<![CDATA[bobbysternjazz.com - Blog: B Natural]]>Thu, 03 Sep 2015 18:25:15 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[NOT Peanut But Uhhh... - Thelonious Monk's "Skippy"]]>Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:01:57 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/08/not-peanut-but-uhhh-thelonious-monks-skippy.htmlNOT Peanut But Uhhh...
Thelonious Monk's "Skippy"

"Skippy", which was originally recorded by Thelonious Monk for Blue Note on May 30th, 1952, might be considered (no, is!) one of his most challenging compositions.

The melody alone, which is uncharacteristically dense by Monk standards, is a workout in and of itself.

Harmonically, the descending cycle of 5ths and chromatic tritone subs
require considerable "'shedding" in order to confidently negotiate improvised lines through the changes.

In this post, we'll just concentrate on the head, with the rest to follow.

"Skippy" is 32 bars long
with what appears to be an A1-B-A2-C song form. The tune is Monk's reharmonization and abstraction
of Vincent Youmans' well known standard, "Tea for Two", which due to the melodic consistency between the sections, comes off more like an A1-A2-A3-B form.

I think the term, "abstraction" is very appropriate here, as Monk definitely created his own very special blend of "Tea". Because of the exclusive and constant movement of dominant 7th chords, both in 4ths as well as chromatically (tritone subs), there's never much of a harmonic resting place, as the line and harmonic motion just keep on skipping along.

The original "Tea", being in the key of Ab, moves temporarily to C for the second eight bars, then back again to Ab.

With all the cyclic motion in "Skippy", which starts on a D7 chord (the bV7 of Ab), the perceived key center of the melodic line still seems to be Ab, as in the original; especially for the first, third and last 8 bar sections.

The key center or the second 8 (measures #9-16) of "Skippy", however, is somewhat more ambiguous.

As in "Tea for Two",
the start of the second 8 bar section of "Skippy" modulates up a Maj. 3rd
, (starting on an F#7 in measure 9, again a bV7 chord, this time of the key of C). It seems as if Monk just used this as a starting point, because any subsequent harmonic or melodic reference to the key of C in this section, to my eyes and ears at least, is anecdotal at best.

Instead, Monk employs three 2 bar descending chromatic mini-cycles, each moving up a whole step from the previous one (Gb7-F7-E7-Eb7,  Ab7-G7-F#7-F7, Bb7-A7-Ab7-G7 before cycling neatly and logically back to D7 (bV7 of Ab again)
via F#7-B7-E7-A7 in measures #15 & 16.

Measures #17-22 are a facsimile of #1 through 6, with #23 & 24 setting up the mad dash to the finish line in bars #25-32, including the doubled chromatic eighth notes, with descending dominant 7th chords on every beat.


I compiled a downloadable lead sheet from several transcriptions which were already available. The minor discrepancies between
them seemed to stem from whether the transcriber used Monk's piano version of the head at the beginning of the original 1952 recording, or the ensemble horn version at the end of it, which has several small notational and rhythmic differences. See if you can hear them in the linked vid below.

For the most part, I tended to favor the former, since Monk, of course, wrote it; but used bits of the latter as well.

Most interesting (and challenging) to me is the phrase in bars #9-10. All of the notes in that 2 bar phrase belong to an
A# half tone / whole tone diminished scale and which is transposed up a whole step in measures #~11-12 (C ht / wt dim scale). Don't forget, this is 1952 and the diminished scale was not yet a common part of the music's still growing vocabulary. The phrase still sounds as hip now as it might have sounded strange then.

Likewise, bars #13-14, which employ descending chromatic trichords
in perfect 4ths; also not common at the time.

A note to tenor players:
"Skippy" was obviously not written with the tenor saxophone in mind and therefore, some range adjustments are necessary. In the Bb lead sheet below, I didn't make any range adjustments, which as a consequence, necessitate interval jumps to high G, G# & A; challenging but by no means impossible; something that I'm striving for. Use whatever range is comfortable for you.

Please excuse any C flats, F flats, B sharps & E sharps. I know that several of them got away on some of the parts.

