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April 18, 2023

Jazz Improvisation Exercises, Eb Altered Sounds

This Jazz Piano Skills Podcast Episode explores Jazz Improvisation Exercises for Eb Altered Sounds. Arpeggio and Scale Patterns for developing proper fingering and articulation.

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Welcome to Jazz Piano Skills; it's time to discover, learn, and play Jazz Piano!

Every Jazz Piano Skills weekly podcast episode introduces aspiring jazz pianists to essential Jazz Piano Skills. Each Podcast episode explores a specific Jazz Piano Skill in depth. Today you will discover, learn, playJazz Improvisation Exercises for 'Eb' Altered Sounds. In this Jazz Piano Lesson, you will:

Jazz Improvisation Exercises

Developmental Arpeggio and Scale Patterns for 'Eb' Altered Sounds

Five Arpeggio and Scale Patterns for the  'Eb' Altered Sounds of Music (#11, b13, b9b13, Fully Altered b9#9b5#5)

Use the Jazz Piano Podcast Packets for this Jazz Piano Lesson for maximum musical growth. All three Podcast Packets are designed to help you gain insight and command of a specific Jazz Piano Skill. The Podcast Packets are invaluable educational tools to have at your fingertips while doing the Jazz Improvisation Exercises for 'Eb' Altered Sounds.

Open Podcast Packets
(detailed graphics of the jazz piano skill)

Lead Sheets
(beautifully notated music lead sheets)

Play Alongs
(ensemble assistance and practice tips)

Educational Support
Community Forum

Episode Outline
Discover, Learn, Play
Invite to Join Jazz Piano Skills
Question of the Week
Lesson Rationale
Exploration of Jazz Piano Skills
Closing Comments

Visit Jazz Piano Skills for more educational resources that include a sequential curriculum with comprehensive Jazz Piano Courses, private and group online Jazz Piano Classes, a private jazz piano community hosting a variety of Jazz Piano Forums, an interactive Jazz Fake Book, plus unlimited professional educational jazz piano support.

If you wish to donate to JazzPianoSkills, you can do so easily through the Jazz Piano Skills Paypal Account.

Thank you for being a Jazz Piano Skills listener. It is my pleasure to help you discover, learn, and play jazz piano!

