Jazz Ukulele - Improvisation

Learning to improvise or create melodies. Scales, Arpeggios, Intervals and Sequences are the source material.

Improvisation is More Than Just Scales

Most people think, to learn improvisation you really need to master you 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.

Here are the Major and Natural Minor scale shapes to memorize from the scales page.

These two scales are core, key and/or references scales. Whatever you call them they are very important.

Essential Scale for Exploring Jazz

Contemporary Scales

All scale examples are shown with a C root for comparison.

Modal Scales

  • 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’ )

Traditional Scales

  • 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’)

    Here is a FREE download of the Diminished scale using the QuickStart Series Scale Fingering format.

  • Whole Tone ( C D E F# G# A# C’ )

    Here is a FREE download of the Whole Tone scale using the QuickStart Series Scale Fingering format.

Alterted Scales

  • 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’ )

Suplemental Scales

  • Inverted Diminished ( C Db D# E F# G A Bb C’ )
  • Super Locrian ( C Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb C’ )

* 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

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.

C Blues

Here is a basic blues progression using seventh chords and a sample solo using the mixolydian scale over each chord.

The chords are C7, F7 and G7. The C, F and G Mixolydian scales will be used.

Thanks for visiting and checking out the site!

Content is always being added and updated. So check-in often. Thanks, Curt

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[ UL0 ] (ukulele) IMPROV.PHP | Updated: Saturday, 28th June, 2014 @ 03:18pm • 21 Visitors On-line