What is the minor bebop scale?

dead of night

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Hi, I've read three contradicting versions of what the minor bebop scale is.

All three state it is the Dorian scale with either:

an added major third

an added flat 5th

an added major 7th.

Which one is it?
 

JonR

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According to Mark Levine's Jazz Theory Book, there's two:
Bebop dorian = dorian with added M3
Bebop melodic minor = melodic minor with added #5/b6

But IMO you can invent any "bebop scale" you like, by adding a chromatic passing note to a 7-note scale - the idea being to be able to make 8th note scale runs and land on chord tones (or consonant extensions) on the beat.
Dorian with added maj7 would certainly fit the bill. So would adding b5, which would make it more like "blues dorian".
(Dorian with added maj7 would be same as melodic minor with added b7 - but would suit dorian m7 chords better.)

IMO, it's significant that, while Levine's book contains a few examples of bebop scales from jazz recordings, none of them show either of his minor bebop scales in action (they're all major and dominant bebop). So the question is: where did he get them from? Did he :)eek:) just invent them himself? If not, why hasn't he found examples to help convince us of their existence in - er - bebop music (which he has listened to countless examples of)? After all, jazz theory is supposed to derive from jazz practice...

(And other sources will list different kinds of bebop scale; there seems to be no agreed set.)

Which is why I think all bets are off. You can use any chromatic you like, anywhere it helps you get a smooth line, or an interesting dissonance. The concept of "bebop scales" is just a highly reductive formula for this basic principle.
IOW, the important thing is to understand the principle of added chromatics. Then just forget about "bebop scales" altogether.
 

Pedro58

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Bebop is a feel or a style. I thought you could use any scale, within reason, and add some chromaticism and there you go. The notes come so fast, what difference does it make?
 

Banditt

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If I had to do it all over, I would start out practicing scales using bebop(8-note) scales and exercises...It forces you to be musical, emphasize the correct accents and chord tones, passing tones. You actually make music while you practice...which hopefully is our goal in the first place.

Although it is very import to memorize the major scale, and diatonic chord structure...this is the basis for western music...I feel having Bebop dominant as your "base" makes much more sense. 1,2,3,4,5,6,b7,7 up, then 8,b7,6,b6,5,4,3,2 down. It works on Major, and Dominant. Minor chord? Flat the 3 and BAM! Major and Minor pentatonic are just "modes" of a "sketch outline" of these two scales.
 

Lucidology

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The Be-Bop Minor Scale or any Be-Bop scale is whatever chromatic addition you add in the moment during a solo ...
 

jamester

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According to Mark Levine's Jazz Theory Book, there's two:
Bebop dorian = dorian with added M3
What is your feeling on that, Jon?

Personally I don't like it, that would be Mixo with an added #9. For me, a scale with a M3 cannot (should not) be named as a minor scale/mode.

As for the OP's question, I also look at "bebop scales" as eight-note scales with a choice chromatic; in natural minor you'd typically add the #7 or #6, but you could also have a b5 or b9 depending on color choices.

These "bebop" scales are good to understand, but it's all relative to phrasing technique. Unless you are running full scales up and down, note placement will depend on your rhythmic choices, a "magic chromatic" will neither make or break you...
 

Petimar

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I like the scales that put the chord tone on the beat. In that case m7 bebop scale would be 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 7 1, every other note a chord tone of a m7.
 

JonR

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What is your feeling on that, Jon?

Personally I don't like it, that would be Mixo with an added #9. For me, a scale with a M3 cannot (should not) be named as a minor scale/mode.
It depends on context. Over a m7 chord, then the M3 is a passing note.
Obviously on a dom7 chord, then the m3 is the passing note - and that's extremely common (but you wouldn't then call it a "bebop dorian" scale ;)).

That's the theory anyway. The only practical occurrence I've come across (in my admittedly limited experience of jazz ;)), is when the 3rd of a m7 is raised in the bass, on the last beat, to lead to the root of the next chord. I don't think that counts as a "bebop scale" ;).

In any case, I think this whole thing is symptomatic of too much emphasis on SCALES, as if they are somehow independent of chords. Which chromatics you might use, and where, is going to depend on the context (chord, key, and voice-leading).

To be fair, Levine (at least) is assuming chord contexts for his bebop scales:
bebop major: on maj7 or 6 chords
bebop dominant: on dom7s
bebop dorian: on min7s (ii in major or iv in minor)
bebop melodic minor: on tonic minor chords
As for the OP's question, I also look at "bebop scales" as eight-note scales with a choice chromatic; in natural minor you'd typically add the #7 or #6, but you could also have a b5 or b9 depending on color choices.

