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Jazz Sax Lessons: Play Your Scales with Me in All Keys: Diminished

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>> Okay,
it's time to play our diminished scales.
The cool thing about these diminished
scales is that they are symmetrical scales
and so in the case of our diminished
scales in jazz, they are half step,
whole step, half step, whole step, and
that repeats all the way up to the octave.
If you're used to playing them in
a traditional format, it's the opposite.
It's whole step, half step, whole step,
half step all the way up and
all the way back down.
We start on the second degree essentially
and start on that half step interval,
so that the scale can be useful over
a lot of different harmonic applications.
So, we'll be getting to that, but
the important thing is to learn the scale.
We don't wanna learn things beyond
what the scale is used for,
we wanna learn you don't
wanna learn anything about
what the scale can do until
you learn the scale itself.
So the beauty of symmetrical scales,
either diminished or
whole tone scales which are all whole
steps, so they are also symmetrical,
is that they are repetitive and
after you've played the first three keys,
we're gonna play them
in the circle of fours.
If you were playing these
scales chromatically.
If you play C and then C sharp and then D.
When you get to E flat,
E flat is found in the C scale,
so that repeats the exact same notes.
Except you're starting on
a different degree of the scale.
And then E would be the same as
the one the third below, the C sharp.
F would be the same as D.
F sharp would be the same as D sharp,
and so forth.
So yeah,
the beauty of this, too,
is that because they're symmetrical,
because there are really only three
different versions of the scale,
it's just sorta played
in different degrees.
They become very muscle memorized.
Muscle memory comes into play.
Not to say however that you don't
wanna be thinking about the scale.
Absolutely, because well, one thing for
sure is that you wanna be thinking of
the different applications you have
that you can use for these scales
harmonically in your improvisation.
And you're not just gonna
start playing something and
because your fingers sorta know
where to go, you just go for it.
That's gonna end up creating random solos,
and it's not gonna end well.
So let's work on the scales, shall we?
So here we go.
You've I assume you've downloaded
your PDF's that I worked so
hard at writing out for
you along with everything else.
So have those before you and
just as in the other scales,
I'm gonna start on my alto on
the first one, in the key of C.
And if you're playing baritone the same
thing, all of us E flat folks.
If you're playing a B flat
instrument like tenor or
soprano and you wanna play
along with me on this video,
make sure that you start on the next key,
on the F diminished scale.
And that way we'll be playing in unison.
Very good.
If you're playing tenor,
you're gonna end before me.
So when I get to my last one which
would be G for me, you circle back and
play the C at the top of the page,
the one that you skipped originally.
And we'll all end up in the same place and
we could be staying in the same key.
So let's play our diminished scales.
Shall we?
Here we go, turning on my metronome.
Make sure,
I guess I should reiterate this but
it's worth repeating all the time
that you always wanna be playing
everything with the metronome,
don't play it too fast.
I tell you, if these are a little bit
quick for you, if I've got my metronome
set at 150, if that's fast for you,
do it on your own at a slower tempo.
And then when you're really ready to
play it at this tempo then join me,
but hey, no hurry.
As I've said a bunch of times, and
I'll continue to say,
you'll hear me on all these lessons.
Slowing things down is crucially
important that way you can really.
Get ahold of the control of your playing,
control, control control.
And if you play too fast you'll always,
you won't really hear the problems
that are being created when you play.
Okay so here we go.
Diminished scales.
One, two,
I'm gonna
stop you
I stopped at E flat.
If you're playing tenor or
soprano, you stopped at A flat.
Let's play one staccato and
three slurred, okay?
Here we go.
One staccato and three slurred.
One, two, go.
Stop there.
I'm gonna pick it up at F sharp and
you're gonna play B if you're
playing tenor or soprano.
Let's add one more staccato to the
beginning, so it'll be two staccato and
two legato.
Two slurred actually.
Duh Duh Duh-uh dum dum.
Okay, F sharp for me and as alto and bari
players, and B for tenor and sopranos.
[SOUND] One, two, one, two, go.
Let's add one more staccato to
the beginning of each of those measures.
So it's gonna be three staccato's and
one legato.
Da da da da, da da da da.
Okay, I'm gonna pick it
up where I left off.
At E diminished,
and B flat people are gonna pick
it up at A diminished, here we go.
Three short, one long.
[SOUND] One, two, one, two, go.
Okay, for the last two, you guessed it,
all staccato, here we go.
[SOUND] One, two, one two.
All right,
there we go,
very good.
So one articulation point
is that make sure your air
has everything to do
with your articulation.
Your tongue is hitting the reed, but
it's the air that's helping it bounce off.
It's not all about just hitting
the reed and going back and
hitting the reed and going back.
The air is creating that
resistance against the reed so
that it's kind of like
being on a trampoline.
You're not doing all of
the work when you are jumping,
the trampoline is helping you.
Helping propel you up into the air and
so the air does the same thing.
So, make sure that there's
always enough air,
not only to create the sound, but
to also create a clean articulation.
So the way to visualize that too,
when we create sound,
I'm sure you've heard a million times
that when you play, you want to project.
That one way to make sure you're
projecting is to think about
playing through the horn and at the wall.
The wall is about to come collapsing down,
so your sound is holding that wall up.
Okay, so at the same time,
you want to be thinking about your
air just getting to the reed.
So not only are you projecting, but you're
also supporting the reed at the same time.
So it's kind of like I'm just moving my
air forward to the reed, also through.
But I'm kind of somewhere
in the back of my mind,
all the time,
just imagining that I'm creating that
trampoline sort of scenario with the reed,
with my air.
See just right there I'm using
a legato articulation.
I've talked about that in other lessons,
but it's good to bring it up now because
we're changing our articulation so
much on these guys.
And I'm not, I'm feeling that
the air against the reed and
it's very easy just to
go la da da da da da.
A little D sound there, and not only is it
easy for the tongue to react to the reed.
But it certainly makes it much easier for
the long note to be held at full value.
Again, if you're playing a long note and
then a short note, very often we
cut off the long note because our
tongue Is preparing for the short note.
And it's that time that the tongue
sort of takes to prepare for
that short note, in doing so, we end
up cutting off the note prior to it.
So if you're using your air and
moving that air forward.
It makes it much easier for
the tongue to work much faster, so
that you don't do that.
So you don't cut off the value of
a long note prior to a short note.
Hope that makes since,
I mean it definitely works.
Make sure you're always,
just a good rule of thumb,
make sure that you're always supporting.
Make sure that your air
is always moving forward.
So, it's a hard thing to hear sometimes,
I'd love it if you'd send me a video
of your various articulations.
This or not, something just off the top
of your head and say hey, Eric,
how does this sound, and play a scale all
legato where you're tounging every note.
And see if it doesn't sound like
when you want it to sound nice and long.
You know, I can correct it right away.
So I can tell you what you're doing
just by listening to you one time.
I've done that a whole bunch.
So if you have any questions,
let me know about that.
And again, I'd love to hear an example
of your playing on these things.
All right, very cool, off to the next
scale, good luck with these.