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Thread: Birk's Works Chord Progression/Scale choices.

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    Birk's Works Chord Progression/Scale choices.

    Hello, I'm new to this forum...

    I've been undertaking the ABRSM Jazz Piano gradings and currently I'm at Grade III now trying to make sense of the material they have given me to play.

    The piece as the title suggests is 'Birk's Works'...for soloing in the pieces ABRSM give you guide notes to play over chords...now so far I've been using my own scale choices as the 'guide notes' were quite limited.

    Never the less the chord progression for the solo section is:

    Dm7 / Dm7 / Dm7 / Dm7 /
    Gm7 / Gm7 / Dm7 / Dm7 /
    E7 / A7 / Dm7 / Dm7 /

    and the guide notes they have given me is the Blues scale on D, however when I get the 9th and 10th measures those notes don't seem to fit well.

    What scales would you suggest using?

    Thank you.

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    Piano/Compose/Arrange engelbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dosjky View Post
    Hello, I'm new to this forum...

    I've been undertaking the ABRSM Jazz Piano gradings and currently I'm at Grade III now trying to make sense of the material they have given me to play.

    The piece as the title suggests is 'Birk's Works'...for soloing in the pieces ABRSM give you guide notes to play over chords...now so far I've been using my own scale choices as the 'guide notes' were quite limited.

    Never the less the chord progression for the solo section is:

    Dm7 / Dm7 / Dm7 / Dm7 /
    Gm7 / Gm7 / Dm7 / Dm7 /
    E7 / A7 / Dm7 / Dm7 /

    and the guide notes they have given me is the Blues scale on D, however when I get the 9th and 10th measures those notes don't seem to fit well.

    What scales would you suggest using?

    Thank you.
    One way to go is over E7 and A7 change the notes in the D minor blues scale that don't fit the chords to the chordal notes.
    Jerry Engelbach, piano/arrange/compose
    Engelbach Music
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    unruly quadruped dogbite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by engelbach View Post
    One way to go is over E7 and A7 change the notes in the D minor blues scale that don't fit the chords to the chordal notes.
    yeah what jer said

    try this

    play D blues from the root up to G# for the E7:

    D F G G#

    and to the G for the A7:

    D F G

    'cuz as jer suggested, they're chord tones.

    ps - if that's not enough notes for you:

    D natural minor (D E F G A Bb C D) for the whole smash and then D blues (emphasize the G# as suggested before) for the E7 and D harmonic minor (emphasize the C#) for the A7. there are many many options; i'm just giving the more familiar starting points...
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    Thank you guys, really appreciate...

    I'm well aware that I can force the D Blues scale around the chords...but it sounds a bit bland after a while...especially if I start on the tonic, and then fall to the sub-dominant for the 5th and 6th measures, then rise again to the tonic for the 7th and 8th for the next two bars, then back down that way for the E7 and A7...

    What I was playing with last night...was D blues for first eight measures...then seeing as the left hand notes for the E7 and A7 are Half notes of E Bb A C# I was trying out the G Blues scale, going down to the F blues scale then to Bb blues scale then back to D blues for the final measure...

    Maybe I could try D blues for eight, then G blues, then F blues, then Eb blues, then Db blues, then B blues for the last two bars.

    I'll have a play with what you two have suggested as well...thanks for your time, greatly appreciated.

    Maybe this site might just turn out to be a great find.

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    Are we allowed to post youtubes on here? Is it even possible?

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    Piano/Compose/Arrange engelbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dosjky View Post
    Thank you guys, really appreciate...

    I'm well aware that I can force the D Blues scale around the chords...but it sounds a bit bland after a while...especially if I start on the tonic, and then fall to the sub-dominant for the 5th and 6th measures, then rise again to the tonic for the 7th and 8th for the next two bars, then back down that way for the E7 and A7...

    What I was playing with last night...was D blues for first eight measures...then seeing as the left hand notes for the E7 and A7 are Half notes of E Bb A C# I was trying out the G Blues scale, going down to the F blues scale then to Bb blues scale then back to D blues for the final measure...

    Maybe I could try D blues for eight, then G blues, then F blues, then Eb blues, then Db blues, then B blues for the last two bars.

    I'll have a play with what you two have suggested as well...thanks for your time, greatly appreciated.

    Maybe this site might just turn out to be a great find.
    If you're getting a bland sound wih E7 and A7 you need a stronger melodic line over those chords.

    The most important notes in the two dominant seven chords are the guide tones and the leading tones for the next chord.

    E7 takes you to A7 with D > C# and G# > A.