Download PDF
Bb       Concert       Eb
Skippy on the Tube
Monk's original from 1952

Steve Lacy (not 'Trane) on soprano from 1957 (w/ Elvin Jones & Mal Waldron).
Anthony Braxton on Alto
Ravi Coltrane's group, live from 2012
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Dig it All! - Melodic Minor "Digital" ii-V7-I Exercise]]>Fri, 31 Jul 2015 10:41:20 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/07/dig-it-all-melodic-minor-digital-ii-v7-i-exercise.htmlDig it All!
Melodic Minor "Digital" ii-V7-I Exercise

I'm going to try and keep this brief, so I'll refer you to an earlier post for the basic premise of this exercise.

The difference here is that:
1) this one focuses on "digital patterns" starting on the 3rd degree of the Melodic Minor scale (scale steps 3-4-5-7 / 6-7-8-4; ie. F#-7b5 = A Melodic Minor = C-D-E-G# / F#-G#-A-D), and

2) as a ii-V7-I, the pattern transposes up exactly a minor third from the ii7 to the V7 chord (B7alt = C Melodic Minor = Eb-F-G-B / A-B-C-F. It should be noted that the order of the two 4 note cells can be reversed with no change in effect
(A-B-C-F / Eb-F-G-B).

This is a nifty little device, which if not overused, can be quite effective over a ii-V. It is also a good sounding "altered" alternative to your typical Major Scale ii-V7 melodic patterns.

Download PDF
Treble Clef                 Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Spring's the Thing! - An Etude Based on Freddie Hubbard's "Up Jumped Spring"]]>Tue, 23 Jun 2015 15:17:27 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/06/june-23rd-2015.htmlSpring's the Thing! - An Etude Based on Freddie Hubbard's
"Up Jumped Spring"

Seasonally speaking, I realize I'm a few days late, but one tune I've always enjoyed playing is Freddie Hubbard's classic jazz waltz, "Up Jumped Spring" - so I wrote a "solo style" etude based on its changes, which I present here.

Freddie Hubbard was not only one of the music's all-time great trumpet voices, he was also an accomplished and prolific composer who contributed a number of classics to the repertoire (Little Sunflower, Birdlike, Red Clay, etc.), as well as some great lesser known gems (Lament for Booker, Blue Spirits, among others).

"Up Jumped Spring" has a form of A1-A2-B-A3. Each "A" section  is 16 bars long and has a different ending. The bridge, or "B" section, is 8 bars long, which adds up to and makes this a 56 bar tune.

Can you name another tune with the same form?

One tune which immediately "springs" to mind is Kurt Weil and Ogden Nash's "Speak Low" (Shhh! It has the same AABA, 16-16-8-16 = 56 bar form, in 4/4).

"Up Jumped Spring" also contains several slick deceptive cadences whereby, to my mind at least, it seems that Freddie was trying to avoid the common, expected root movements.

The tune starts out with a typical I-VI7-ii-V7 (Bb / G7 / C-7/ F7 concert) for the first four bars
, with the expectation being a return to Bb.

But on the last beat of bar 4 (of the tune, not the PDF, which is numbered starting with the pick-up measure) Freddie inserted an F# diminished 7th passing chord (I messed that up on the PDF. It should be a half step higher than labeled, see note below).

The F# dim7 passing chord is really a D7b9 without the root, which is in turn the V7 of G minor, which happens to be the root of the next chord.

The changes then descend very nicely via G-7 / F-7 / E-7 / A7
over the next four bars until we get to
D-7 /Eb-7 /D-7 / Eb-7, which might be the most challenging part of the tune.

As an improviser, repeating,
parallel chromatic changes can be challenging to navigate because of the scarcity of common tones....but we'll get through it - only to wind up at B-7b5/ E7b9 / C-7b5 / F7b9.

The B-7b5/ E7b9 here is another "deception", as it looks like
Ready Freddie was trying not to go back to to D-7, the iii7 of Bb, which would have begun the typical, and expected iii7/ VI7/ ii7/ V7 turnaround back to Bb..

Instead, he
substitutes the ii7b5/ V7b9 a minor third below D-7 (
B-7b5/ E7b9), which has it's roots in the same diminished 7th chord (B-D-F-Ab), which sounds as good as it is unexpected, and at the same time, moves seamlessly to the second half of the turnaround, ii7b5/ V7b9 (C-7b5/ F7b9) and back home to Bb for the second 16 bar "A" section.

