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PASSING TONES

(32 posts)
  1. I'd like to get an opinion on the use of passing tones.In short,I am basically a rock guy trying to sound(more than play)like a jazz guitar player(though I do possess rudimentary jazz knowledge). I found 2 great resources for the basic use of passing tones,KEN KARSH:JAZZ SCALE WORKOUT and BRETT GARSED.Basically they give you a couple of keys and show you some possibilities.Taking into consideration that jazz is a language(which I don't speak very well)and takes years of experience before you're able to speak it,what are some basic ways to add passing tones in a modal and non-modal setting.

  2. jorgemg1984
    Member

    I would say you first need to hear passing tones. I use passing tones more in chordal thinking way than scalar. My thinking on that is too big to post here unfortunately.

  3. I agree with you.A session guitarist several years back told me that's it all how you hear the music when I queried him about the same issue.
    Brett Garsed gave a great initial exercise in his book/video.In the key of A for example he said the following notes(w/passing tones) could be used for A major or A7:A-B-C#-D-D#-E-F-F#-G-G#-A.Its pretty basic but it gets a beginner somewhat familiar with the idea.

  4. jorgemg1984
    Member

    When I think of passing tones I tend to think more of chords than keys. In a C Major 7 chord in a vertical logic you would have 1 3 5 7 9 #11 13. You can have passing tones leading to any of these notes from above or below (one, two, three...).

    I don't know that video, he bascially sugests #4, b6 and b7 and passing tones. I think b3 (C) is also an excellent passing tone (and a blue note as well).

    Listen to bebop, those guys really know how to use passing tones... parker, bud powell, etc...

    The hearing tip is actually true to everything... it's important to learn stuff on the instrument but also on the ears!

  5. JPMike
    Member

    Passing tones are more like, approaches to the scale notes. Also, they can't be played on any downbeat, always on the upbeat.

    If you play a passing tone on a downbeat, an experienced ear will tell.

    if you want to get passing tones, I would suggest you to study bebop scales. Imagine a scale (7 notes) added one more.

    For example, I will keep it simple, if you got a C Major scale, C D E F G A B C, you add one more note, the Ab. Or the b6 for the Ionian scale to become Bebop scale.

    Of course, bebop scale is one way of introducing yourself to more jazz thinking. There are numerous ways to get that jazz-y hearing.

  6. jorgemg1984
    Member

    "Passing tones are more like, approaches to the scale notes. Also, they can't be played on any downbeat, always on the upbeat."

    Not true. If you transcribe enough you'll know this is not true.

    "if you want to get passing tones, I would suggest you to study bebop scales. Imagine a scale (7 notes) added one more."

    Passing tones and bebop scales are not the same thing at all....

    Sorry Mike! :)

    PS - Did you get my answer on scale patterns?

  7. JPMike
    Member

    I am still a newbie and trying to find out how things work. :D

    Yeah, I did, quite interesting. Need to get this into my practicing schedule, thanks a lot.

    Sorry for hijacking the thread.

  8. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Oh no hijacking Mike... Everyone was once a newbie :) Good practice and ask anything you want!

  9. harmnobean
    Member

    Wait a second....bebop scales DO have a chromatic passing tone built right in.

    C major bebop: C D E F G G# A B. C Major with a chromatic passing tone between scale degrees 5 and 6.

    C minor bebop: C D Eb F G G# A B. C Melodic Minor with a chromatic passing tone between scale degrees 5 and 6.

    C dominant bebop: C D E F G A Bb B C. C Mixolydian with a chromatic passing tone between scale degrees b7 and 1.

    These scales present a fine way to begin adding chromatic passing tones (and with them, a sense of controlled chromaticism to your playing. There are books on how to use these scales and why they "work", but really what these scales do is take a common concept heard frequently in jazz (adding a chromatic passing tone between 5 and 6...or b7 and 1) and put them into a context that is easy to practice. Practicing these scales will open up your ear to these particular chromatic passing tones and, by getting them under your fingers, will increase the likelihood that they will appear in your playing. Once you have mastered a particular chromaticism, adding more will be comparatively simple! Finally, remember that using these scales will only get you in the ballpark of sounding like a jazz player. Using these sounds authentically would require the additional understanding of some of the many ways various jazz masters have used them and applying those to your playing.

