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  1. #1

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    For instance B minor over Cmaj7
    I'm studying Scofield's solo over All The Things. Lot of wonderful ideas in it. I notice that he's often playing minor pentatonic ideas down a half step from a Maj7 chord. I suppose that is a way of implying a Lydian sound over the major chord.



    Thing is though, that he will regularly also play the 9 of the minor scale, in effect playing both the b9 and natural 9 of the major chord (e.g. C# and D over a C chord). Is there a theoretical or formal reason why that works, or is it just cause he's John Scofield and he knows how to get away with making it sound cool. ?

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  3. #2

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    How long does it last? Coming between what and what?

    Also, I suppose, which minor scale? Natural, harmonic, melodic, some other exotic scale? Or did Sco just throw a lot of Bm-type notes at it?

    Got a transcription? Preferably of more than one example of it on different tunes.

    Context, you see. Context is all.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Average Joe
    For instance B minor over Cmaj7
    I'm studying Scofield's solo over All The Things. Lot of wonderful ideas in it. I notice that he's often playing minor pentatonic ideas down a half step from a Maj7 chord. I suppose that is a way of implying a Lydian sound over the major chord.



    Thing is though, that he will regularly also play the 9 of the minor scale, in effect playing both the b9 and natural 9 of the major chord (e.g. C# and D over a C chord). Is there a theoretical or formal reason why that works, or is it just cause he's John Scofield and he knows how to get away with making it sound cool. ?
    Probably the latter haha. You can find a theoretical reason I’m sure, but it turns out that style, phrasing and time are nine tenths of the law…

  5. #4

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    I think the answer is in your original post. B pentatonic minor hits the maj7, 9, maj3, #11 or b5, and 6.

    The Db could just simply be seen as an approach note to the 9. More difficult theories will doubtless emerge.

    Many players have a skeleton outline in mind, to which they add some meaty chromaticism by way of approach notes.

    Well, that’s my take on what you describe. I’m sure others will chime in.

    I’d also add “the Blues note”, e# to the B Pentatonic minor.

  6. #5

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    Barry Greene talks about using a Dim7 based off the 7th as a substitution when the major chord is played for an extended period (a measure or 2). Are you hearing the natural 5th (like a B Minor in your example), or could it be the dim7 sub that Greene talks about?

    Think of the first chords in “Spring is Here”.

  7. #6

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    Against Cmaj7,

    Bm gets the nat7, 9 and #11. So, what you hear is C E G B D F#. That Cmaj7#11 or Clydian.

    If you play Bm9, you are adding the A (turning that Cmaj7#11 into a Cmaj13#11, more or less) and adding a C#.

    C sharp. What a spectacular note against Cmaj7! And to think that some of us (like me, for instance) would avoid it.

    It's going to need a line strong enough to create bitonality in the audience, or something. Or it's a passing tone. Or it's left over from the previous chord or anticipating the next one. Or something.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    How long does it last? Coming between what and what?

    Also, I suppose, which minor scale? Natural, harmonic, melodic, some other exotic scale? Or did Sco just throw a lot of Bm-type notes at it?

    Got a transcription? Preferably of more than one example of it on different tunes.

    Context, you see. Context is all.
    He does it in different places. One example is over Cmaj in the 2. chorus (third chorus with the band). There's a downwards line F#-E-D-E-D#-A-B. At least that's how I hear it.

    And good idea looking into other solos of his, thanks.

  9. #8

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    Wow, that is pretty cool! The only time I've personally done this sort of thing is when improvising over the Fmaj7 chord in "Nardis". The F# from the E minor scale does get pretty dissonant if it's rested on, but it makes for a nice passing tone. Personally, I think my ear likes it because it's the natural ninth on the Em7 chord in that tune.

    Then again, it makes sense for a "#15" (Jacob Collier's words, not mine) to be present in Lydian tonality. Consider that the entire Lydian scale comes from stacking perfect fifths on the fundamental tone of the scale. I could build a Lydian scale on C just by stacking fifths (C, G, D, A, E, B, F#), but who says we need to stop at seven notes? If this were instead an octotonic scale (8 notes), the next note would come from stacking another fifth on top of the F#, giving us a C#. When viewed in this way, it seems perfectly natural that a #15 could be present on a major chord. I think viewing it as a #15 makes more sense than viewing it as a b9, because not only is a natural ninth already present in the Lydian scale, but the way that the #15 is derived makes it clear that it is a sharp, not a flat.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by cfwoodland
    Wow, that is pretty cool! The only time I've personally done this sort of thing is when improvising over the Fmaj7 chord in "Nardis". The F# from the E minor scale does get pretty dissonant if it's rested on, but it makes for a nice passing tone. Personally, I think my ear likes it because it's the natural ninth on the Em7 chord in that tune.