Warm Regards,
Dr. Bob Lawrence
President, The Dallas School of Music



Dr. Bob Lawrence  0:32  
Welcome to jazz piano skills. I'm Dr. Bob Lawrence, it's time to discover, learn and play jazz piano. Well, I hope everyone has been enjoying playing the improvisational developmental patterns for the primary sounds of E flat. And of course, exploring the various fingering patterns that require a conscious shifting of a hand in order to establish a jazz articulation and to prepare the hand for continuous ascending or descending movement, when improvising, not an easy task, right. It takes a serious commitment and patience to develop proper hand movement in addition to nailing down the correct chord scale relationships. So if you are sticking with the program that we have been tackling since the start of the new year, then congrats, it's now become an integral part of your practice routine, which we all know needs to happen in order to have the success with this essential jazz piano skill that you're hoping to have. Today, we take another huge step and tackle the altered dominant sounds for E flat, sharp 11, the flat 13, flat nine flat 13. And of course, the fully altered sound as well which is the flat nine sharp nine flat five sharp five sound. So today you are going to discover essential jazz improvisation exercises, you're going to learn developmental arpeggio and scale patterns of E flat, altered sounds. And you're going to play five arpeggio and five scale patterns for the E flat dominant, altered sounds of music, the dominant sharp 11 dominant flat 13, dominant flat nine flat 13, and the fully altered dominant sound. So as I always like to say, regardless of where you are in your jazz journey, a beginner or an intermediate player, an advanced player, or even if you consider yourself a seasoned and experienced professional, you're gonna find this jazz panel skills podcast lesson exploring jazz improvisation exercises for E flat altered sounds to be very beneficial. But before we dig in, if you are new to the jazz panel skills podcast if you're new to jazz piano skills, I want to welcome you and invite you to become a jazz panel skills member. There are various membership plans to choose from, so check it out at jazz panel To learn more about the perks of each membership plan. There are educational weekly podcast packets sequential jazz piano curriculum, which is loaded with comprehensive courses and online weekly master class online interactive Fakebook online private jazz panel skills community which hosts a variety of engaging forums. There's unlimited private, personal and professional educational support available as well. All these perks are waiting for you, waiting to help you discover, learn and play jazz piano. So take a minute, check it all out at jazz piano and become a member. Of course, if you have any questions regarding the various membership plans or any of the perks, please do not hesitate to reach out to me contact me. I'm always happy to spend some time with you and answer any questions that you may have. All right, so let's let's deal with the question of the week. Now this week's question comes from Patrick knob living in Jamestown New York now Patrick, is Patrick's question is is one that I know many of you are asking. Right and I say this because I think just about every student I have taught over the over the last 30 years eventually gets around to ask me this very same question. Patrick's question is this. I read all over the internet how important modes are for developing improvisation skills. Personally, I find it difficult to think Think about the modes when I'm trying to play. Can you offer any tips on how I can develop this skill? To help me become a better improviser? Fantastic question. Was I right? Or was I right? Many of you are thinking right now. Yes. I feel the same way. I have thought those very same thoughts often. Well, let me shine a little light on this widespread question. First, let's answer another question before tackling Patrick's question. Because the answer to this question will help us answer Patrick's question. The question is this. What are modes? Now, if you do a Google search, if you do a Google search, you will undoubtedly get a lot of information from a lot of people on what modes are, how to practice them, and how to use them. So let me save you a lot of time and frustration? And answer this question as succinctly as possible modes are an explanation of the origin of a specific chord. I'm going to say that again, modes are an explanation of the origin of a specific chord. In other words, all chords come from somewhere they do not exist within a piece of music, in joint