Improvisation is More Than Just Scales
Most people think, to learn improvisation you really need to master your scales. That's true - but it's just a starting point. Granted scales are a big part of what you draw from for improvisation. There's also intervals, arpeggios and sequences and how you use and apply them.
Essential Jazz Scales?
A scale is not really “Jazz” or “Blues” or “Rock”. A scale is just a collection of notes. It is how a scale or theses collection of notes are used. Some are more common in one style vs. another.
In Jazz we can base all the scales that we will ever need off the Major (Ionian) and Natural Minor (Aeolian) scales. From theses two scales you can create or derive the any other scales you need for playing jazz.
These two scales are core, key and/or references scales. Whatever you call them they are very important.
Essential Scale for Exploring Jazz
- Blues or Minor Pentatonic* ( C, Eb, F, G, Bb, C’ )
My QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele, the Blues Scale book is available as a FREE download.
- Pentatonic or Major Pentatonic ( C D E G A C’
And the QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele, the Pentatonic Scale books is available as a download.
All scale examples are shown with a C root for comparison.
- Ionian ( C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C’ )
the Major scale is one of the first scale a lot of musicians learn. Especially on the piano where C major is the white keys only.
- Dorian ( C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C’ )
- Phrygian ( C, Db, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C’ )
- Lydian ( C, D, E, F#, G, A, B, C’ )
- Mixolydian or Dominant ( C, D, E, F, G, A, Bb, C’ )
- Aeolian or Natural Minor ( C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C’ )
- Locrian ( C, Db, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C’ )
- Major ( C D E F G A B C’ )
- Natural Minor ( C D Eb F G Ab Bb C’ )
- Harmonic Minor ( C D Eb F G Ab B C’ )
- Jazz Melodic Minor ( C D Eb F G A B C’ )
- Diminished ( C D Eb F Gb Ab A B C’)
- Whole Tone ( C D E F# G# A# C’ )
- Mixolydian +4 or Lydian Dominant ( C D E F# G A Bb C’ )
- Mixolydian -2, -6 ( C Db E F G Ab Bb C’ )
- Mixolydian -2 ( C Db E F G A Bb C’ )
- Mixolydian -6 ( C D E F G Ab Bb C’ )
- Inverted Diminished ( C Db D# E F# G A Bb C’ )
- Super Locrain ( C Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb C’ )
Most of the above scales are available as a book from my QuickStart Series of Scale and Arpeggio Fingering series books.
QuickStart Scale & Arpeggio Fingerings are a highly organized, efficient system of scale and arpeggio fingerings. Each fingering pattern is shown with a fingerboard shape, TAB and standard music notation. Related chords are also explained for each scale.
Master these fingerings and unlock your potential for improvisation.
Whether your interest is in Blues, Rock, Jazz, Country or somewhere in between ant QuickStart Scale & Arpeggio Fingerings Series book is a valuable addition to your musical library.
* There is some overlap with these essential scale, with some just alternate names for the same set of notes.
DERIVED SCALES - From these essential jazz scales other scales can be derived for use in the jazz idiom.
The Blues - a progression, a scale, a felling. The blues is at the heart of all American music. IT's found it's way into rock, country, folk. R&B and Jazz. It's a great vehicle to explore jazz.
The Mixolydian Scale and the Blues
The Mixolydian scale, sometimes called the Dominant scale is a great place to start when learning to soloing in more advanced jazz styles. This is a great “bridge” scale widely used in the blues, rock, and R&B styles. It's a great scale to get your feet wet with when exploring jazz.
The Mixolydian scale is created by lowering the seventh scale degree of a major scale one half step. This gives the Mixolydian scale a formula of (1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 8).
The Blues is the most common song form in music and can easily “jazzed” up with 4-part chords .
In Jazz we can base a lot of the scales that we'll ever need from the Major (Ionion) and Natural Minor (Aeolian) scales. From theses two scales you can create the essential scales you need in jazz styles.
Site Membership Plans to LearningUkulele.com
Basic Plan - A limited selection of basic lessons — ( currently over 140 ) and 100+ songs for ukulele as well as basic general music reference material — Completely FREE — Simply Register/Signup. HOWEVER - I've been doing ukulele and LearningUkulele.com since 2003 and probably have given too much away already - as reflected in my income from the site in relationship to the time spent on the site. So help support this site and its continued development by signing up for one of the below Premium Access Plans or buy a few of my books. - Thanks, Curt
Forever Premium Gold Plan - The Forever Premium Gold Plan gives you Unlimited 24/7 access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources and related assets. As well as ALL books by Curt Sheller as FREE downloads. Pretty much everything on the site and NEVER worry about a subscription or surprise payment again. And jump the queue for my responding to any questions.
If your anything like me (Curt) and getting Subscription overload with everything on-line wanting money from you once a month — I'm with you. For like minded individuals this forever plan is a pay once and never be bugged again.
The price for Unlimited Forever access is right around the cost of a few months of private lessons. I can guarantee that is more material on-line to keep you bust for a long, long time. And, you get all of my books for FREE. That along is more than the cost of this plan.
NOTE: Each higher membership level includes ALL the benefits of the lower membership levels. The Private Lesson Plans include all the benefits of a Premium Access Plans as long as you remain a student on on the schedule.
Just browsing over both books, they look fantastic! I'm a guitarist and uke player for over 25 years and was thinking about writing a ukulele book but you've already written what I think are the best, most comprehensive and thorough books I've ever seen for the instrument. I just might end up buying every book you've written and I'll be giving my highest recommendation for your books to my friends and students. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great books! — Peter Rhee
Aloha, Curt, All I can say is WOW! What you have accomplished is simply incredible! All the best — Glen Hirabayashi, The Aloha Boys
Folks, if you haven't stopped by Curt's site, do so right now! ..And get his books, they are fantastic. This guy knows his stuff and is able to pass it along too. — Alan Johnson Proprietor, The 4th Peg
I can highly recommend Curt's Uke books — I have four of them and they are excellent. — fatveg — Portland
Thanks for visiting and checking out the site!
Original Curtie Animation from 1987 for my first web site on a Macintosh II.
33 years ago.
“Built for myself (Curt), and sharing with the `Ukulele community!”
LearningUkulele.com has one of the largest collections of lessons, songs, and TABS, luthiers, ukulele builders, ukulele festival and club information, and, ukulele links on the web. I’ve been on the ®Internet since the early 1990's and This site just never stops growing!!!
Content is added and updated almost daily - so check back often.