    Then again, it makes sense for a "#15" (Jacob Collier's words, not mine) to be present in Lydian tonality. Consider that the entire Lydian scale comes from stacking perfect fifths on the fundamental tone of the scale. I could build a Lydian scale on C just by stacking fifths (C, G, D, A, E, B, F#), but who says we need to stop at seven notes? If this were instead an octotonic scale (8 notes), the next note would come from stacking another fifth on top of the F#, giving us a C#. When viewed in this way, it seems perfectly natural that a #15 could be present on a major chord. I think viewing it as a #15 makes more sense than viewing it as a b9, because not only is a natural ninth already present in the Lydian scale, but the way that the #15 is derived makes it clear that it is a sharp, not a flat.
    That's an interesting idea. I dunno if it's too advanced for where my playing is atm, but I'll make a note of it. Maybe I can make something of it at a later date Thanks

  11. #10

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    This is one of my favorite ways to get a lydian sound over a Maj7 chord, as Rob described above it hits all the tasty notes.

    Another idea Sco uses is to get an altered sound over a dominant, play a minor pentatonic from the b3. So in this key, over the G7 play Bb minor pentatonic, then to resolve just slide up one fret and play B pentatonic over the CMaj7 for this lydian sound.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Average Joe
    He does it in different places. One example is over Cmaj in the 2. chorus (third chorus with the band). There's a downwards line F#-E-D-E-D#-A-B. At least that's how I hear it.

    And good idea looking into other solos of his, thanks.
    This may be what you want/need.



    There's also the link to a handwritten transcription on pdf:

    https://www.yutokanazawa.com/wp-cont...n-Scofield.pdf

    If this is it, and if it's accurate, he's really only using notes from the Bm pent as others have said. It's not quite a line or a scale as such. That's what threw me because you said you already knew the Bm trick but talked about a scale:

    Thing is though, that he will regularly also play the 9 of the minor scale, in effect playing both the b9 and natural 9 of the major chord (e.g. C# and D over a C chord).
    I think the notes you're talking about might be in solo [D] but it's still just the Bm pentatonic BDEF#A; I don't see a C#. But this transcription is quite extensive so there's probably lots more in it.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulie2
    This is one of my favorite ways to get a lydian sound over a Maj7 chord, as Rob described above it hits all the tasty notes.

    Another idea Sco uses is to get an altered sound over a dominant, play a minor pentatonic from the b3. So in this key, over the G7 play Bb minor pentatonic, then to resolve just slide up one fret and play B pentatonic over the CMaj7 for this lydian sound.
    On Improvisation/1983/-John Scofield edu video shows all these examples of using the pentatonic scale on II V I VI progression.
    A few years ago, I transcribed the entire video.Excellent material for everyday exercise.
    Best
    Kris

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    This may be what you want/need.



    There's also the link to a handwritten transcription on pdf:

    https://www.yutokanazawa.com/wp-cont...n-Scofield.pdf

    If this is it, and if it's accurate, he's really only using notes from the Bm pent as others have said. It's not quite a line or a scale as such. That's what threw me because you said you already knew the Bm trick but talked about a scale:



    I think the notes you're talking about might be in solo [D] but it's still just the Bm pentatonic BDEF#A; I don't see a C#. But this transcription is quite extensive so there's probably lots more in it.
    Thanks, could have saved me the trouble of transcribing it myself

    The example I gave is ove the Cmaj in what the video call Chorus D. As far as I can tell, the transcriber have a Db there.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Average Joe
    Thanks, could have saved me the trouble of transcribing it myself

    The example I gave is ove the Cmaj in what the video call Chorus D. As far as I can tell, the transcriber have a Db there.
    I did wonder if giving to you was a good idea because then you wouldn't have to work at it!


    Playing a minor scale a half step down from a Maj7 chord?-z-jpg

    Playing a minor scale a half step down from a Maj7 chord?-zz-jpg

    All natural signs (but it is indistinct).

