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Piano for the Modern Musician. Modern Harmony and Jazz Piano Improvisation.

Jazz Piano Improvisation - Minor Scales

This video talks about how to improvise on the piano over minor chord progressions. How to form words from your scales. The jazz minor and bebop scales and modifying them to stabilize them. To be able to sustain playing a scale up and down the piano without losing our balance, we need to make scales rhythmically even, so that the notes of the chord fall on the downbeat.

The Minor Scales

​The scales on this article are written on Gm to be consistent with the video tutorial. There are several minor scales available; all these scales have different functions melodically or harmonically.

Scales are like the letters of the alphabet; they provide the whole melodic material we use to improvise; but to form words with those letters we need to break the scales into chords. Broken chords form the words of the music alphabet and allow us to ground our playing and establish a dialog. (please refer to the video for more information)

The "Natural" Minor Scale

The Natural minor scale is the scale that forms on the 6th degree of a major key. Also, referred as the Eolian Mode.

The "Dorian" Minor Scale

The Dorian minor scale derives from the II degree of the major scale. Also known as the Dorian mode.

The "Harmonic" Minor Scale

The notes of the harmonic minor scale are the same as the natural minor except that the seventh degree is raised by one semitone. It is called the "Harmonic Minor" because it is a common foundation for harmonies (chords) used in a minor key.

The "Classical" Melodic Minor Scale

The "Classical" melodic minor scale ascends using the major 7th and descends using the minor 7th.

The "Jazz" Melodic Minor Scale

The "Jazz" melodic minor scales ascends and descends using the major 7th.

The "Jazz" Melodic Minor Scale. Variation.

This variation of the melodic Jazz Scale ascends as the jazz melodic minor skipping the root up to the 9th and then descends from the root down. This scale solves the rhythmic inconsistency of the Jazz melodic scale when playing over an octave. (Refer to the video for examples)

The "Bebop" Melodic Minor Scale

The "Bebop" melodic minor scale, solves the rhythmic inconsistency of the regular jazz melodic minor scale by adding the minor 7th as a passing tone both ascending and descending.

The "Bebop" Melodic Minor Scale. Variation.

This Bebop melodic minor scale variation makes use of the major 3rd as a passing tone as well as the minor 7th passing tone. The scale ascends as the bebop melodic minor and descends as the dominant bebop scale. (Refer to the video for more information)

The Minor "Pentatonic" Scale

The Minor "Blues" Scale

File Name: The-Minor-Jazz-Scales.pdf
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