    Hope this is helpful!

  10. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Yes they do... 5ch6 on chords with 7 and b7ch1 on chords with minor 7h (there are other options, Bergonzi's book is great on that).

    Bebop scales are a very specific device that align chords and beats. The fact that they have a passing tone does not mean they are the same as using passing tones / chromaticism in your playing... that's a whole other subject. They're both worth studying though.

  11. jazznan
    Member

    Bebop scales came after the fact. First you do and then someone, usually an academic, gives it a name. Then an industry of books and pedagogy gets built around it. Best advice given was to listen to the music and use your ears. You can read about it, but the only real way to get there is by listening and playing.

  12. harmnobean
    Member

    Sorry, I think we are understanding the original post differently. progressiverok asked for "basic ways to add passing tones in a modal and non-modal setting", so the suggestion of bebop scales seems like a logical starting point, in that they take simple scales that he probably knows, and add a single passing tone. I agree that "hearing it" is huge, but why not attack the problem from more than one angle? If anything, practicing these sounds on the instrument in addition to ear training and listening will speed up the process and make it all more fun...in my opinion, at least.

    This doesn't have much to do with the original post, but I have to say that I fail to see how using a chromatic passing tone between 5 and 6 on a major chord does not qualify as using chromaticism or a passing tone, simply because it also qualifies as use of a bebop scale.

  13. I think as a whole there has been a great deal said on this posting,all very helpful.Don Mock has a video in which he uses the Be-bop scale starting on the 6th position(e.g. in the key of C maj that would be A)and that was truly an eye opener for me.I think its a combination of hearing and applying when it comes to this issue.

    "Do not fear mistakes, there are none." -Miles

  14. jorgemg1984
    Member

    "This doesn't have much to do with the original post, but I have to say that I fail to see how using a chromatic passing tone between 5 and 6 on a major chord does not qualify as using chromaticism or a passing tone, simply because it also qualifies as use of a bebop scale."

    Because bebop scales implies horizontal thinking and chromaticism usually vertical thinking. They are related but not the same.

    "Bebop scales came after the fact. First you do and then someone, usually an academic, gives it a name. Then an industry of books and pedagogy gets built around it."

    Most of the times I would agree with you but not now. I transcribed some bebop in my life and bebop scales are everywhere always with that same specific chromatic note. I think Parker was pretty systematic about them... It's a real concept and not another way of explaining an intuitive process trough theory (which happens a lot)

  15. jazznan
    Member

    Parker was not playing bebop scales. He was playing what he heard and what he experimented with, and you can only get there by playing. You're calling them bebop scales now, because you see those pitches, but that's not how he got to that musical place.
    There are lots of players you try to play bebop and sound horrible because they are playing so called bebop scales. You arrive at a sound after a journey, you can't just decide to be a bebop player or band, you get called that after the fact.
    You can't just wake up and say, "I'm going to play bebop or try to by playing this scale". You get there by playing and hearing your way to it, it's part of a natural development on a musical journey.
    This is also how you get other ways of playing jazz, someone comes along and doesn't here "bebop" music, but hears something else and does that. They may dable in it and try to learn from Parker, but then they find their own way.

  16. jorgemg1984
    Member

    I agree with everything you said but "bebop scales" are very clear in Parker's playing... he used them all the time. You can give it another name if you want.

  17. Gia5
    Member

    The minor bebop i knew was C D Eb E F G A Bb (wich is the same of F mixolydian bebop)

  18. jorgemg1984
    Member

    That is usually used when a II V occupies only 1 bar and the relevant chord is F7. Hal Galper explains it well on "Forward Motion" - b7ch7 on b7 chords and 5ch6 on 7 chords.

  19. guitar1025
    Member

    jorgemg1984, I think that's the very point. Yes, what he played ended up playing is what we now call bebop scales. What jazznan is saying is that these names that we've given things have come from analysis of what those who have come before have already done. When Bird was in the shed he wasn't practicing "bebop scales." He was practicing a sound that he heard other cats playing. . .which, years later, we've given the name bebop scales. It reminds me of a story I heard years ago about Joe Pass. Apparently he was doing a clinic/masterclass and someone asked him a question about playing over II-V's. Joe's response was "What's a II-V?"