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I did wonder if giving to you was a good idea because then you wouldn't have to work at it!


    Playing a minor scale a half step down from a Maj7 chord?-z-jpg

    Playing a minor scale a half step down from a Maj7 chord?-zz-jpg

    All natural signs (but it is indistinct).
    Do you hear that second D as natural? I've done some listening and I keep hearing a C#. Your post also prompted me to get the Kaplan guitar transcription book that cover this from the library (which is why it took me a couple of days to get back to the thread), and he also have a C# there.

  17. #16

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    This is not so complicated; even I have written about this thing as part of "shifty pent".

    Start with a 2-5-1 like Dm G7 C

    Shifty pent is the application of the pentatonic, moving up a half step with each change.

    Dm - play C major pentatonic or A minor pentatonic
    G7 - play Db major or Bb minor pentationic
    C - play D major or B minor pent

    (if the next chord is A7 - play Eb major or C minor pent)

    Shifty pent loads the harmony with altered notes, confers forward motion, and because of its simplicity can be done up tempo with rhythms.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    This is not so complicated; even I have written about this thing as part of "shifty pent".

    Start with a 2-5-1 like Dm G7 C

    Shifty pent is the application of the pentatonic, moving up a half step with each change.

    Dm - play C major pentatonic or A minor pentatonic
    G7 - play Db major or Bb minor pentationic
    C - play D major or B minor pent

    (if the next chord is A7 - play Eb major or C minor pent)

    Shifty pent loads the harmony with altered notes, confers forward motion, and because of its simplicity can be done up tempo with rhythms.
    Nice! This is a new concept for me.

  19. #18

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    Pents are so sparse that they coincidently fit nicely over many different chords...6 note scales are versatile too; and 4 note scales can fit even more chords than pents.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    Pents are so sparse that they coincidently fit nicely over many different chords...6 note scales are versatile too; and 4 note scales can fit even more chords than pents.
    Yes, that is part of the mechanics of pents which the shifty pent takes advantage.

    Sparse scales also enjoy mechanics similar to the first part of "arp up, scale down". Arpeggio chord tones are larger intervals moving up which increase tension, compared to scale down smaller intervals moving down, releasing tension.
    Last edited by pauln; 07-26-2021 at 08:26 AM.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Average Joe
    Do you hear that second D as natural? I've done some listening and I keep hearing a C#. Your post also prompted me to get the Kaplan guitar transcription book that cover this from the library (which is why it took me a couple of days to get back to the thread), and he also have a C# there.
    The transcription's right except at the end. The notes are F#-E-D-E-D-A-C. I think he's got the Bb wrong.



    (Soundcloud might take this down. If so, I'll repost it another way).

  22. #21

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    Just a 'like'? Did you hear it?

    Here it is again with reduced background. There's no doubt about it. I can't do much more than this!


  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Just a 'like'? Did you hear it?

    Here it is again with reduced background. There's no doubt about it. I can't do much more than this!

    i didnt, no. I was going to wait until I was back home with my instruments at hand. Listening now, I do hear your point

  24. #23

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    Yea if you get into pents... which I did back in the 70's (and many other Guitarists) the fusion thing... burnin licks that don't lay as well on horns or piano. ( at least they use to be)

    Anyway they are another very musically organized approach for playing non scale or arpeggio based improv

    I use to generally just use Maj./Min. pents, and their modes and Dom. pents and their modes. Dom. pents were cool for MM sounds. And the same thing... the actual root doesn't need to be played to cover even more harmonies.

    Again it's just one of those things you do as a kid to discover what can work and sound cool and be fun to play...

  25. #24

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    I fear we’re missing a very important point. All those who make reference to passing tones are probably on the money - these out of bounds notes are usually accidentals that work because they lend an exotic flavor to the more consonant harmonies into which they resolve. The big question is how long you can hold a dissonant tone before its resolution fails to validate it as a pleasing enhancement. This is a matter of taste and judgment, not music theory.

    Every note can be identified as a component in every scale. I often think we’re trying too hard to offer a theoretical explanation for lines outside common scales that simply sound great.

  26. #25

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    "I often think we’re trying too hard to offer a theoretical explanation for lines outside common scales that simply sound great."

    Yes, behold...