These "bebop" scales are good to understand, but it's all relative to phrasing technique. Unless you are running full scales up and down, note placement will depend on your rhythmic choices, a "magic chromatic" will neither make or break you...
Agreed.
The other dubious notion behind bebop scales is - apparently - that you're always going to be wanting to run 8th-note lines up and down scales - that's the only occasion when one of these specified chromatics is going to make sense (to enable chord tones on beats). But 8th-note scale runs is one of the most boring, unimaginative things you can do as a soloist. Especially if you're placing chord tones on the beat!

IOW, it seems to me as if the whole concept of bebop scales is designed to encourage the most boring kind of soloing! "Forget chords, just run up and down the scale in 8th notes, put this chromatic note in there, and hey: you're playing bebop jazz!!" NOT.
 

jamester

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Good stuff Jon, thanks.

Yeah it's just a 'thing' with me...a m3 can always be seen as a 'tension' in a major(based) scale, but not the other way around. So Mixo can have a m3, but Dorian can't have a M3 (if that makes sense). Perhaps it's all semantics at the end of the day, but that's my approach to the nomenclature.

Of course anything can be used as a passing tone or approach-note, but that shouldn't influence the naming of the scale. The arpeggio from the root defines the function. Anyways, I agree with what you said and appreciate your thoughts. :)
 

Sid

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This thread is fabulous, it has gotten me interested in bebop, I always found it difficult combining 7 notes with landing in cord tones in the first beat
 

guitarjazz

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If you go to the Hal Galper link above he has a chromatically enhanced scale corresponding to each diatonic major scale seventh chord. He doesn't have funny names for them but there is a method to his madness which you'll see if you check it out.
David Baker's How To Play Be-Bop series covers the so-called be-bop scale thoroughly and methodically to the point that eventually you might realize that you are thinking to hard about minutiae instead of playing music.
 

S1Player

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yes that's the one I learned...except with the root a 4th above.
then it becomes bebop dominant (mixolydian with an added M7).
that same set of notes can be used on the ii V and vii

Its not really a M3...its a passing tone. part of the reason for this passing tone is to emphasize the 4th degree of the scale.
A fine choice for a minor chord.


the I chord can take the bebop dominant scale a whole step above,
giving a maj7#11 sound
(adding a passing tone between the first and second scale degrees of a major scale)

so...the same set of notes can be called "bebop dorian" or "bebop dominant".
The name really doesn't matter - its the same set of notes.

and then ... "bebop major" can be derived by adding a passing tone between
the first and second scale degrees of a major scale.
(the same set of notes as "bebop dominant" a whole step above)

...although you might find "bebop major" by definition with a passing tone between the 5th and 6th degrees

the passing tones will determine which sounds you want to highlight (or vice versa in the players mind)
like on a maj7 do you want 6 or #11?
I find it easier just to memorize the scale as shown at the link. I personally can't build the bebop minor (or any scale for that matter) by "playing Dorian and adding the M3" on the fly. I need to memorize it, then plug it back in to what I know in terms of added notes, relationship to other scales, etc.
 

dsimon665

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I find it easier just to memorize the scale as shown at the link. I personally can't build the bebop minor (or any scale for that matter) by "playing Dorian and adding the M3" on the fly. I need to memorize it, then plug it back in to what I know in terms of added notes, relationship to other scales, etc.
Yea no doubt! I too find it necessary to actually play these things as they are exactly defined and named.

To some, it may seem like minutiae to define each of these scales, but the real reason is to have some sort of method for practice and practical usage.
 

dead of night

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2,676
yes that's the one I learned...except with the root a 4th above.
then it becomes bebop dominant (mixolydian with an added M7).
that same set of notes can be used on the ii V and vii

Its not really a M3...its a passing tone. part of the reason for this passing tone is to emphasize the 4th degree of the scale.
A fine choice for a minor chord.


the I chord can take the bebop dominant scale a whole step above,
giving a maj7#11 sound
(adding a passing tone between the first and second scale degrees of a major scale)

so...the same set of notes can be called "bebop dorian" or "bebop dominant".
The name really doesn't matter - its the same set of notes.

and then ... "bebop major" can be derived by adding a passing tone between
the first and second scale degrees of a major scale.
(the same set of notes as "bebop dominant" a whole step above)

...although you might find "bebop major" by definition with a passing tone between the 5th and 6th degrees

the passing tones will determine which sounds you want to highlight (or vice versa in the players mind)
like on a maj7 do you want 6 or #11?
This is slightly confusing to me.

Dsimon, if you get a chance, can you spell out for me the bebop minor scale, the bebop major, and the bebop mixolydian scales from the roots? That is, according to these superimposed scales?

In other words, disregarding the "whole step above" viewpoint, or the "4th above" point of view, how do you spell your three bebop scales?

The reason I ask is, it is obvious you know what you are talking about, and I'd like to know your take on this.
 

guitarjazz

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22,591
Go to the Hal Galper link above. He spells them out starting on each note of the major scale.
 






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