The last 4 bars of the second "A" do exactly what Brother Hub was trying to avoid the first time around: a straight up ii7/ V7/ I (C-7/ F7/ Bb Maj7) before two fiving (A-7/ D7) into G min, which itself becomes a ii7 (G-7/ C7/ F Maj7/ D-7) for the first four bars of the bridge, or "B" section.

Once on the bridge, the composer then returns to his deceptive ways with a straight up, parallel tritone substitution for the iii7/ VI7 (Ab-7/ Db7 for D-7/ G7) before two fiving it (C-7/ F7) back to Bb again and the third and final "A" section.

The last four bars of the tune take a final twist:
ii-V7 in the first two bars and then a very slick and unexpected bII Maj7 (Cb, "you can call me B" Maj7) with the melody (A#, enharmonically Bb) as the Maj 7th, resolving on the second beat of the final bar to the Maj. 7th (A) of the tonic I Maj7 (Bb Maj7) chord.

I kept the final two notes of the original melody in the etude, also, as well as the melodic rhythm of the last 2 bars.

This is one very cool tune. Logical, intelligent, beautiful melody, challenging but not intimidating. Plus it's got a clever title.

Well done, Frederick, my man!
I only regret I didn't know more about this stuff when you let me sit in back in '81. I would have had a much sharper pick with which to have picked your brain! Thank you, man & R.I.P!

Ooops, talking to the spirits again!

The etude itself is a combination of improvised and composed lines, which were then edited as needed in order to create rhythmic balance in and between the phrases.

Hope you likes!

Download PDF
Bb         Eb
Concert        Bass Clef
Please Note: The Diminished 7th passing chord in measures 5, 21 and 45 of the etude should be one half step higher than what is shown on the PDF (ie,. F# dim7 concert and not F dim7 concert, as is erroneously labeled.).
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Diminishing Perspective - A Diminished Scale Line]]>Fri, 22 May 2015 10:51:41 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/05/diminishing-perspective-a-diminished-scale-line.htmlDiminishing Perspective - A Diminished Scale Line
Here's a nifty little four bar line, best served over a modal type vamp, which utilizes the complete 8 note symmetrical diminished scale.

Because the diminished scale is devoid of avoid notes, and due to its symmetry, is essentially polyphonic in nature (hosting 4 Major and 4 minor triads, 4 dominant 7th chords, as well as 2 distinct non enharmonic diminished 7th chords), a single tonal center can be somewhat ambiguous and not always immediately apparent. Nor does it need to be.

However, for the purpose of this exercise, letting my ear be the guide, a tonal center was chosen which felt natural, with alternates, based in the same diminished 7th chord (listed in parentheses).

They all "work", in both theory and practice, and are only suggestions in any case.

In line #1, measure #1, notes 2 through 7 (Ab to A natural) spell out a descending Tritone Scale, which is a hexatonic (6 note) scale formed from a Triad Pair; in this case, 2 Major triads spaced a tritone (an augmented 4th or diminished 5th) apart. The Maj. triads here are Ab and D.

In measure #2, the tritone scale idea continues.....almost (absent the note Eb), and in measure #3 transposes down a minor 3rd (missing the note C).

The line is presented in groups of 4, each line in that group belonging to the same diminished scale, and therefore, interchangeable.
Download PDF
Treble Clef             Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Three's a Pair! Pt. 2 - Melodic Minor Triad Pairs - Rhythm Changes Bridge]]>Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:03:56 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/04/threes-a-pair-pt-2-melodic-minor-triad-pairs-rhythm-changes-bridge.htmlThree's a Pair! - Part 2
Melodic Minor Triad Pairs - "Rhythm Changes" Bridge

Back on the subject of Triad Pairs in general and Melodic Minor derived triad pairs in particular, this previous post would be a good preliminary read, containing the basic premises for this post.

As mentioned in that article, the pair of adjacent triads which most captures the sound of Melodic Minor are the Major & augmented triads, built off of the 4th and 5th scale steps, respectively.

(In C Melodic Minor = F Maj.(F-A-C) & G aug. (G-B-Eb) triad pair).

