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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds This session is going to prove to be rather challenging, I think, because there’s a lot of theory and not so much practice. But there’s some good news. The good news is that virtually all the scales that we’re going to meet we’ve met already. So what we’re really doing is putting them together into some systematic framework - understanding how the scales relate to each other. I should add that I’m self-taught as a jazz pianist and I’ve got to an understanding of these scales through using my ear and, in the final analysis, your ear is the best discriminator. Nonetheless, it’s helpful to know how scales are organised and it’s important to begin the learning process of how they fit together.

Skip to 1 minute and 2 seconds You’re not likely to master this overnight. It could take you some time - years probably, but you can make a start and certainly know the important scales for the important keys of C, F, B flat, E flat and so on. So what we are going to be looking at in the next section, first of all we’re review all the scales that we’ve met, then we’ll look at pentatonic scales - five note scales - the modes of the ionian scale - the major scale - the modes of the melodic minor ascending scale and something about diminished scales. This is going to be very much my approach to this theory.

Skip to 1 minute and 49 seconds Other people have other approaches and I do hope, if you are mindful of so doing, you’ll look at it. At the end of the course I’ll give you some references where you can find other material on scales. I really want you to know the scales which are, at least, important to me and organise them into some coherent framework. We start in the next section with looking at the scales we have met already.


We present an introduction to the section on scale theory.

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This video is from the free online course:

Learn Jazz Piano: III. Solo Piano and Advanced Topics

Goldsmiths, University of London