmy Raney Play-a-long" and have found two distinct and separate diminished runs over the same changes.

    I understand how diminished scales work, but I find Raney's application of them intriguing.

    There are two examples below. Both are over ii7-V7 (C-7 & F7) in the key of Bb, but one uses the fully diminished (Whole-Half) and the other uses the half-whole diminished (Half-Whole).


    Example 1 - Fully Diminished Scale (W-H dim over ii-V):
    How did Jimmy Raney View Diminished Scales?-screen-shot-2020-01-15-3-15-08-pm-png
    Measure 4 from Rhythm in Bb

    Here, Raney plays a Whole-Half diminished scale starting on C. This run sounds great over the ii-V by hitting the F7's b9 and #9. The lick is returning back to the Bb chord.

    Questions:

    • How is this being applied?
    • Is it "play a fully diminished scale starting on the root of the ii?"
    • What "rule" is he using here?


    Example 2 - Hal-Whole Diminished Scale (H-W over ii-V)
    How did Jimmy Raney View Diminished Scales?-screen-shot-2020-01-15-3-15-20-pm-png
    Measure 8 from Rhythm in Bb
    Here Raney is again starting from C but uses a Half-Whole diminished scale. This lick is a lead-in to the top of the "A" form.
    Questions:

    • The H-W dim scale used fits as a lick over F7 (F Gb Ab etc...) but the fingering needed to play this suggests different thinking.
    • What "rule" is he using here by starting this on the C (perhaps its just a practiced lick he had?)?


    I feel like there is a "key" here that I am trying to unlock but can't yet fully understand how he applies the use of these two diminished scales .

    My 2 cents, he’s playing the changes,


    ex 1, he implies Cm (c d eb), then hw dim off the root of the dominant. A common approach.


    ex 2, without hearing it in context, I would think of those notes as implying a ii V in minor, C DB Eb outlining the iim7b5, and the same hw dim off the root of V.


    its common to play a minor ii v idea over a major ii v, or to have the chords go minor ii v to Major I.



    All that being said, he probably just heard it and played it.

  12. #11

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    I think in these cases it is important to see/hear where it all goes.
    Bothe excerts do not show the resolutions.. I can sugget what it could be but it would be great to see it.

    Tbh I am often a bit bewildered by complex explanation of these lines...
    just play the melodic line with altered notes... because your ear tells you these altered notes work hear, mostly they add tension and different colour...

    In bop all the altered lines are sort of chormatic appogiaturas... the logis is 'avoiding' or 'postponing' resolutions to chord tones chromatically.. (in respect with rhythm and meter too)
    how you do it is your taste and fancy...

  13. #12

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    The solo cited is one Raney composed and used for years to teach improvisation, so every phrase in it is carefully considered to illustrate some point. So it's not out of line at all to analyze and ponder. This isn't the transcription of a live solo, but a pedagogical piece intended for playing and for study.

    I think it's okay to give context, so here's the first 3 lines that provide context for the cited phrases. Also it's Rhythm Changes and the OP gave the measure number, most of us know how it would resolve at that measure.

    How did Jimmy Raney View Diminished Scales?-screen-shot-2020-01-16-8-26-25-am-jpg

  14. #13

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    Thanks for everyone's replies. They all really helped me answer the question and I now have my answers (which are mine, as in, how "I" see them, you may see it differently).

    I think what is important is that the answers we all have are ALL correct. The answer we see is based on the context of what we already know. So, I may see Ex.1 and apply it as a C dim scale starting on the root of C-7. Someone else will see it differently based on their own context of seeing those notes against chord, etc...

    Also, I updated the OP to include the Bb and Eb in the examples (examples are in key of Bb).

    Thanks again everyone.

  15. #14

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    Late to the party, but hey, it's Raney, so I'll chime in.

    First example: I can see why someone would want to think of this line as belonging to a scale. If you play it around the 8th-10th frets, it certainly feels like you're playing a scale in position.

    But it's so clearly C minor to F7(b9, #9) I don't really think of it that way. It's a V pulling back to a clearly outlined I. Those altered tones are bread and butter jazz. If you think of that whole bar as an F dominant sound, it's an F13b9 and adding the #9.

