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Beginner Modal jazz, modes and scales

thehunt

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Am i the first in this new part of the forum? Can someone explain to me the difference between modal jazz and using scales, or am i getting all confused, what is what? I tend to use the scales that fit the pieces of music i am playing when improvising but at the moment seem to have a sound which IMHO is quite repetitive, how do you get out of that samey sound? Any views greatly appreciated, rgds Phil:D
 

Pete Thomas

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Am i the first in this new part of the forum? Can someone explain to me the difference between modal jazz and using scales, or am i getting all confused, what is what? I tend to use the scales that fit the pieces of music i am playing when improvising but at the moment seem to have a sound which IMHO is quite repetitive, how do you get out of that samey sound? Any views greatly appreciated, rgds Phil:D
Modal jazz is a form of jazz that has very few chord changes, often just one for the whole song or for several bars at a time and the idea is that you can solo using just the mode that is appropriate for that chord.

(e.g. Miles Davis: So What)

Other forms (bebop, swing etc) have more chord changes. There is a system (Jamey Aebersold scale syllabus) which helps you to learn how to play over these changes by using a scale that fits each chord.

I used to go along with this but now prefer a different approach, ie learning the notes of the chord first and using them (along with a knowledge of key centres - see main site jazz for beginners) as the most important part of constructing a solo.
 
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thehunt

thehunt

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Thanks for the info Pete, i do generally look at the key signature and play the notes that fit that key i.e. as in a blues scale. Just trying to find out more about doing something different. BTW played my first solo last night in front of the band. Think it went well, mouth was as dry as a sock when i finished.
 

Pete Thomas

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Modal jazz tunes will normally stay in the same key for the entire tune or else for long sections at a time.

But some bebop and other styles (and standards) have chords sequences that go through various keys (key centres) even though the key sig does not alter.

E.G Giant stepsgoes through the key centres of G, B and Eb - all very different keys.
 

half diminished

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It's basically a temporary change of key for a few bars. This means that just playing around with the scale of the key sig will probably be a bit dodgy, unless you luckily hit some cool jazz or blues notes!

See here and move gradually down the menu.
Thanks Pete.

Just when I think I am starting to make some progress it gets complicated again! I guess that's why it takes a lifetime to learn/execute Jazz! I think I started about 35 years too late!
 
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