Jazz Guitar Improvisation Series
Perpetual Forward Motion Scales:
Here’s something that I enjoy practicing. In this video example, I’m playing the notes of a descending scale “C,B,A,G,F,E,D,C” but incorporating octave displacement so that instead of the line always descending scale-wise,
it often leaps up by a seventh.
After you’ve watched the video, download the Perpetual Forward Motion Scales (example) and play it yourself. Notice that the leaps are always made after a strong beat (beat 1 or 3) causing the next group of notes to form a descending passage that lands on another strong beat. This creates a feeling of what pianist Hal Galper calls “Forward Motion” and it’s one of the keys to creating excitement in your solo lines.
Once you’ve mastered the concept, feel free to apply it to other scales. Of course, simply playing scales in this manner can start to sound a bit like an etude or study (in fact the harmonic minor example sounds a bit like Bach!). But after you’ve become fluent with these leaps, you’ll find yourself able to use them more freely and intuitively.
Now it’s your turn!
Incorporating this concept can add a new and exciting dimension to your jazz improvisation. Try taking licks and phases you already know and play inserting octave displacement in key spots