HARMONIZING BEBOP SCALES:


Before going through this article, you may want to (re)read another one I wrote previously, introducing the various Bebop Scales.


1. THE MAJOR BEBOP SCALE:


Let's start with what is referred to as a G Major BeBop scale:

G A B C D D# E F# (G)

It is basically a G Major scale to which a #5 was added.

This 8-note scale contains 2 particular arpeggios:

a GMaj6 arpeggio: G B D E (same as an Em7 chord)

and an Adim7 arpeggio: A C Eb Gb

As you can see, both arpeggios are contained within 1 octave and they literally overlap.

An interesting way to harmonize the scale then is to simply alternate all of the inversions of GMaj6 with the inversions of Adim7.

GMaj6 - Adim7 - GMaj6/B - Cdim7 - GMaj6/D - D#dim7 - GMaj6/E - F#dim7 - GMaj6


Watch the video demonstration below:




That harmonized Major BeBop scale is a nice way to generate some motion over a static GMaj7 or GMaj6 chord. Like for example, over the first 2 measures of "Out Of Nowhere" or "How High The Moon".




2. THE MELODIC MINOR BEBOP SCALE:


Same idea now with a BeBop scale derived from G Melodic minor:

G A Bb C D D# E F# (G)

This 8-note scale contains 2 particular arpeggios:

a Gm6 arpeggio: G Bb D E (same an Em7(b5) chord)

and an Adim7 arpeggio: A C Eb Gb

We can now harmonize the scale using inversions of both chords:

Gm6 - Adim7 - Gm6/Bb - Cdim7 - Gm6/D - D#dim7 - Gm6/E - F#dim7 - Gm6


Watch the video demonstration below:




That harmonized Melodic Minor BeBop scale can be used anytime we want to create some motion over the i chord in a minor key.


(Both examples above are derived from the teachings of pianist Barry Harris. I attended a 2-day workshop of his in the early '90s during which he thoroughly explained his BeBop harmonic and linear concepts.)









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