autonomy, every chord functions within a scale and we call this chord scale relationship a mode. Now, with that being said, it is also important for me to take a minute and tell you what a mode is not. It is not an improvisation approach. When we try to approach improvisation, from a chord scale relationship modes, we end up flying off the rails our thinking becomes labor some and our plane becomes frantic. Quite honestly, our improvisation sounds scale like at best, what a bummer. All that intense thinking about modes to only produce a minimal if any positive return on our investment. So Patrick, my tip to you and all jazz piano skills listeners stop trying to think about modes. As an approach to improvisation modes or not an improvisational approach modes illuminate for us the pool of inside notes that we can use to improvise with a specific chord. This is so important because once we can identify the inside nodes, we can now locate and identify the outside notes. Inside referring to the seventh diatonic notes of a scale and outside refers to the five tension notes that do not belong to scale. Once we can see once we can see this chord scale relationship, we can begin to develop jazz vocabulary by by utilizing various patterns. By applying I should say a various patterns to the mode which will then begin to surface in our plane when improvising bottom line modes are important. Understanding chord scale relationships is essential to being able to identify the right and wrong notes that can be played with each chord.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  9:26  
in of themselves, however, modes are not an improvisational approach. And in fact, if you try to apply this academic understanding of modes music theory, if you will, when playing you are in essence, tried to swim across the Atlantic Ocean with sandbags strapped around your ankles, in other words, it's an impossible feat. The time to think about modes is when you are studying and Practicing music not when performing. So Patrick, I, I hope this helps and of course, so much more could be said. But if further clarification is needed, by all means please, and this goes for any listener, please feel free to reach out to me and let me know always happy to help. Okay, so let's discover, learn and play jazz piano Let's get after these jazz improvisation exercises for the E flat altered dominant sounds. As I mentioned in previous podcast episodes, students struggle with improvisation more often than not due to poor fingerings not a lack of skill not a lack of theory familiarity, but simply due to immobile hands, resulting from poor fingerings. And this is why we are devoting this entire year to answering some very important questions, questions such as what constitutes good fingering? What should we look for when establishing a fingering for certain musical phrases? What should we be trying to accomplish with our fingerings? Is there always a fingering option that will reign supreme over other possibilities? Are the golden rules of fingerings truly golden and should never be violated, such as using our thumb on on a black note to begin a musical line or musical phrase. The whole point of our journey this year is to establish definitive answers for these types of questions. But to circumvent any type of fingering dilemma as well. In other words, we need to establish a simple, simplistic approach to fingerings. And in doing so establish mobility, unimpaired mobility for our right hand. This all sounds good, right? Of course it does. Because deep down, we all know that, if you can get your right hand to easily move around on the keyboard, you'll be able to play the tunes you love and embellish them. With melodic improvisation, you'll be able to play jazz. Again, this is the entire point, the entire objective of this entire year, right to simplify our fingering approach to establish a fingering conviction, if you will, that will allow us to begin successfully practicing and establishing good fingering for all 60 chords using typical jazz patterns. Right, doing so solidify, a fingering muscle memory that will ultimately free us up to think about musical expression musical emotion, musical articulation, creativity. So, to begin this liberation, I want you to begin paying very close attention to plan all musical patterns, using intentional hand shifts. This was my mantra for this year, right? Whether their primary sounds whether they're altered sounds, right, intentional hand shifts. So important. And I will speak more about this when I play each pattern today. So alright, enough said let's get down to business. So the educational agenda for today is as follows number one,

