Dave Clews shows you how to for­mu­late jazz scales

Computer Music - - Contents -

When writ­ing melodies or solo­ing over back­ing tracks, one of the most puz­zling things to fig­ure out is what notes to pick so that what you’re play­ing works over the chord in ques­tion. An al­most guar­an­teed key to suc­cess in this area is to use notes from a scale that matches the chord in the track at that point; and the scale you use de­pends largely on the type of chord – for ex­am­ple, mi­nor 7th, dom­i­nant and so on.

Es­sen­tially, a scale is just a se­quence of notes with a spe­cific pat­tern of in­ter­vals – whole tones or semi­tones – be­tween the pitches. For in­stance, we all know and love the ma­jor scale, but that’s just one of many dif­fer­ent types of scale, and there are loads of so­phis­ti­cated al­ter­na­tive scales favoured by jazz mu­si­cians, all built us­ing dif­fer­ent pat­terns of in­ter­vals be­tween the notes. Se­lect­ing the notes you play from th­ese is not only use­ful for jazz, but also comes in handy when ap­ply­ing a dash of jazz flavour to other gen­res like drum ’n’ bass, house, funk or fu­sion.

In this month’s edi­tion of EasyGuide, I’m go­ing to spot­light a quick way for you to work out which scale to use, based on the type of chord you’re play­ing over the top of, which is al­most guar­an­teed to pro­vide you with a us­able re­sult – as well as adding a touch of jazz flavour to your project.

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