However,  the quality of the pure diatonic triad built on 5th step of Melodic Minor is not augmented, but Major - G Maj. = G-B-D, which is exactly the same in C Major.


In order to differentiate this triad pair from Major and give it the distinct MM flavor, the D in the G Maj. triad is raised a half step to the all important Eb (minor 3rd of minor key!), creating a G aug. triad.

In fact, he only augmented triad occuring diatonically in Melodic Minor is based on the 3rd scale degree, or Eb (Eb aug. = Eb-G-B) in C MM.

Because the inversions of an augmented triad are symmetrical, G aug., Eb aug. (as well as B aug) are all interchangeable. I just thought it more accurate, given the diatonic nature of the augmented triad in MM, to refer to it as forming from the 3rd scale degree, rather than the fifth.

Regardless how you call it, the premise of this exercise is based on the bridge - the middle 8 bars - of "I Got Rhythm" changes.

Because the harmonic structure of these eight bars is made up of 4 dominant 7th chords moving along the Cycle of Fifths at a rate of 2 bars apiece, the exercise can be pieced together in groups of 3 to complete a full cycle.

Anyway. it breaks down like this:

Line 1, Measures #1 & 2- The first line is simply made up of ascending triads, with one inversion. Since the bridge to "Rhythm Changes" begins on the III7 of the key in question, we're looking at E7alt in this case (Rhythm Changes in C).

Since the "altered scale" of choice for this E7alt would be - you guessed it - the E altered scale, or the 7th mode of F Melodic Minor, the triad pair derived from the 3rd & 4th degrees of F MM are Ab aug. & Bb Maj. In this case, however, we begin the line on the Major triad, which doesn't really impact its overal tonal flavor.

Measure #2 continues the ascending line, offering the next inversion of both the Bb Maj and the Ab aug. triads.

Line 1, Measures #3 & 4 is similar to the first 2 bars, with chord, scale, and triad pair transposing down a Perfect 5th (or up a P4th) - A7alt = Bb MM = Eb Maj. & Db aug. triad pair.

Line 2, Measures #5 & 6 is a bit different in that the line begins with a descending augmented triad. The triads change direction and rhythmical shifting is employed as it spirals downwards.

As in the previous measures, each chord, scale and triad pair transpose down P5th from the last.

Measures #5 & 6 - D7alt = Eb MM = Ab Maj. & Gb aug. triad pair

Measures #7 & 8 - G7alt = Ab MM = Db Maj. & B aug. triad pair.

I guess the "Rhythm Changes" part of this exercise is really only incidental. The real purpose is to practice Melodic Minor triad pairs over dominant 7th chords through the Cycle, and this works well on the bridge of "Rhythm"

Try alternating the order and direction of the Maj. and augmented triads, as wel as of the line itself
Download PDF
Treble Clef       Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Polly Juanna Safecracker? - Pentatonic b6 Combination Exercise]]>Sun, 12 Apr 2015 16:08:24 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/04/polly-juanna-safecracker-pentatonic-b6-combination-exercise.htmlPolly Juanna Safecracker?
Pentatonic b6 Combination Exercise

PictureMs. Polly Juanna Safecracker
Been feeling locked out (or up!) lately?

This pretty little combination exercise, which unlocks the door and lets you get "up close and personal" with the Pentatonic b6 scale and its modes, is similar in construction to an exercise which I posted previously, based on the Pentatonic b2 scale.

While the Penta b2 could be considered as a derivative of the 8 note diminished scale system (as well as the lesser used Harmonic Major scale),
the Penta b6 is derived from the Melodic Minor harmonic system (scale steps 5-6-7-9-b3), but also found as part of Harmonic Major (scale steps 1-2-3-5-b6).

As its name suggests, the Penta b6 is a 5 note pentatonic scale with the 6th
(as being the interval measured from its root, not its scale step), flatted (eg. G Penta b6 = G-A-B-D-Eb, derived from C Melodic Minor or G Harmonic Major).

The "combination" part of this exercise comes from the melding of one bar apiece of Bergonzi shape #5 (ascending), the interval make up being:

Skip up - Step up -
Skip down - Step up - Skip up - Step up - Skip down

or shape #1 (descending):

Skip down - Step down - Skip up - Step down - Skip down - Step down - Skip up

with diatonic 3rds, moving in the opposite direction.