Dr. Bob Lawrence  13:53  
we are going to explore jazz improvisation exercises for the E flat altered dominant sounds. Number two that we will play essential E flat altered arpeggio patterns that you will need to discover learn and play from the root to the 13th of the sound using various entry points, the third, the root, the third, the fifth, and the seventh. Number three, we will play essential E flat altered scale patterns that you need to discover learn and play from the root to the 13th of the sound. And again using various entry points, the root, the third, the fifth, and the seventh. Number four, I will be playing all jazz improvisation exercises today using the E flat seven flat 13 sound. And number five, I will be playing all jazz improvisation exercises using a traditional swing route We have 110. So if you are a jazz piano skills member, I want you to take a few minutes. Right now when you hit the pause button, I want you to access and download and print, your podcast packets, your illustrations, your lead sheets and your play alongs. Again, your membership grants you access to all the educational podcast packets for every weekly podcast episode. So take advantage of this. As I mentioned, as I mentioned, every week, you should be using these podcast packets when listening to this episode. And of course, you should be using your podcast packets at the piano when practicing as well. Now, if you're listening to this podcast, on any of the popular podcast directories in there are countless number of them, including Apple, Google, Amazon, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, on and on and on, then be sure to go directly to jazz piano skills To download your podcast packets, and you'll find the act of download links in the show notes. All right, one final but very significant message. For some of you out there, right. And some of you may be thinking as you're listening to this podcast, that the jazz improvisation exercises for the E flat altered dominant sounds and the various skills that we're about to discover, learn and play. You're thinking that it's all over your head? Well, maybe so. But I would say to you, no worries. Continue to listen, and continue to grow your jazz piano skills intellectually, by listening. That's all you have to do. Listen to this podcast episode. And every new skill. Every new skill is over our heads when first introduced, but this is how we get better. Right? We forge ahead, we place ourselves smack dab in the middle of conversations where we are hearing terms that we've never heard before. We're hearing language that we've never heard before. And it forces us to grow intellectually. I say it all the time. All musical growth begins upstairs mentally, before it can come out downstairs physically in our hands. So just sit back, listen to this podcast lesson now to discover and to learn. The play, as it always does will come in time, I guarantee it. Now that you have your lead sheets in your hands, I want to point out a few things. You'll see that lead sheets one through four, deal with altered arpeggio motion while lead sheets five through eight deal with altered scale motion. You also notice that the jazz improvisation exercises are the same for all four altered E flat dominant sounds, whether it's the sharp 11, flat 13, flat nine, flat 13, and the fully altered flat nine sharp nine flat five sharp five sound. The exercises are, of course modified fingering wise to reflect the proper sound. You will also notice that my suggested fingerings are included for every note on every exercise for every sound, right? Of course, you can modify the fingerings. We've talked about this before in previous podcast. You can indeed modify the fingering slightly, but be careful remember, the fingerings are what allow you to play with proper jazz articulation and the fingerings are designed to have intentional hand shifts built into them. So if you're actually modifying the fingering to remove the hand shift, big no no, because now you're defeating the entire purpose of what we're trying to accomplish with these exercises. So just be careful, right, you may be thinking that you're changing the fingerings to an easier fingering. However, your easier fingering may actually, in the long run, make it harder for you to play. Incorporating the hand shifts and proper jazz articulation. So I'm just again, I'm just throwing caution to the wind. Just be careful, feel free to modify, but be careful. Okay, so let's dig in. I want you to grab up skill to lead sheet two and I want you to grab skill six or lead sheet six. Want you to pull them out of your lead sheets packet because I am going to model everything today using the dominant flat 13 Sound Using arpeggio motion and using scale motion, we've already dealt this year with the sharp 11 sound. We've already dealt with the flat nine flat 13 sound, we've already dealt with the fully altered sound. So today I thought what the heck we we should attack the flat 13 sound as well. So skill to skill six, grab those lead sheets. Alright, so let's look at skill to lead sheet to letter A. Right we have four note arpeggio with the entry point of the root four note arpeggio entry point of the third four note arpeggio entry point of the fifth, four note arpeggio entry point of the seventh, all ascending arpeggios that take us from the root of the sound all the way through the 13th of the sound, you'll notice where I have the hand shifts taking place in these four note arpeggios. So the very first one, you know I have a 2124. So that hand shift is taking place right away, two to one. Okay, the entry point of the third interesting, right, I have us playing the first three notes, the third, fifth and seventh using our first second and fourth fingers. Then shifting the hand to the F with the thumb right. That way we can continue our musical line. In a real situation if we were improvising. I can continue upward. All right now, the entry point of the fifth 2413 fingering and the entry point of the seventh, a 2124 fingering. Now notice on that entry point of the seventh to one to four, that C is flatted at the top. There's our flat 13 sound, right? So okay, so let's bring our ensemble in. I'm going to play through each one of these arpeggios four times before moving on to the next entry point. So four times entering from the root four times enter in from the third, four times from the fifth, four times from the seventh. Alright, so here we go. Let's bring the ensemble in and let's check out letter A, the E flat seven flat 13 sound using ascending arpeggio motion here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  24:01  
