This is a public version of the members-only Jazz Piano With George Whitty, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of Jazz Piano With George Whitty.
Join Now

Quickstart Guide to Jazz Piano
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
30 Day Challenge
Electric Piano & Keyboard Concepts
«Prev of Next»

Jazz Piano Lessons: Essential Jazz Scales: The F7 Bop Scale

Lesson Video Exchanges () submit video Submit a Video Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials Quizzes
information below Close
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Written Materials +

+Level 1

+Level 2

+Level 3

+Level 4

+Level 5

Additional Materials +
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   
Jazz Piano
information below Close
Course Description

This is only a preview of what you get when you take Jazz Piano Lessons at ArtistWorks. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
So let's dig right in now
with our first jazz scale.
We're going to talk about
a principle here, right off the bat,
that was the one thing I probably would
say that I ever learned about jazz,
that really put my playing in sync.
That took my lines that had nice shapes,
but they kind of sounded like
they were wandering or fishing and
really put them in sync with the harmony.
We're going to work on an F7 chord.
The seventh is really the first what I
would call, an extension on a chord.
The basic chord being
just a straight up triad.
A major triad.
F, A and C.
The seventh is the E flat on top of that.
And there are further extensions beyond
that, the nine, the Sharp 11, but for
now, we're just gonna deal with the 7.
[SOUND] And the thing about this chord,
it's called a dominant chord,
is that it wants to resolve.
[SOUND] It wants to go there.
So for now, we're just gonna sit on it,
[SOUND] and
those are the four notes,
F, A, C and E flat.
We're gonna make a scale out of this,
and the principle that I wanna
communicate here is that the ear
perceives the notes that it hears
on the beat to be the harmony that we're
blowing on, that we're soloing on.
And let's take a look just for
a second at the regular scale
that we would use on this.
Which if it were a seven note scale,
it would be [SOUND].
It would be a B flat scale
starting from the F.
And let's look at what happens when
we play up the scale from there.
So, on the beat,
you can hear that we're outlining an F7
chord but as we continue to play up,
[SOUND] we're not outlining
an F7 anymore on the beat,
we're outlining a G minor 7.
And if you listen to
what that sounds like.
[SOUND] If I did it on an F major
chord it would be [SOUND].
And this is where people especially
beginning students playing jazz,
this is where the line wanders.
If you're putting these notes on the beat,
you're not in sync with the harmony.
You're actually totally out
of sync with the harmony.
Those are the notes that we
wanna be putting on the beat.
And in order to do that consistently
we can't use a 7 note scale,
because that's putting the right beat on
the notes for one octave, and then for
the next octave you're out of sync.
So we use a 7 note scale.
And this is something that was a very
popular teaching concept in Boston.
And if you really look at it,
it goes all the way back to Bach.
Analyze what's on the beat with
any music you like and the odds
are it's either a chord tone or there's
a reason that it's not a chord tone.
Let's look at the scale we're gonna use,
we're gonna add a little scale
degree to our B flat major scale.
That's the 7 note scale,
here's the 8th note scale.
We're gonna add an E to it,
a little passing tone.
I don't know if you can hear that, but
it's in sync all the way up,
if I play chord tones.
And that, ladies and gentlemen,
is the difference between a great line and
a line that sounds like it's fishing.
If we're mindful about
what we put on the beat,
that really puts our harmony in sync.
So the other thing about this is
[SOUND] that as we play up the scale,
we're getting a little pattern
of tension and release,
with the release on the beats and
the tension between the beats.
The G is the passing tone,
the B flat is a passing tone between
the beats is what I mean by that.
And that creates kind of a propulsion and
a forward motion.
It drives the line.
Because you can fish around on a,
you know a B flat
major scale over the F seven chord.
And it's just, it's not gonna sound
locked in unless you're mindful of what
you're putting on the beat.
So, this is a scale,
and this is how I finger it.
There's a PDF of these, of all of the bop
scales, is what we call these in Boston.
And all of them are fingered.
And I start with the two, and the reason
I start with that is as I go up you'll
see that you can finger it
the same way every octave.
then on
the way
You'll wanna get those where you
can really rip them off nicely.
So, let's get to the next lesson,
where we're going to work on some
exercises to get this under our finger and
also start taking a look at
some exercises to work on our jazz feel
and our jazz touch and our jazz time.