Dear Friends of Strumenti&Musica, we have reached the seventh appointment with Pillole di Jazz. Today we will discuss the other scales commonly used in jazz music and in the jam session. Particularly, we will refer to the symmetrical, bebop, pentatonic and blues scales.
In this chapter we analyze some different scales, normally played in jazz and in improvised music: symmetrical, bebop, pentatonic and blues scales.
In symmetrical scales, notes share the space of an octave in equal parts. Thus, all notes get the same weight, and there isn’t a hierarchy to define a tonic. Among these scales we identify the two diminished scales: diminished (begin with whole step) and Diminished (begin with half step) scales, Whole Tone; Augmented scale.
Diminished scales begin with whole step and with half step have got a structure by intervals, where for each half step alternates a whole step and vice-versa. Starting from C, the halftone-tone scale has this progression: C Db Eb E F# G A Bb C; the other one has got: C D Eb F F# G# A B C. We use the halftone-tone scale on seventh dominant chords with b9, #9, #4, in any combination among them. We use the diminished (begin with whole step) scale on diminished chords.
The Whole tone scale is made up of 6 sounds which are distant one tone one from the other. Starting from C, it will be: C D E F# G# Bb C. Starting from C#, it will be: C# – D# – F – G – A – B – C#, and we use it on dominant chords having #5.
The Augmented scale is made up of the alternation among half-tones and minor third. Starting from C, it. We use it om major chords having will be: C – Eb – E – G – G# – Bb – C. We use it on major chords having #5.
The Bebop scales are traditional scales where it adds a passage chromatic note. Among the common bebop scales, there are the major one, the dominant one and the dorian bebop. In these scales, the notes of the chord fall on the downbeat movement; and the other notes fall on the upbeat. The major bebop is just a major scale having #5. The dominant bebop is a mixolidian scale having the Maj7. The dorian bebop is a dorian scale having the Maj7.
The Pentatonic scale is made up of five notes in different arrangements. This scale is very popular in jazz, rock, blues, because of its great adaptability to many chords. Its distinctive trait is the small number of notes and the lack of the tritone. The major pentatonic is that one: C – D – E – G – A – C. The minor is the following: C – Eb – F – G – Bb – C.
The Blues scale is based on the minor pentatonic adding a chromatism between the third and the fourth degree: it means between the fourth and the fifth degree of the scale in which these degrees belong to. This additional note is called blue note because it’s tuned in a lightly flat way. Starting from C, it will be: C – Eb – F – F# – G – Bb – C.
Transpose in all keys
VIRGINIO AIELLO he graduated in piano and Jazz Music at the Conservatory “S. Giacomantonio” of Cosenza in 2007 and followed with honors the MA Degree in Jazz composition majors. He has won numerous competitions including the first prize at the Piano Competition “City of Castellaneta” and the second prize in the piano competitions “AMA Calabria” and “City of the Third (AL)”. In his studies he participated in seminars and workshops with: Roberto Spadoni, Luigi Giannatempo, G. Gazzani (arrangement); Pietro Condorelli, Tino Tracanna, Riccardo Fassi, Ettore Fioravanti, Attilio Zanchi, Nicola Pisani (improvisation and ensemble music); S. Battaglia, F. D’Andrea E. Pieranunzi (piano and improvisation); Nino De Rose (head arrangement); Marcello Piras-Stefano Zenni (jazz history). He teaches jazz piano at the Conservatory of Music complement of Cosenza and he is a professor of piano at the Secondary Schools, First Degree (Music). He is still a most varied guest in television and radio broadcasts such as Rai Radio 3, Radio Velours Tango in Paris, RadioSwissJazz (Switzerland). By MAP Editions of Milan with the quartet Sertango in 2015 published an album of his own compositions and classics of Tango Nuevo. He has worked on various projects, ranging from classical to contemporary, from jazz to tango, performing in Italy with musicians like Sandro Satta, Nicola Pisani, Tino Tracanna, Ettore Fioravanti, Roberto Ottaviano, Marco Sannini, Attilio Zanchi, Nino De Rose, Giancarlo Maurino, Sandor Kem, Tanya Schapp. He published the book “Metodo Pratico di Pianoforte Jazz Complementare” for MAP Editions and the “Metodo Completo di Fisarmonica Moderna”. Music Editions M.A.P. – Milan 2015. He writes on music magazines: Musicheria, Composers & Musicians, Strumenti&Musica.
This article is available also in: Italian