    Second example, going to the #9 first, then b9 on the way down...if you play the F7 chord those notes again sound naturally a part of an F dominant sound to me, though the line in isolation I can hear as C- to B7#11 to Bbmaj, which of course is a great sound too. But that's me inserting my own thinking.

  16. #15
    I don't think diminished scale is a great place to begin analyzing bebop lines like this. Diminished may be pretty valuable for creating lines in the first place or for knowing what you're hearing/seeing when a player is clearly using diminished approaches. But I don't think that is what Rainey is doing here.

    I think studying some of Barry Harris's material would probably be pretty helpful if you want see some of these things in simpler ways and probably a lot closer to the way that Bird or Rainey heard them.

    The real "diminished connection" for a Barry Harris type approach to playing dominants is in the four related dominant scales which are each a minor third apart.

    So, it's an F7 chord. You can play F dominant, Ab dominant, B dominant or D dominant. That's F7 and its tritone ...and D7(rel. minor) and its tritone. You also learn to play all the iterations of each scale "into" the other. So, F7 into Ab7. Anyway, that's what the first one looks like to me.. Harris's F7-into-Ab7. The second one looks more like straight ahead Ab7. In a lot of ways, you can see the first one as somewhat justifying the second , "opening the door" or "giving you access to".

    I will say THIS: His method is not really an analysis-on-paper method like we're doing here. It's really not going to be easily understood that way. Once you learn to play these basic dominant patterns though , you can superimpose them , and you'll start to see them in other lines.

    On paper, the thing which is easier to PLAY may look more convoluted and vice versa. It's really a PLAYING thing.

  17. #16

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    Matt nailed it.

  18. #17
    I hear that second "diminished" run a bit differently. When I play through the solo as presented by Lawson I hear that Db (in measure 8) as a passing tone in in a chromatic C-Db-D run where the final D note occurs at the beginning of measure 9.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manos de Cement
    I hear that second "diminished" run a bit differently. When I play through the solo as presented by Lawson I hear that Db (in measure 8) as a passing tone in in a chromatic C-Db-D run where the final D note occurs at the beginning of measure 9.
    almost same for me... but I will take it even further maybe... like Cm7 goes to Bb and all the stuff on F7 is kind of embelishment around it and it begins with Db note...

    but I often hear ii-v-i as ii-v...

  20. #19

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    Sometimes just a couple of out notes, color tones, (or whatever you want to call them) imply a particular scale. I doubt that Jimmy Raney considered this type of passage as a diminished scale, but I could be wrong. I saw him at a jazz clinic a couple years around 1990, and I don't remember him ever mentioning the diminished scale. I could be wrong, because I was pretty awe-struck. Let's face it - it was Jimmy Raney.

  21. #20

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    *I agree that Raney was just playing what he learned and worked, and not thinking about what dim run to add, etc... But that does'nt mean we cant!

    I know, this is too in the weeds, but its fun from a theory point of view and great way to see the mechanics of WHY it works.

    _______________________________________


    If we look at Alan Kingstone's Harris Method book Chapter 2.6(p28) and apply Ex1 and Ex2, we see that:

    Ex1: Is a IV diminished chord run.
    What is IVdim?:
    • (C-D-Eb-F-Gb-Ab) is a Cdim scale run. Cdim(II) = Ebdim(IV) = Gbdim(bVI) = Adim(VII)

    How it works?:
    • "Four diminished (IVdim) is found on the third of five Dom7 (V7) and resolves to ONE(I6)."

    Ex2: Is kind-of-is-a I diminished chord lick.
    What is Idim?:
    • The lick is (C-Db-Ab-Gb-F-Eb)
    • Idim is (C-Db-Eb-E-Gb-G-A-Bb). (I agree this lick is more an enclosure.)

    How it works?:
    • "One diminished (Idim / bIIIdim) resolve to both one (I6 / IIIm7) and two (IIm7 / IV6)".

  22. #21

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    Right, analyzing the WHY--there's no harm.

    Thinking as you're playing or practicing, it makes a lot more sense to me to just understand that those notes sound good and that they're always available on the V.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Right, analyzing the WHY--there's no harm.

