Lesson #1: Three Scales

Like I wrote before there are three scales that are worth practicing a lot for developing a bebop language that isn’t based on licks.
These three scales are:

• Dorian Minor
• Melodic Minor
• Ionian

Three scales to cover almost every chord in Bebop an Modern Jazz! For me that’s simply amazing!
From the moment I tried these scales over some chords (II-V-I and modal) I stopped practicing Lokrian, Mixolydian, Phrygian scales or Harmonic Minor or Mixo (#11) or any of those. I’m still sooo thankful for my teacher, because this is it!
Ok, calm down! Enough cheering up myself. I will finish this first lesson with a simple overlook which scale is used over some basic chord. It’s very important what function a chord has in a tune. For example Em7 could be the II in D, the III in C, the VI in G or the IVm in B (more likely a m6 in this situation).
For a better understanding the key is always C:

• Cmaj7: C-ionian
• Em7: C-ionian
• Am7: C-ionian
• Fmaj7(#11): C-ionian
• Dm7: D-dorian
• G7 or G7sus: D-dorian
• G7alt: Ab-melodic
• D7(#11): Am-melodic
• Em7(b5): G-dorian
• Fm6: F-melodic (sometimes dorian)
• Eb7(#11): Bb-melodic
• Db7(#11): Ab-melodic
• A7alt: Bb-melodic

There are a lot more chords that can be related to C, but for the first time it’ll do. One very important thing is that you don’t think of these scales like random notes upon a chord, you have to play the sound of the exact scale, instead of thinking in the chord. For Example, if you’re playing over D7(#11), DON’T think: I’m in D7(#11), so I’m playing DEF#G#AHC#. Especially in dominant chord situations thinking and playing from the root sounds boring and not like Bebop.

THINK: I am in A melodic minor, so I’m playing ABCDEF#G#.

That was the first lesson. In the next one I will cover some exercises to get used to the sounds of the scales.
Leave a comment if you have questions on this matter.

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