Bebop Scales & Harmonization

This post explores voice-leading major & minor 6th & 7th chords, dominant♭5, dominant♭9 & fully-diminished 7th chords, and more, through Bebop Major, Bebop Minor, Bebop Dominant, & Bebop Dominant♭5 scales, along with one & two octave scale fingerings, chord alterations & substitutions.

Triads with Doublings and Suspended 4ths (Harmonized Scale: “D” Harmonic Minor)

The following examples show various four-note triadic constructions with doublings and suspensions moved through a “D” Harmonic Minor scale.

The first chord is a commonly played triad with a duplicated root. The intervals, stacked vertically, are as follows: 5th, 4th, & 3rd. The intervallic construction is maintained and moved through the harmonized scale:

Next, the 3d is suspended (replaced with a diatonic fourth) and the resulting 5th, 4th & 4th construction is moved through the scale:

The second voicing type is a triad with a duplicated 3rd. The intervals, stacked vertically, are as follows: 3rd, 4th, & 3rd. The intervallic structure is maintained and moved through the harmonized scale:

Next, the upper 3d is suspended (replaced with a diatonic fourth) and the resulting 3rd, 4th & 4th construction is moved through the scale:

The third construction is a triad with a duplicated 5th. The intervals, stacked vertically, are as follows: 4th, 3rd, & 3rd. The intervallic structure is maintained and moved through the harmonized scale:

Next, the 3d is suspended (replaced with a diatonic fourth) and the resulting 4th, 4th & 2nd construction is moved through the scale:

Try finding additional four-note triads with duplicate notes or “doublings.” Here are two other possible starting chords:

Also, try transferring these voicings onto other string sets. Here is one of the previous chords transposed down an octave and placed on string set 5432:

Finally, experiment with various scales. Harmonic Minor is particularly useful, however, as it contains Major, Minor, Diminished, and Augmented triads.

6th & Diminished 7th Chord Passages: Bebop Major and Minor

These chord passages are constructed from inversions of 6th chords (Major and Minor respectively) with Fully Diminished 7th chords interspersed.

This is a harmonization technique that is often associated with the pianist Barry Harris.

Remember to analyze these from other roots, reinterpret the harmony and use your imagination to find less than obvious substitutions.

Diatonic ii-V-I Progressions (7th Chord Inversions)

Learning chords in isolation is useful, but learning chords in relation to common chord progressions is much better.

These diatonic ii-V-I progressions are composed of four-string 7th chords grouped by the closest inversions on the neck.

By retaining common tones smooth voice leading is ensured.

I have intentionally omitted fret numbers to stress the mobility of the shapes.

All Possible Major Key Pairings

Here’s an exhaustive list of major key pairings.

This is very handy for practicing modulations.

  1. C, D♭
  2. C, D
  3. C, E♭
  4. C, E
  5. C, F
  6. C, G♭
  7. C, G
  8. C, A♭
  9. C, A
  10. C, B♭
  11. C, B
  12. D♭, D
  13. D♭, E♭
  14. D♭, E
  15. D♭, F
  16. D♭, G♭
  17. D♭, G
  18. D♭, A♭
  19. D♭, A
  20. D♭, B♭
  21. D♭, B
  22. D, E♭
  23. D, E
  24. D, F
  25. D, G♭
  26. D, G
  27. D, A♭
  28. D, A
  29. D, B♭
  30. D, B
  31. E♭, E
  32. E♭, F
  33. E♭, G♭
  34. E♭, G
  35. E♭, A♭
  36. E♭, A
  37. E♭, B♭
  38. E♭, B
  39. E, F
  40. E, G♭
  41. E, G
  42. E, A♭
  43. E, A
  44. E, B♭
  45. E, B
  46. F, G♭
  47. F, G
  48. F, A♭
  49. F, A
  50. F, B♭
  51. F, B
  52. G♭, G
  53. G♭, A♭
  54. G♭, A
  55. G♭, B♭
  56. G♭, B
  57. G, A♭
  58. G, A
  59. G, B♭
  60. G, B
  61. A♭, A
  62. A♭, B♭
  63. A♭, B
  64. A, B♭
  65. A, B
  66. B♭, B