Pip Eastop, Horn player, Photographer, Trumpet player

Horn player, Photographer, Trumpet player

Posts tagged “major scales

Giant Steps

Still practising! I’ve been working on John Coltrane’s essential standard, Giant Steps. It’s a real earbender, but I think I’ve found a way in – an initial way of taking the fear out of it.

It’s a colour coded grid of the chord changes. Pretty self explanatory. It shows that the whole piece can be done, as if by magic, using only the notes of three major scales – in this case Db major, A major and F major. The three colours correspond to the three chords so you get visual cue to change chord. Please take a look.

Please note it’s for Bb trumpet. I use it with the excellent slow Aebersold playalongs to Giant Steps found in volume 65, “Four and More”.

The sound of the pentatonic scale

I’m on holiday in a quiet cottage in Essex. I did a lot of cornet practice today. Must have been at least three hours. I went from book to book (of which I now have many) fiddling around trying to find useful things to practice. Played through all the major blues in Aebersold Vol (?) using only notes in the tonic blues scale each time. Also I tried some of these using just the chord notes indicated in black by the Aebersold texts, as set by Ken for my homework. Later on I went through all the major pentatonics which seem to be coming surprisingly easily. I remember whoever it was playing sax in the Aebersold book sounding so fluent and easy and wondering how he kept track of which notes out of the major scales to leave out. Now that it’s coming quickly I find it’s, as much as anything, getting the sound of the pentatonic firmly established in the mind. Also it helped to discover that it’s the fourth and the seventh which are missed out of the major pentatonics. I suppose these are the ones which hint in directions of modulation, sort of destabilising influences, and without them both the scale seems very well defined in its tonality. Having got this in mind it has got rapidly easier.
I still sometimes lose where I am, pitchwise, sometimes reverting to horn equivalents, though it’s happening less often than it did at first.