We are going to get familiar with jazz scales and arpeggios at today’s post. I will try to be efficient and practical to be most useful to the jazz student.
We have talked about modes in my previous post titled introduction to diatonic harmony. We are going to continue with jazz scales today. Let’s start with c-major scale.
Frequently used c-major scale also includes d dorian and g mixolydian modes.
If we flatten the 3rd of the c-major scale, we find c melodic minor scale.
If we flatten both the 3rd and the 6th of c-major scale, we will have c-harmonic minor scale. If you are not familiar with the intervals like 3rd and 6th, please read my previous post titled building blocks of chords, intervals.
Be-bop scale is very similar to c mixolydian mode ( f-major scale ). It has one more added note which is b natural. Since it has 8 notes, it is rhythmically balanced when you play the whole scale with 8th notes up to the next down beat. It was invented by the be-bop players hence the name.
Altered scale is usually played over altered chords.
Now, let’s talk about synthetic scales ( diminished & whole-tone ).
Diminished scale is made of series of half + whole steps or vice versa. We only present the first example above but you can easily build the other with whole + half steps.
Wholetone scale consists of whole steps only and it has 6 notes.
Arpeggios are chord tones that are played single note at a time.
D-minor 7 arpeggio is usually played over II-7 over c-major scale.
G 7 arpeggio is usually played over G dominant 7 chord.
E-minor 7 arpeggio could either be played over E-7 ( III-7 ) or Cmaj7 ( Imaj7 ) chords. When played over C-maj7, the d note inside E-7 arpeggio becomes the 9th of C-major chord.
Fmaj7 arpeggio can either be played over Fmaj7 or D-7 chords. E note becomes the 9th when played over D-7.
B-7b5 could either be played over B-7b5 or G7 chords.
Arpeggios are important basis for jass phrasing. If you know your arpeggios well, it will certainly help you become a stronger player.