What scales do jazz pianists use?

Here is a list of the 16 most important scales for jazz improvisation and the harmonic contexts in which they can be used for improvisation. That said, let's dive into the 16 most important scales for jazz improvisation and make sure we know them. This is due to the relative consonance of the natural 6 on the Doric scale versus the relative dissonance of the v6 on the natural minor scale. The reduced semi-integer scale can be called reduced dominant because it works well on a dominant chord of 13 (b).

The vibraphonist Gary Burton likes to remind us that the altered scale has a hidden tone, the fifth natural one, which is also in line with this scale. Although technically the fifth natural is not in the seventh mode of the melodic minor, remember that the fifth natural also works when improvised with an altered scale on an altered dominant chord. Although bebop musicians technically put the chromatic notes in other places and it sounded good in the recordings, jazz theorists have codified the bebop scales into something more concrete, placing the chromatic tone in step between 6 and 5 (major bebop scales) and 8 and b7 (dominant and minor bebop scales). There's no doubt that you'll want to go beyond learning them in the concert key of C and performing them in all 12 keys.

To facilitate my teaching, I have also subdivided the two previous facets of jazz into components of theory and practice. First we will learn theory (jazz chords and jazz scales) and then we will learn to apply theory in practice (with jazz chord voices and jazz improvisation). And once we learn some jazz scales, we'll see how we can apply them to jazz improvisation. The first step to effectively practicing jazz piano scales is to make sure you understand the C major scale.

The dominant seventh chords are found in many melodies in the jazz repertoire, and some would say that the seventh chord is the basis of the traditional jazz sound. This exercise prepares beginning piano students to play jazz standards by mastering 2-5-1 progressions using chord shells on all 12 keys. To practice your scales effectively and to be able to improvise a jazz piano, you need to be able to comfortably play all the modes on that piano you just learned. Whether you're new to jazz or have experience playing jazz piano, you'll find that this exercise is very beneficial for you.

Much jazz composed after the 1960s (modal music or contemporary jazz that uses oblique chords or non-functional harmony) requires an understanding of the modes to be played effectively. If you want to explore another free sample of the powerful content it contains, I highly recommend that you also check out this jazz piano lesson from All The Things You Are.