This creates a 2 bar phrase which is very "loopable" as the 3rds lead back nicely to the starting note. Each 2 bar phrase begins on a different scale step of the pentatonic, which will give you a great sense of flexible manuverability, once you get it down.

Since the Penta b6 contains a tritone between the 2nd and 5th scale degrees, make note of which dominant 7th chords it could express.

For example, C penta b6 (C-D-E-G-Ab, derived from F Melodic Minor, with the tritone "D - Ab", would indicate an E7 alt, or a Bb7#11, which would normally resolve to an "A" something or other.

You've got the combination, so get to crackin'!

 Look Out!
Download PDF (8 Pages)
Treble Clef                        Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Toot Your Own Horn Dept. - A Self-Transcription / Etude of "Like Someone in Love"]]>Sun, 29 Mar 2015 17:56:07 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/03/toot-your-own-horn-dept-a-self-transcription-etude-of-like-someone-in-love.htmlToot Your Own Horn Dept.:
A Self-Transcription of  "Like Someone in Love"

PictureThe Rev. Dizman Tootoot
Welcome to another, "Toot my own horn!" moment, featuring a self-transcription of the van Heusen-Burke standard, "Like Someone in Love".

As I'd been checking this tune out lately (for about 30 years), I thought it would make good subject matter for a post, with a recorded solo example, as well as an audio file thereof; both downloadable.

Now ain't that generous?!

I think it's a very healthy thing, in terms of self-analysis, to record and  transcribe one's self from time to time. The fact is, that if you don't happen to be one of the handful of "household (make that "practice room") names", you might as well transcribe yourself, for yourself.

Besides, "it's my blog and I'll toot if I want to"! Dig?!

"Like Someone in Love" was written in 1944 by the songwriting team of Jimmy & Johnny (van Heusen and Burke, respectively) for the movie "Belle of the Yukon" and was originally sung by Dinah Shore. It became a hit for Bing Crosby a year later and has become a popular vehicle for improvisers ever since.

My firsr encounter with fhe tune was upon hearing John Coltrane's haunting, super slow trio version from his Prestige album "Lush Life", which was among the first few jazz albums I owned. Being a novice at the time, the pianoless version was hard for me to decipher harmonically, but it was ever so beautiful and mysterious, and still is.

'Trane's version was in the key of Ab (concert), as were most of the other recorded instrumental versions of the tune that I had heard, although all the lead sheets and playalongs I found were in other keys.

As I've always thought of this tune as being in Ab (tenor key Bb) by default, I was happy to find an Ab playalong track for this little project at www.playjazznow.com. The track has a very straight ahead, relaxed, bouncy feel to it, inside harmonically and easy to play to. They might have chosen a more imaginitve ending, but hey.

"Like Someone in Love " is no doubt an interesting tune harmonically, winding its way through several key centers along it's 32 bar journey. Its most noticeable harmonic device is the descending bass line which happens for most of the first four measures,

Ab7   C/G  |  F-   F-/Eb  |  Bb7/D   Db7#11  |  C-7   F7

as well as the deceptive bv - VII (D-7 G7) cadence in measure #6, resolving momentarily to the tonic (Ab Maj7) for a measure.
It then jumps up and ii-Vs (Eb-7  Ab7) to Db for a bar.
It just can't sit still, so it jumps up once more and ii-Vs itself (G-7 C7) to F, this time for 2 bars, before cycling back for 4 bars (F-7 | Bb7  | Bb-7 | Eb7) to the tonic Ab.

Pretty slick for 1944
! Pretty slick for right now!

PictureOl' King Toot - Retro Style
And now for the TOOT!!

It's kind of difficult to comment on my own playing, but I'll give it a shot

OK, to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't be posting this if I didn't think the results were decent enough, right?

I've been playing on people's tracks for a lot of years now, so I have a pretty good instinct for style, that tends to click in automatically, depending on the situation.

Play-a-longs are a great way to practice and learn the basics of a tune, but past a certain point, they can become confining and can actually limit what you can do harmonically. One work around for that is to mute the channel with the piano and play with only bass & drums. I love playing that way, anyway, with a strong bass player especially.

