Major Scale Enclosure Exercise in All Keys

Major Scale Enclosure Exercise in All Keys [PDF]

Here’s a great exercise I picked up from saxophonist Mike Titlebaum. His video “Improvisation Using Simple Melodic Embellishment,” a jazz clinic by Mike Titlebaum has lots of great concepts worth you time. Check out the video at about the 11:11 for a more complete explanation of the technique this exercise is built on.

The 3-note enclosure patterns shown leading up to each circled note are commonly heard embellishments in bebop playing and are applied here to each note of a major scale. I’ve notated it here in all keys with guitar tab placing the patterns mostly around the 5th position but once this exercise is mastered you could transpose any of the patterns other places on the fingerboard. Some keys will likely feel more difficult than others. Personally, I feel that the fingerings for the F and Eb major scales are some of the more intuitive and may be a good place to start if this is a new pattern for you. Scales with 5-fret stretches, like the A , D, and G scales here took me a little more time to get under my fingers but as always, YMMV. Probably the most important thing is to internalize the sound of the enclosure patterns and where they fall in the scale and let your fingers follow your ear to find the sounds in each key. In other words, don’t depend on the tablature or designated fingerings too much.

Enjoy the challenge and please let me know if you work through it.

A Selected List of Standard Jazz Tunes for Memorization – Ohio University Jazz 2016

All the Things You Are
All of Me
Alone Together
Autumn Leaves
But Not for Me
Bye Bye Blackbird
Days of Wine & Roses
Don’t Get Around Much Anymore Doxy
Fly Me to the Moon
Foggy Day
Have You Met Ms. Jones
How High the Moon
I Got Rhythm
If I Should Lose You
If I Were a Bell
In a Mellow Tone
Just Friends
Night & Day
Pennies from Heaven
Satin Doll
So What
Softly As a Morning Sunrise
Star Eyes
Stella by Starlight
Sweet Georgia Brown
Take the A Train
There is No Greater Love
Things Ain’t What They Used to Be
There Will Never Be Another You
Well You Needn’t
What is This Thing Called Love

3/4 or 6/8
Alice in Wonderland
My Favorite Things
Some Day My Prince Will Come
Up Jumped Spring

Take Five

Black Orpheus
Blue Bossa
Girl from Ipanema
Green Dolphin Street
Little Sunflower
Maiden Voyage
Night in Tunisia

Mercy Mercy Mercy
Watermelon Man

Body & Soul
Georgia on My Mind
In a Sentimental Mood
My Funny Valentine
Polka Dots & Moonbeams
Round Midnight

All Blues
Au Privave
Bessie’s Blues
Blue Monk
Blue Trane
Freddie the Freeloader
Now’s the Time
Tenor Madness

More Advanced
Blues for Alice
Donna Lee
Giant Steps

Also see the post, Bruce Forman’s 10 Essential Jazz Standards for more repertoire suggestions.

Bruce Forman’s 10 Essential Jazz Standards or “Mother Tunes”

Honeysuckle Rose
Take the A Train
Autumn Leaves
All the Things You Are
There Will Never Be Another You\
Just Friends
On Green Dolphin Street
Ain’t Misbehavin’ -or- It Could Happen to You
Stella By Starlight

I once had a student ask me which jazz standards he should be working on. I directed him to choose a few from a list of songs that had been put together by the chair of our jazz program at Ohio University. (You can see that list here: A Selected List of Standard Jazz Tunes for Memorization – Ohio University Jazz 2016)

When he saw the list of nearly 100 songs he was visibly overwhelmed. I remember him saying that it was too long a list of songs to really be helpful. Which ones were really important to his development? Which ones might be called at a jam session? While that list is an excellent resource and included many of the most important tunes standards you’d expect, I understood his feelings completely.

Soon after, I found that guitarist Bruce Forman had created a list of 10 essential jazz standards for his students to start with that comprise many of of the most common sounds, cadences, and forms that jazz musicians will encounter as soloists and accompanists. I’ve since started using these pieces with many of my students as entry points into the jazz repertoire. Bruce discusses why he chose these specific tunes in more detail on Episode 99 V of the GuitarWank Podcast.

I’d also add the super-obvious recommendation that students should have a blues song and a rhythm changes tune in their repertoire.

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