  20. jorgemg1984
    Member

    I understand your points. I am too against over-theory. Parker was very visceral and joyful on his playing... much less cerebral than most think. But I do think this specific topic, "bebop scales" was born from the intellect not intuition.

  21. jazznan
    Member

    "What's a II-V", hilarious, good one Joe and guitar1025

  22. I put this quote in another of my postings but I think it applies with regards to over analysis of theory.Bill Bruford said in his auto-bio,"I've sat at a drum kit most working days of my life,trying to acquire enough technique so that I can forget about it.Some players make the fatal error of acquiring technique for the sake of it and then imposing it upon the music.The music does not exist to serve you;you exist to serve the music."

    Mike Stern also said when he was at Berklee what they gave him was pretty dry in terms of knowledge.It was up to him,he said, to do something with it.There came a time he said when jazz stopped being an exercise and became a language.

    Finally,if I can wax philosophical,between the idea and the practice of the idea is a whole lot of time and experience : )

  23. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Guys between 100% intuition and 100% intellect you lots if in between. I agree Parker was very intuitive despite what people think; I agree there's too much theory around jazz; BUT the intellect can be a powerful force and can lead you to conclusions intuition can't. Bebop scales are one of many good examples like pentatonics, upper structure triads or triad pairs. Most of these things are not intuitive to be played but born of the intellect. Good players will of course study them in a way they will become intuitive but they are still born from the intellect.

  24. david6strings
    Member

    Agree with harmnobean. there is a lot of ways to play passing notes. My best advice, 1 thing is music theory and another 1 is style. i mean if you want to play the way jazz cats do, learn it from the best. so forget Brett Garsed (he's great, but he don't play jazz)even Mike Stern is more like a Fusion player for me. Best method, to transcribe and "Barry Harris Workshop" videos. if you want guitar players to transcribe i chose Jimmy Raney. just my opinion, i enjoy reading yours

  25. guitar1025
    Member

    I agree with jorgemg1984 to an extent. For the most part I see it as, to use your terms, things end up becoming intellect from studying intuition. Yes bebop scales, pentatonics, upper structure triads and triad pairs are great tangible things for people to study to improve as improvisers. But all of these things were around long before they had names.

  26. jorgemg1984
    Member

    I also agree with you to an extent :) The fact they didn't have name does not make them 100% intuitive; giving them a name does not also make them 100% intellectual;

  27. guitar1025
    Member

    :) Right.

    For me:

    Intellectual = Being told that you can play a triad a whole step above the root on a major seven chord (D for CMaj7). Then shedding your triads so you can play any of them comfortably. "I've been told that this works, so I should do it."

    Intuition = Internalizing the sounds and applications of symmetrical diminished by transcribing someone like John Scofield. "It sounds cool, so I should do it."

    So I think most parts of improvised music come from some sense of intuition and checking out what came before; evolution, if you will (wonder how many people I piss off with that word).

  28. silverwater
    Member

    I put my take on bebop scales on my website, as part of the music theory/practicing guitar section I'm building:

    http://www.jonblanchette.com/harmonic-theorypractice-ideas/scales-and-chordscale-relationships/bebop-scales/

    The formatting sucks right now, but any feedback is appreciated.

  29. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Guitar1025 I completely agree that any new material you practice you should 1) hear and transcribe good examples on actual solos 2) write your own material based on it 3) learn to sing it. Basically taking something intellectual to intuition level :)

  30. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Silverwater my first advice: drop the tabs...

    My second advice: I always found confusing having to learn 10 bebop scales. That's why I think the approach a) with a b7 you use b7ch1 b) with a 7 you use 5ch6 is so simple and practical...

    When you hear other stuff it's usually superimposition like using F7 bebop over Cm6. Cm6 is no more than F7 / C. Specifically on your m7b5 I got the concept: imposing G7bebop on Bm7b5 but this means spelling the b6 which is far from a chord-tone. Using the chromatics AA#B would be much better than FF#G. I like the imposition of Dbalt over G7alt. That's a nice one :)


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