    A7 takes you to Dm with C# > D and E > F.

    The root progression around the circle of fifths E > A > D is equally strong.

    Working these combinations into your melody will strengthen it.
    Jerry Engelbach, piano/arrange/compose
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    Thank you, just been messing around with those ideas you posted and things are starting to sound lot better.

    Obviously got a tonne more work to do. Next week I'll post about my second piece if that's ok?

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    unruly quadruped dogbite's Avatar
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    what i would do:

    Dm7
    D dorian: D E F G A B C

    Gm7
    G dorian: G A Bb C D E F

    E7
    D blues: D F G G# A C
    D octatonic blues: D E F G G# A B C
    A harmonic minor: A B C D E F G#
    E half-whole diminished: E F G G# A# B C# D
    E altered dominant: E F G Ab Bb C D

    A7
    G blues: G Bb C C# D F
    G octatonic blues: G A Bb C C# D E F
    D harmonic minor: D E F G A Bb C#
    A half-whole diminished: A Bb C C# D# E F# G
    A altered dominant: A Bb C Db Eb F G

    not necessarily in that order. season to taste

    above was a scale approach. the diminished and altered scales are much more difficult to apply on the fly. below is a chord tone approach. rather than simply playing arpeggios, pay particular attention to the guide tones:

    Dm7: F and C
    Gm7: F and Bb
    E7: G# and D
    A7: G and C#

    creating stepwise motion while targeting guide tones never fails. still, D minor pentatonic over the whole smash is a great fallback plan...

    playing off of the fifth with that minor pentatonic is a great way to get a little spicy without all those other scales too:

    D F G A C

    and

    A C D E G

    bounce around the E and F while blasting through the pentatonics is not difficult but sounds real cool. as before, season to taste.
    © 2007-2014 Schell Barkley
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    Cheers, for the grading I have to play through the twelve bars twice...so for the first twelve bars I'm going to stick to D blues because that's what the "guide notes" given by ABRSM suggest, then, to try and attain maximum points, and because I'm doing these gradings to better myself a pianist I'm going to get adventurous with my scale choice.

    Those suggestions you've written there Dogbite have got me a little excited. Lots to dabble with.

    Thank you.

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    I'm currently using 'Jazzology' and ' A Simple and Direct Guide to Jazz Improvisation' both by Robert Rawlins.

    Is there anything else you'd suggest reading with regards to Jazz theory?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dosjky View Post
    ...for soloing in the pieces ABRSM give you guide notes to play over chords...now so far I've been using my own scale choices as the 'guide notes' were quite limited..
    Hi Dosjky,

    maybe it will get more interesting implying the changes from the head (theme) into your solo.


    Changes

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    Hi Fred, thanks for replying.

    I've thought about utilizing ideas from the melody from the head in my solo, but I don't think that offers enough of a display of my own ability to improvise. (Or lack there of).

    I'm playing this piece for an exam, not a performance so I have to hit certain points to attain the points.

    I'll be posting the other two pieces soon enough, I'd love to hear your suggestions on those as well though if you don't mind.

    One of them is 'I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free', sung most famously by Nina Simone I believe.

    Am I right in thinking that is a bebop song, or am I way off the mark?

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    Piano/Compose/Arrange engelbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dosjky View Post
    One of them is 'I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free', sung most famously by Nina Simone I believe.

    Am I right in thinking that is a bebop song, or am I way off the mark?
    It's a quasi-gospel tune, soul-jazz.
    Jerry Engelbach, piano/arrange/compose
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    I've got so much to learn.

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    Guitarist/Oudist/Composer jazz oud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dosjky View Post
    I'm currently using 'Jazzology' and ' A Simple and Direct Guide to Jazz Improvisation' both by Robert Rawlins.

    Is there anything else you'd suggest reading with regards to Jazz theory?
    For an excellent guide to creating structure in your solos, check out Hal Crook's "How to Improvise". It doesn't deal with scale choices or anything like that, it's all higher-order organizational concepts that you can begin applying at any level of development. It helps develop focus and intention in your playing, which is crucial for solos to feel like they are going somewhere.

    Bert Ligon's "Connecting Chords with Linear Harmony" is a great guide to creating bebop-style lines.

    Jazzology is a good text that covers a lot of basic music theory well.
    Most "jazz theory" is built on standard music theory, so it helps to study a standard music theory approach to get all your intervals, chord construction, key relationships, modulation techniques, etc. solid.

    Also, you will learn more by transcribing a couple of choruses of Dizzy or someone playing over this tune than by weeks of worrying about scale choices and whatnot.

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