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I saw an exercise somewhere, where the idea was to
practice rootless dominant 7th voicings in the left
hand, while moving around the circle of fifths, starting
with the key of C.

And with the right hand, you would start at a high
C, and play the Bebop dominant scale down 2 octaves, and then when you switched to the F7, you would start playing the
F Bebop scale, except moving upwards. And then when
you moved to the Bb7, you would move back downwards
again, etc, etc....until you got back to C again.

Then it said to repeat the exercise, but instead of starting
at the root, you would start and end on the 3rd. And then repeat yet again, starting and ending on the 5th.

Does this sound like a good way to get this scale down?

It doesn't sound bad, but I tend to like exercies the mimic what you'll find in actual music. While I can think of a few pieces where you have a circle of 5ths movement in dominant chords (Jordu, e.g.), the ii-V is much more common. So in most tunes, you'll be playing the BeBop scale coming off the preceeding ii chord.

The drill I was taught was to practice scales through a series of ii-Vs, each time turning the V7 into the next minor 7 chord. E.G.:

A-, D7, D-, G7, G-7, C7, etc.
This will get you through half the keys. You'll need to start over a half step up.

I've been taught other, more complex ii-V-I drills, but this is the one I return to.

P.S. It'll be real helpful when you get to play How High the Moon!
Originally Posted by jjo
P.S. It'll be real helpful when you get to play How High the Moon!


Transcribing Ornithology or memorizing from Omnibook would also be a good exercise.
Echoing the sentiments of jjo and 36251, the routine that you outline is a very effective way to learn the bebop dominant scale.

However, if your true goal is to improve your improv you would be better off working on real world transcriptions and learning how to construct a melody line.

I am not a fan of the scales=solos mindset. Scales are only one *part* of a strong melody line. You need to also know how to use chord tones, arpeggios and approach patterns in concert with scale passages to develop a true ability to improvise strong melody lines.

I've got a lesson here (it's free) on my improv concept: http://www.jazzpianoonline.com/jazz...concept/detail.html#sthash.w9MHAy3l.dpbs
Ok, I got a Jazz instructor's opinion, and he said someone totally new to the Bebop scale (like me) should start with the right hand only, or maybe just the root note with the left hand, and using a metronome, start at a slow tempo, at a high root note, and work down and up the scale, two full octaves, using proper fingering.

Go around the circle of fifths, and then increase the tempo a bit, and repeat twice at faster tempos.

Once you are comfortable playing the scales root-to-root, try playing them from 3rd-to-3rds, and then do 5ths, and then 7ths.

I must say, an 8 note scale sure has different fingering than the 7 note scales! TIME TO PRACTICE!

grin
I think it'll be just as effective and a lot more fun if you spent a month or so simply improvising with the bebop scale. Play it in one hand, then with the other, then with both hands an octave or two apart. And at different tempos and feels. After that, use it over chords in all 12 keys.

Along the way, you'll get to know all of the bebop scales inside and out, and you will in fact be improving your technique. After a month, you can practice them as technical exercises but not you'll have a lot of practical experience with them under your belt, so you'll know exactly what you'll need to do from that point on. It will become clearer to you in relation to your own individual musical development.

Good luck!
For the bebop scales, first thing I always do at practice is the bebop dom scale up and down the whole piano length, both hands, from random note to random note, then the bebop major scale (flat 6) up and down, all 12 keys, then the three double-diminished scales, then the chromatic, always both hands and random note to random note. I also think about practicing different kinds of touch, and it's as much about that as the scales themselves.

Then for practicing lines, I have the metronome going and just try to ensure chord tones are on down beats and use the halfstep-below note to pickup to the chordtone note, which often uses a bebop scale if you cross its extra-note zone, but there are other ways you can keep the chord tones on downbeats. Then I do that for 2-5-1-6 loops, on the same loop many times until it's fluid (each day I'm increasing the tempo), then when I want to transition, I minor the 6 and it's the new 2, and it goes around the whole cycle that way.

So just recently I've been adding increasing numbers of techniques so it's not just scaler runs and turns, like arpeggios and stock phrases. Down the road I'm going to start trying scale-combos or scale-arpeggio combos.

Then the third part of my practice is with voicings, just playing a given two hand voicing around the cycle in time with the metronome and speeding it up until I reach a limit. Then I'll do another voicing type. Nothing to do with scales, but I thought I'd add it for completeness. Then the last thing I'll do is improvise on a tune through countless choruses, trying to use some of what I picked up from the practice. So that's my routine. Been doing it almost everyday for a year and 6 months now! Well, it got more organized over that period. It wasn't as efficient early on.
question from a novice -- what is the working definition of the 'bebop dominant scale' here ? is it the Mixoydian mode, based on lowering the seventh of a major scale by half a step, or something different ? thanks for your patience.
Bebop scales have 8 notes instead of 7.

This is what I learned. (David Baker was the guru of this and his books on bebop are great. This is his system, not necessarily the only one possible.)

The bebop dom. scale is the major scale adding an extra note of the lowered 7th, ie, an extra passing note between the 6 and maj7 (that is, you play from the 6 to both the dom7 and maj7 back to the 1 in a four-note chromatic sequence).

The bebop major scale for the I would be the major scale adding a passing note between the 5 and 6 (i.e., a lowered 6) for the extra note.

And the bebop II scale would be a dorian scale (minor except raised 6) adding a major 3rd (passing note between the min3 and 4) for the extra note (which means it'd be the same scale if you kept playing it into the V as the relevant bebop dom. scale, which may be the easier way to remember it.)

Edit. Oops I forgot one, the bebop melodic minor scale when you're playing a minor I. Basically it's the same as the major bebop scale except you use a minor third. Ie, minor scale with raised 6 and 7 and an extra passing note between the 5 and 6 to make it an 8 note scale.

Long story short, if you played those scales in 8th notes from beat 1, the down beats would stay on chord tones and the up beats would (mostly) stay on non-chord tones. So keeping chord tones always on the down beats and starting the scale over on beat 1 is one thing it naturally does.
dankon. you've paraphrased what several sources describe. it seems what's called 'bebop' scales are closely related to what other descriptive methods/systems call modes like the mixolydian, dorian, or variants of phyrgian modes, but eight notes rather than seven, the added note functioning as a passing tone. my own inclination is to find common vocabulary rather than start over from zero.

my ears also suggest that the extra tones supplementing the basic scales or modes aren't always used strictly/exclusively as passing notes, though in a sequence of single notes in a run or phrase the description clearly applies on a basic level.
Yes, I misspoke calling the bebop dominant a major scale when it's a mixolydian with a passing maj7 as you say. The other thing I forgot to mention was, to the extent the extra note is passing, it's when you're passing from it up a half step to the chord tone. If it's passing down a half step it's not as strong (not always terrible, just not as strong).

And if you generalized the principle, you can pass up from any passing note a half step below a chord tones to the chord tone and it sounds good, not only the specific ones mentioned here. With the swing 8th notes going, AND-1, and-2, AND-3, and-4, one of those passing notes being on an 'and' and the chord tone up a half step being on the down beat sounds good.
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