    Thinking as you're playing or practicing, it makes a lot more sense to me to just understand that those notes sound good and that they're always available on the V.
    I agree. Raney did it more by ear, to do it ourselves, it can help to think in terms of method or theory.

    I still see most of Raney's diminished sounding runs as functioning chromatically; the resolution is usually a half step, so that I am increasingly just seeing the diminished lines a like a tritone of the dominant relative to whatever the line is going to.

    It won't fit all the examples, but it will fit a lot. I should play through all those solos I know and spot the diminished phrases and see if I can detect some rule of thumb.

  24. #23

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    Now that we have the transcription, I agree that the C-Db in measure 8 is part of a chromatic run, continued with D-Eb-Enat-F in the next measure.

    I also see measures 4 and 8 as related - they are at the ends of their 4 bar units, right?. Measure 4's Eb-F-Gb-Ab is answered with measure 8's Ab-Gb-F-Eb.

    I still don't feel the need to bring up diminished scales, tho.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles
    Now that we have the transcription, I agree that the C-Db in measure 8 is part of a chromatic run, continued with D-Eb-Enat-F in the next measure.

    I also see measures 4 and 8 as related - they are at the ends of their 4 bar units, right?. Measure 4's Eb-F-Gb-Ab is answered with measure 8's Ab-Gb-F-Eb.

    I still don't feel the need to bring up diminished scales, tho.
    I agree; while "technically" maybe it's scale, playing it, I think more of chord-shape based phrase with a chromatic lead-in and resolution.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGrandWazoo
    I'm doing some woodshedding on Jimmy Raney's "Rhythm in Bb" from Abersold's Vol 20 "Jimmy Raney Play-a-long" and have found two distinct and separate diminished runs over the same changes.

    I understand how diminished scales work, but I find Raney's application of them intriguing.

    There are two examples below. Both are over ii7-V7 (C-7 & F7) in the key of Bb, but one uses the fully diminished (Whole-Half) and the other uses the half-whole diminished (Half-Whole).


    Example 1 - Fully Diminished Scale (W-H dim over ii-V):
    How did Jimmy Raney View Diminished Scales?-screen-shot-2020-01-15-3-15-08-pm-png
    Measure 4 from Rhythm in Bb (example is in key of Bb [i.e. staff is Bb & Eb])

    Here, Raney plays a Whole-Half diminished scale starting on C. This run sounds great over the ii-V by hitting the F7's b9 and #9. The lick is returning back to the Bb chord.

    Questions:

    • How is this being applied?
    • Is it "play a fully diminished scale starting on the root of the ii?"
    • What "rule" is he using here?


    Example 2 - Hal-Whole Diminished Scale (H-W over ii-V)
    How did Jimmy Raney View Diminished Scales?-screen-shot-2020-01-15-3-15-20-pm-png
    Measure 8 from Rhythm in Bb (example is in key of Bb [i.e. staff is Bb & Eb])

    Here Raney is again starting from C but uses a Half-Whole diminished scale. This lick is a lead-in to the top of the "A" form.
    Questions:

    • The H-W dim scale used fits as a lick over F7 (F Gb Ab etc...) but the fingering needed to play this suggests different thinking.
    • What "rule" is he using here by starting this on the C (perhaps its just a practiced lick he had?)?


    I feel like there is a "key" here that I am trying to unlock but can't yet fully understand how he applies the use of these two diminished scales .
    Hey have you learned the entire solo? It would be fun if you'd post your clip of the solo. That one drove me crazy but it's a lot of fun to play. Lots of wonderful bop vocabulary. If you wouldn't mind, I'm always up to hear how others interpret these solos.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    Hey have you learned the entire solo? It would be fun if you'd post your clip of the solo. That one drove me crazy but it's a lot of fun to play. Lots of wonderful bop vocabulary. If you wouldn't mind, I'm always up to hear how others interpret these solos.
    I'm stealing those shifted m7 arps in bars 11 & 12!

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles
    I'm stealing those shifted m7 arps in bars 11 & 12!
    Every measure of that solo is imminently "steal-able" and I love those two you mentioned.