In this video, George Whitty talks about what makes an F7 chord, and how to build a scale out of that chord. He also teaches an important principal of jazz improvisation where the notes that are played on the beat are perceived by the listener to be the harmony. He also demonstrates this principal by playing the F7 bop scale and shifting which notes land on the beat.
- So let's dig right in now with our first jazz scale. And we're going to talk about a principle here right off the bat that was the one thing I would probably say that I ever learned about jazz that really put my playing in sync, that took my lines that had nice shapes but they kind of sounded like they were wandering or fishing and really put them in sync with the harmony. We're going to work on an F seventh chord.
And the seventh is really the first what I would call an extension on a chord, the basic chord being (bright piano chord) just a straight up triad, a major triad, F, A, and C. (bright piano notes) The seventh is the E flat on top of that (dark piano chord) and there are further extensions beyond that with a nine, the sharp 11, but for now we're just going to deal with the seven.
And the thing about this chord, it's called a dominant chord, is that it wants to resolve, it wants to go there. So for now we're just going to sit on it and those are the four notes; F, A, C, and E flat. We're going to make a scale out of this, and the principle that I want to communicate here is that the ear perceives the notes that it hears on the beat to be the harmony that we're blowing on, that we're soloing on.
And let's take a look, just for a second, at the regular scale that we would use on this, which, if it were a seven note scale it would be, (piano scale) it would be a B flat scale starting from the F. And let's look at what happens as we play up the scale from there. (piano scale) So on the beat (piano scale) you can hear that we're outlining an F seven chord.
But as we continue to play up (higher piano scale) we're not outlining an F seven anymore on the beat, we're outlining a G minor seven. And if you listen to what that sounds like. (piano chord) If I did it on an F major chord it would be. (piano chord) And this is where people, especially beginning students playing jazz, this is where the line wanders.
If you're putting these notes on the beat (piano music) you're not in sync with the harmony, you're actually totally out of sync with the harmony. (piano music) Those are the notes that we want to be putting on the beat. And in order to do that consistently we can't use a seven note scale because that's putting the right notes on the beat for one octave and then for the next octave you're out of sync. So we use a seven note scale, and this is something that was a very popular teaching concept in Boston, and if you really look at it it goes all the way back to Bach.
Analyze what's on the beat with any music you like and the odds are it's either a chord tone or there's a reason that it's not a chord tone. Let's look at the scale we're going to use, we're going to add a little scale degree to our B flat major scale. (piano scale) That's the seven note scale, here's the eighth note scale, we're going to add an E to it, a little passing tone. (piano scale) I don't know if you can hear that, but it's in sync all the way up if I play chord tones.
(piano scale) And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the difference between a great line and a line that sounds like it's fishing. If we're mindful about what we put on the beat, that really puts our harmony in sync. So the other thing about this is that as we play up the scale we're getting a little pattern of tension and release with the release on the beats and the tension between the beats.
(piano scale) You know the G is a passing tone, the B flat is a passing tone, between the beats is what I mean by that. And that creates kind of a propulsion and a forward motion, it drives the line, because you can fish around on a, you know, a B flat major scale over the F seven chord, and it's just, it's not going to sound locked in unless your mindful of what you're putting on the beat.
So this is the scale (piano scale) and this is how I finger it, there's a pdf of these, of all the bop scales is what we call these in Boston, and all of them are fingered, and I start with the two, and the reason I start with that is cuz as I go up you'll see that that, you can finger it the same way every octave. (piano scale) And then on the way down.
(piano scale) You'll want to get those where you can really rip them off nicely. So let's get to the next lesson where we're going to work on some exercises to get this under our finger and also start taking a look at some exercises to work on our jazz feel and our jazz touch and our jazz time.
Note: This course was recorded and produced by ArtistWorks. We're pleased to host this training in our library.
- The blues in F
- Building a scale out of the F7 chord
- The B flat 7 bop scale
- The G minor 7 bop scale
- The C7 bop scale
- Practicing guide tones