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Steve Weiss Mallet Workshop


I have a progression to play over and I need help with options for scales.

The progression is:
Bm7b5 ///| F+5/Eb /// |Em79+5/D ///|C#sus9,11 ///|Bb6/C /// | Bb6/C ///|

It sounds better than it looks :)

Suggestions on how to think of this progression and what scales to play would be sincerely appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


tonymiceli Sat, 01/29/2011 - 22:02

bmi7b5 B locrian

F+5/Eb looks like an F altered right? so F#melodic minor scale starting from the F

C#sus C# mixo right???

Bb6/C doesn't that look like a C sus? C mixo scale

try that out and tell me what you think.

Randy_Sutin Sun, 01/30/2011 - 12:19

In reply to by tonymiceli

Let's hear the tune or at least see the melody written out. It will give us an understanding of the counterpoint in place between the bass, the melody and voice leading that will occur inside that. That will, in turn, help point to the most consonant scales and help us suggest more colorful ones that can be used also. Further, the melody will help define the cadence points in the music, so we will know where the points of resolution most need to be located.

Also, solos are melodic development sections, so without the original melody, there is no way to know the germinal melodic material from which your solo will be created.

Please post audio or a PDF of the chart. Thanks! Great question. Very interesting set of changes.

toddc Sun, 01/30/2011 - 13:00

In reply to by Randy_Sutin

The tune is "isn't she lovely" from Stevie Wonder.
There is no melody here. It's the tag for the ending and a vibe feature section.

Its the first production I've done since the 80's and will be my TC & Friends Band.

I told Tony at my private lesson this is something I really wanted to do because I'd done so much stuff musically I wasn't really proud of but made some bank. His pragmatic response was . "Thats easy. Just get your guys together and do it." So I am :)

I chose this tune because its a celebration of life and I've always liked it.
Every tune on this cd will be one I really love. I'm being completely selfish about it :)


Randy_Sutin Sun, 01/30/2011 - 20:55

In reply to by toddc

so it is a short interlude, and you want color over it. cool.

Tony is on the mark with scale suggestions.

One thing... After the first measure, I might pay attention to the decending chromatic bass line. I would maybe try to build a line that either has one note in it that functions as a pedal (tough, though because there are precious few common tones here) or build a line that keeps sequencing up to produce a counterline. Good place to use that stair-step technique Joe Locke talks about...

Can't wait to hear it. If you are celebrating life and that comes through, all will be well.

toddc Sun, 01/30/2011 - 13:17

In reply to by Randy_Sutin

I'm not sure if the changes sound as interesting as they look. And I might be analyzing them wrong too.
I do everything by ear. Not really much of a theory guy. I play drums for Gods sake LOL

toddc Sun, 01/30/2011 - 12:42

In reply to by tonymiceli

Your suggestions work fine.

I keep hearing the half-whole scale sound on the first four chords
(its actually two chords per bar for the first four chords)

But I can't rationalize it. Does HW scale fit into these chords?
I start on C and play straight up the scale.

This is the tag at the end of the tune.
I'll upload the playback audio in a few minutes