You need to know the tune really well, and have the ability to both define and move outside / inside the harmonic format, in order to make that work.

With this particular track, unfortunately one is unable to mute the piano, as it is recorded in stereo. The Aebersold play-a-longs allow you do this, but for this particular tune, I specifically wanted to play it in Ab concert, and this track is in that key, and swings nicely to boot.


One thing about this short solo, which lasts a chorus and a half, that I'm pleased with, is my use of false fingerings, both on the head and in the solo. Because the tenor key is Bb, I'm able to make effective use of the lower octave fingerings for middle range Bb, C, Db D & F, as well as alt fingerings for high C & D. I tend to move back and forth between the actual and alternate fingerings, creating a quasi "wah-wah" effect. Maybe, because I started out on bluesharp, I feel the need to do this. Maybe it's just oral gratification, I dunno.

I like the fact that I'm instinctively using space, especially after flurries of 16th notes, that allow the very together and well recorded rhythm section to come through.

I also like the fact that there's a pretty fair amount of rhythmical diversity in the solo; i.e., a mixture of swung eighth notes, sixteenth note groupings; a few quarter, eighth and sixteenth note triplets, thereby avoiding a flow of any one rhythmic division exclusively (constant streams of eighth or sixteenth notes, etc.).

Range-wise, it spans from tenor low Eb to altissimo Ab; so 2 1/2 octaves, for a chorus and a half. OK..

The only thing that bugs me a little bit is that the first two 16th note phrases (bar 6 and 9-11) feel a bit rushed to me, but maybe not terrible enough to do a Disney on it.

Harmonically, it's pretty straight up. Linear, for the most part, with a few Melodic Minor (altered scale) devices thrown in on most of the ii-V7s.

Anyway, I don't know how "killin'" it all is, but I think I sound like I was having fun; which I was.

I hope you do too!

Have yourself a good Toot de Jour!

Download PDF
Bb               Concert
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Roller Coaster Ride! - A Snakey, Chromatic ii-V7 Line]]>Sun, 08 Mar 2015 12:53:23 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/03/roller-coaster-ride-a-snakey-chromatic-ii-v7-line.htmlRoller Coaster Ride!
A Snakey, Chromatic ii-V7 Line

Picture"Roller Coaster" - Karen Elzinger
This exercise, which features the smaller intervals of Maj. & min 2nds,  was developed from one that I made up for myself a while back; when I first heard guys like Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, Steve Grossman and, of course, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, and Miles Davis from the mid '60s before them; who made frequent use of these snakey, swirling, chromatic types of lines.

The original exercise was made up of a pattern which, connecting each measure by a half step, repeated itself down a perfect 4th, and which can be found on pp. 71-76 of my eBook, "Slick Licks That Stick!" which is available right here.

The downloadable exercise presented here is my attempt to tonicize and resolve the original line. Probably the easiest and most accessible way to do that, in my estimation, was as.......you guessed it; some sort of ii-V7-I resolution.

The Breakdown:

Line #1, Measure #1; is constructed in two parts. The first beat (four 16th notes) consists of 2 ascending half steps and a descending whole step: = H(up) - H (up) - W (down)

The four 16th note cell, which makes up beat 2, is the exact inversion of beat one, namely;
2 decending half steps and an ascending whole step. = H(down) - H (down) - W (up). It starts a half step up from the final 16th note of beat one.

Beat 3, which begins a half step below the last 16th note of beat 2, consists of two groups of descending whole steps, spaced a descending half step apart: = W (down) - H (up) - W (down)

Beat 4 of measure #1, starting a whole tone up from the last 16th of beat 3, goes W (down) - H (up) - H (down).

Hey Gillespie! You look Dizzy. 
We're not even out of the first measure yet!

The good news is that measure #2 is exactly the same as bar #1 transposed down a perfect 4th, with the lone exception being the very last interval, which is a whole step instead of a half.

That, my friends, was from the original exercise.

I wanted to see where it could go and how it could resolve. I thought it needed a change of direction from a basically descending line in the first 2 bars to something moving back
the other way towards resolution.

