Sunday, February 26, 2012

Some debate on Chord Scale Theory for Improvising

Berkelee College Of Music has a reputation of being one of the best places in the world to study jazz improvisation.  This is what one Berklee instructor had to say, in response to this article in which the author criticizes Chord Scale Theory:

Being a teacher at Berklee, I hear these discussions all the time. The chord scale concept is meant to give you a series of notes to pick from over a chord while improvising. The problem is that if the chords are moving too fast, you can't really play all the notes in the scale and have it come out musical-sounding. 

The chord scale concept was never meant to be used that way. Just the same, beginner improvisers often try their best to be able to get every note of every scale over every chord. Teachers let them do it because it's a good way to learn. There's a point where it becomes obvious to the student that it doesn't work. It's not about know "all the notes" as much as knowing "the right notes" and putting them in the "right places"

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news. You can't learn that from any scale. 

Yup. Practice more.