Bebop scale

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Bebop scale is a term referring to common seven-note scales that have an added chromatic passing note. These are frequently used in jazz improvisation and are derived from the modes of the major scale, the melodic minor scale, and the harmonic minor scale. These scales are most often used by David Baker and Barry Harris as a tool to teach jazz improvisation. According to Corey Christiansen, "David Baker, one of the world's finest jazz educators, named these scales the 'bebop scales' because they were used so often by jazz artists from the Bebop Era. These artists include Charlie Christian, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, and Dizzy Gillespie, to name a few."[1] Barry Harris builds these scales from two unrelated 4-note chords, which gives them their names in his system.[2]

In general, bebop scales consist of traditional scales with an added passing tone, and when the scale is begun on a chord tone and on the downbeat, all other chord tones will also fall on downbeats. The remaining tones in the scale occurring on the upbeat.

As such, many heptatonic scales may be modified by the addition of an eighth passing tone to accomplish this same effect; however, the modifier "bebop" is reserved to indicate those scales most frequently used—and popularised—during the bebop era.

Bebop dominant scale[edit]

The bebop dominant scale or the seventh diminished scale is derived from the Mixolydian mode and has a chromatic passing tone between the 7th and the root. Barry Harris explains that it is derived from a dominant seventh chord from the root, and a fully diminished chord from the second degree.[2]

Musical scores are temporarily disabled.

It has all the notes in both the major scale and the Mixolydian scale of the same root. This scale is often used over dominant seventh chords and all extended dominant chords,[3] and over II-V chord progressions. According to Michael Miller, "[w]hen someone says they're playing 'the bebop scale,' this is the one they're talking about."[3]

Bebop Dorian scale[edit]

The bebop Dorian scale (also known as the bebop minor scale[4][5]) is derived from the Dorian mode and has a chromatic passing tone between the minor 3rd and the perfect 4th.

 {
\override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f
\relative c' { 
  \clef treble \time 8/4
  c4^\markup { Bebop Dorian scale on C } d es e f g a bes c
} }

It has all the notes in both the Dorian scale and the Mixolydian scale of the same root. It is the 5th mode of the bebop dominant scale.

A second form of the bebop Dorian scale features a major seventh bebop note between the dominant seventh and the tonic.

 {
\override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f
\relative c' { 
  \clef treble \time 8/4
  c4^\markup { Alternate bebop Dorian scale on C } d es f g a bes b c
} }

The second style, featuring the major seventh, is generally used by guitar players for its accessibility when applied to traditional minor scale shapes (that is, it is simply easier for guitarists to play). However, many players and resources adhere to the traditional spelling of the scale.

Bebop major scale[edit]

The bebop major scale or the major sixth diminished scale is derived from the Ionian mode (major scale) and has a chromatic passing tone between the 5th and 6th notes. Barry Harris explains that it is derived from a major sixth chord from the root, and a fully diminished chord from the second degree.[2]

 {
\override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f
\relative c' { 
  \clef treble \time 8/4
  c4^\markup { Bebop major scale on C } d e f g gis a b c
} }

This scale is often used over major sixth chords and major seventh chords.

Bebop melodic minor scale[edit]

The bebop melodic minor scale or the minor sixth diminished scale is derived from the ascending form of the melodic minor scale (jazz minor scale) and has a chromatic passing tone between the 5th and 6th notes. Barry Harris explains that it is derived from a minor sixth chord from the root, and a fully diminished chord from the second degree.[2]

 {
\override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f
\relative c' { 
  \clef treble \time 8/4
  c4^\markup { Bebop melodic minor scale on C } d es f g gis a b c
} }

It has all the notes of both the ascending form of the melodic minor scale and the harmonic minor scale of the same root. This scale is often used over minor sixth chords.

These scales are listed in David N. Baker's books on bebop. They are also included, with the exception of the Dorian bebop scale, in Roni Ben-Hur's book Talk Jazz: A Comprehensive Collection of Bebop Studies, which is derived from the work of Barry Harris. Ben-Hur further elaborates on the concept of placing additional chromatic passing tones between other notes in the scales.

Bebop harmonic minor scale[edit]

The bebop harmonic minor scale (or bebop natural minor scale, as listed in Mark Levine's The Drop 2 Book) is derived from the harmonic minor scale and has a chromatic passing tone (an additional 7) between the 6th and the 7th notes.

 {
\override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f
\relative c' { 
  \clef treble \time 8/4
  c4^\markup { Bebop harmonic minor scale on C } d es f g aes bes b c
} }

It contains all of the notes of both the harmonic minor scale and the natural minor scale (Aeolian mode) of the same root. It can be used on all three chords of a minor II-V-I progression. It is a mode of the bebop major scale: for instance, the C bebop harmonic minor scale has the same pitches as the E bebop major scale.

Seventh flat 5 diminished scale[edit]

The seventh flat 5 diminished scale (which is identical to Messian Mode 6) is derived from the whole tone scale, with an added fourth and a natural seventh degree. It is also a combination of a dominant seventh with a flat fifth on the first degree, and a fully diminished chord on the second degree.[2]

Musical scores are temporarily disabled.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Scott Black, How to Understand, Practice, and Use
  • David Baker, Jazz Improvisation, Alfred.
  • David Baker, Arranging and Composing, Alfred
  • Hewitt, Michael. 2013. Musical Scales of the World. The Note Tree. ISBN 978-0957547001.
  • Mark Levine, The Drop 2 Book, Sher Music Co.
  • Mark Levine, The Jazz Theory Book, Sher Music Co.
  • Randy Halberstadt, Metaphors For The Musician, Sher Music Co.
  • J.Brent / S.Barkley, MODALOGY - scales, modes & chords: the primordial building blocks of music, Hal Leonard Corp.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Christiansen, Corey (2001). Mel Bay Jazz Scales for Guitar, p.48. ISBN 0-7866-5689-1.
  2. ^ a b c d e Kingstone 2006, pp. 3–4.
  3. ^ a b Miller, Michael (2004). Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos and Improvisation, p.96. ISBN 1-59257-210-3.
  4. ^ http://online-musical-scales.com/index.php/bebop-minor-scales
  5. ^ http://pianoencyclopedia.com/scales/bebop-minor/C-bebop-minor.html

Literature[edit]

  • Kingstone, Alan (2006). The Barry Harris Harmonic Method for Guitar. Jazzworkshops Productions. ASIN B000Q7B6O6.

External links[edit]