The ascent begins in measure #3
, with a combination of half and whole steps. The last 5 notes of the measure belong to an F-Ab-B-D half tone / whole tone diminished scale, which take us to the top of the hill before skipping back down with a basket full of daisies in measure #4, via a contrasting arpeggiated figure, spanning an octave and a half

There are many ways to harmonize this line. The basic harmonies and root movement suggested here work well and sound good. The final 7#9 chord is a tonic
dominant, as in a blues, with both Maj. & min 3rd implications.

Download PDF
Treble Clef              Bass Clef
<![CDATA[Coltrane's "Satellite" - The First Eight]]>Sat, 21 Feb 2015 12:32:48 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/02/coltranes-satellite-the-first-eight.htmlColonel Bleeped!
Coltrane's "Satellite" - The First Eight

PictureCol. Bleepdat knows "Satellite".
This post presents an exercise over the chord changes to the first eight bars of John Coltrane's "(Giant) Step-ed Up" up treatment of the popular standard, "How High the Moon", (Charlie Parker's "Ornithology" is based on the straight changes of the tune).

I posted a full transcription of Coltrane's solo, on "Satellite", as well as information about the solo and the recording itself, so I won't repeat that here.

"Satellite" is but one of several 'Trane originals, based on standards, over which he superimposed his version of the "Cycle of Descending Major Thirds", which has become known to the world as "Coltrane Changes" or "Giant Steps Changes".

Actually, this exercise covers the first four bars of "Satellite", since the second four are a repetition of the first, down a whole step (as is the original "How High the Moon").

G Maj7 / G Maj7 /  G-7  / C7        

F Maj7 / F Maj7 /  F-7  / Bb7           the first 8 of "How High the Moon" becomes

G  Bb7/ Eb  F#7 / B  D7 / G-7  C7   
F  Ab7 / Db  E7 / A  C7 / F-7  Bb7    Coltrane's first 8 of "Satellite".

The "cycle of descending maj. 3rds", where each successive Maj. triad is preceded by it's dominant, is in effect for the first 3 measures before cycling back to the original root (in this case "G"), which is now the root of G-7, the ii part of the traditional ii - V7 (G-7 C7), leading to the key of "F", a whole step lower.

The melodic content, in each of the first two measures is made up of basic 1-3-5 ascending Major triads and 9-b7-5-3 dominant 7th descending arpeggios.

In bar #3, the triad takes on an optional "ghost" note and the dom. 7th chord is expressed through a b7-8-9-3 digital scale pattern.

The ii-V7 in bar #4 is expressed through digital pattern 1-2-3-4 on the ii chord and a 6-5-3-1 descending arpeggio on the V7.

Once again, the melodic content of each 4 bars of this exercise is identical, transposed in each case down a whole step and connected by the preceding ii-V7 in the final measure of each segment.

Since the lines move in descending whole steps, there are 2 groups of six keys, and one can start anywhere within those 6 keys, before cycling back to the beginning.

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<![CDATA[Be-Boppin' the Harmonic Major Scale]]>Thu, 05 Feb 2015 21:56:58 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/02/be-boppin-the-harmonic-major-scale.htmlBe-Boppin' the Harmonic Major PictureProf. Diz - Dissecting the equations to some Universal Truths
As I've been recently treating the Harmonic Major scale like a new found toy, I've discovered, for myself at least, some of the unique and interesting qualities of this "hidden in plain sight" seven note harmonic system.

The practice of adding a non-diatonic passing tone to the Major, as well as the Melodic & Harmonic Minor Scales and their modes began as the "eighth note" became the basic rhythmic pulse unit of the music called "BeBop", and became known at some point as the "BeBop Scale"

I think it
was David Baker who first "bopularized" the term.

In order to create an even 8 count of eighth notes trom the original 7 note scale and allow a melodic line to flow and resolve evenly through measures of 4/4, a passing tone was strategically added, the location depending on the mode used, allowing the chord tones to fall on downbeats (and vice versa), for the most part.

So, with that in mind, I was curious to see how one might "Bebop-a-size" the modes of Harmonic Major.

Right off the bat, I hit a slight snag.

Because the "backbone" of Harmonic Major, like its Minor cousin, is essentially a diminished 7th chord (4 of its 7 scale tones; in C = D-F-Ab-B. built on scale steps 2-4-b6-7), the scale has an inherently dominant feel and resolution possibilities. The other 3 scale tones form its tonic C Maj triad (C-E-G), which, of course, also happens to be one of those resolution possibilities.

So what does all this mean as far as "BeBoppin'" this scale is concerned.

First of all, the unofficial "rules" of BeBop Scale creation state that a passing tone be placed between scale steps 5 & 6 for a Maj scale type. In this case, that would mean add an Ab between G & A. But...

In C Harmonic Major. an Ab is already sitting there laughing at you. So, anything between scale steps 5 & 6 is out of the question. In checking the interval scheme of Harmonic Major, we find that the make-uo is:

C - D - E - F  G - Ab - B - C

     W      W     H    W    H      1 1/2     H

This is the first mode, the tonic mode of C Harmonic Major, known as C Ionian b6. It's diatonic 7th chord, built in thirds is C - E - G - B
, which your garden variety C Maj 7, and which is what we'll try to express here with our "BeBopitated" scale creation.

This gives us really only three places to insert a chromatic passing tone: between scale steps 1 & 2
(C & D), 2 & 3 (D & E), and 4 & 5 (F & G ). We'll look at the augmented 2nd between b6 & 7 (Ab & B) in a bit.

Adding a passing tone between 1 & 2 (C & D) gives us:
C - C# - D - E  F - G - Ab - B / C
It sounds pretty good, right? It gets us to where we want to go, which is the octve C on the first downbeat of the next measure. Cool! The only thing is: the chord tones, aside from the root C, are all not on downbeats (bold). The chord tones (C-D-F-Ab) tell us that it would be expressing a D-7b5 more so than a C Maj7.

While it may not be in the official "BeBop Scale Rule Book", it's still a totally usable scale. Put it in your pocket.

Likewise with our next choice, a passing tone between scale steps 2 & 3 (D & E):
C - D - D# - E  F - G - Ab - B / C
Sounds real nice, with a blues scale element. But seems like it wants to say  F-7 (C-D#-F-Ab). Great! Never met one I didn't like. Put that one in your other pocket! C Maj7 please!

Our third and final attempt, a passing tone between scale steps 4 & 5 (F & G), is my choice; but not without a few compromises.
C - D` - E - F  F# - G - Ab - B / C
The chord tones don't all fall on downbeats (C-E-F#-G#), but the root and 3rd do, so the Major quality is at least accented. This example differs from the others, in that the passing tone, F#, actually falls on a downbeat
. The F# isn't even diatonic to the scale!

I can only justify that by saying, that from a theoretical standpoint, the F# could function as a #11, which is usually a pretty good note choice on a Maj7 chord. The Ab is the b6 (or b13) which happens to be the note that has been altered from Major in the first place, and which is the note element that gives Harmonic Major it's distinctive flavor.

You'll notice on the accompanying PDF file, however, that I only use the F# passing tone ascending the scale. The descending version uses the Db passing tone, from choice #1.

Why? 'Cause I like it!

So on those grounds, I think I deserve a stay of execution from the "BeBop Scale Rules Committee". don't you?

Plus, the overriding Law of the Musical Universe, originally brought down from the mountain and first uttered to the masses by Duke himself (Edward Kennedy Ellington, that is), who said,

"If it sounds good and it feels good, then it is good!"

Amen to that, your Dukeshipness!

The other 6 modes of the scale follow the same basic plan. Mode ii (Dorian b5) is the only other mode that uses a different passing tone in each direction.

Getting back to the augmented 2nd between scale steps b6 & 7 (Ab & B), I find it hard to justify a "passing tone" here (either A or Bb) because it wouldn't even function as a passing tone at all. Adding an "A" would just make it a regular C Maj BeBop Scale, with the "A" becoming the scale tone and the "Ab" the passing tone.

Adding a "Bb" would make the scale more of a C Mixolydian b6
(5th Mode of F Melodic Minor), which would in effect turn the "B "into the passing tone and the "Bb" the scale tone. So, I don't know if I'd buy that one.

Anyway, these are only my suggestions. They sound and feel good to me. Besides, I really haven't seen or heard a wealth of information on the subject.

May it sound & feel good to you,too. Go thee forth and "Bopulate".

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