Nice Right, I've mentioned this before, out of all the patterns, out of all the patterns on each one of these sounds, letter A is always going to be the most important spend the most time on letter A, get those fingerings get those shifts, get the right articulation and make it sound like jazz. You'll be doing yourself an amazing favor when doing so. Okay, so now, letter B we just kind of tweaked that these up this pattern a little bit instead of a straight up arpeggio. We now kind of have a little shape to this line. Nice, but the entry points are going to remain the same right the root, the third, the fifth, the seventh, exploring the entire sound from the root to the 13th. Of course anytime we run across the sea in our patterns that sea is going to be flat flooded because of the flat three 18 sound right, so let's bring our ensemble in, pay careful attention to the fingerings and where those hand shifts are taking place and let's have some fun with letter B here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  26:41  
Okay, so now on to letter C, you know, this is I mentioned letter A is as the most important pattern on all these exercises for each sound, but I gotta tell you letter C is a close second because it forces some serious movement of our hands. Also, you'll notice in letter C, I break some of the golden rules here like especially the golden rule of beginning align with that musical phrase that starts with the black note. Avoid using the thumb, we're not going to do that, we're actually intentionally going to use the thumb. So you'll see there with the entry point of the route we have a 141421 fingering, right, so we're getting this the play that line fingering works fantastic, the hand is moving, it's exactly what we want. We do the same type of approach with our third entry with our fifth entry and with our seventh entry. Don't forget our C is flattered for our flat 13 sound. So let's bring the ensemble in and let's check out letter see here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  29:33  
Love it absolutely love it now, letter a most important letter C. Nice challenge with a hand shifting letter D No question about it. We introduce these eighth note triplets every month. And I find these to be the most challenging and I think you would agree with that as well. So we have the same exact approach right a Root Entry third entry fifth and seventh entry Pre we explore the entire sound but check it out we have eighth note triplets on count one, count to count three. And we need to have good fingerings in order to pull off these eighth note triplets in time. So spend some time studying where these hand shifts are taking place to allow to allow us to with with ease to navigate through these ascending descending eighth note triplets. So let's bring the ensemble in let's check out letter D. Let's see what this sounds like. Have a little fun here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  32:09  
doubt about it right. eighth note triplets. Not easy, but well worth it right. They are laced eighth note triplets are laced throughout jazz literature and jazz solos. So definitely spend some time with letter D. All right back the letter E now back to eighth note straight eighth eighth note patterns that stretch crossed the bar line into a second measure again though however, same format right Root Entry third entry fifth entry seventh entry. Once again we may have multiple hands shifts taking place in this extended line. So watch the fingerings very very carefully. All right, so let's bring the ensemble in this is our last exercise using altered the dominant flat 13 Sound arpeggio motion for E flat letter E so here we go check it out.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  34:42  
All right, that completes our skill to lead sheet to with our arpeggio patterns exploring the E flat dominant flat 13 sound. So now grab a lead sheet six skill six. We have five additional patterns with these focus on scale motion as opposed arpeggio motion, we're going to use the same format though, right, we're going to have a Root Entry, third, fifth and seventh entry on each of these patterns, exercises A, B, C, D, and E. The, each of these patterns have intentional hand shifts in each pattern as well. And with the scale, unlike the arpeggio motion, there was always, you know, there's some patterns with the, with the arpeggio motion that you don't find the flat 13 in the, in the pattern, and that's okay. Scale movement. However, that's a different story, we have a flat 13 In every one of these patterns, right, so like, look at letter A, starting with the Root Entry. There's our flat 13, right to finish the scale, that's a scale with the flat 13. If we start with the third entry, flat 13 in that as well, fifth entry, flat 13 in that scale, seventh entry, flat 13 in that as well. So we're going to be dealing with that flat 13 sound a lot in each one of these exercises. So let's bring the ensemble in let's check out Letter A four times root entry four times four times through with the third entry four times through with the fifth four times through with the seventh century. So here we go check it out.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  38:02  
really nice, you know one thing I should mention, in my left hand, I am playing traditional three note shells in my left hand, I'm playing the third, the seventh and the ninth. Sometimes I like to play just the third in the seventh when I'm doing these types of exercises. But feel free if you're comfortable with playing more comfortable with playing a block shape in your left hand. Fine, if you want to use a contemporary shaped quarter shape in your left hand, that's fine as well. I'm using just so you know, primarily today I'm using a traditional 379 voicing in my left hand or just simply a three seven in my left hand. So okay, so let's take a look at letter B. Same type of idea here just a little twist to the arpeggio to the I mean to the ascending scale, we change it up just a little bit with a nice leap here at the beginning. Okay, we do that same motif off the third off the fifth off the seventh again four times with each musical phrase. So let's bring the ensemble in. Let's check out the letter B. Listen for the flat 13 Of course, and pay attention to the fingerings and the hand shifts within those fingerings so here we go. Check it out.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  40:00  
Oh. Nice, absolutely love it. But look, check out let her see you know, if we had to deal with eighth note triplets using arpeggio motion, you know, we should be dealing with eighth note triplets using scale motion. And of course we are letter C, we have eighth note triplets on every beat of the measure count one count to count three, count four, definitely pay attention to the fingering and the hand shifting that is taking place, the line stretches across the bar line and to measure to there's a flat 13 And each one of these lines so pay attention to that as well and listen for that flat 13. So you're here incorporating ear training with these exercises as well. Right. Okay, so let's bring the ensemble and here we go with letter C, E flat seven flat 13 using eighth note triplets, Root Entry, third entry fifth entry, seventh entry here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  43:27  
Always a challenge, right, the eighth note triplet. Always a challenge. All right, so, let's move on to letter D, we're back to eighth notes again. But the phrase stretches across the bar line into measure to all eighth note movement. Right. So, again, multiple hand shifts in these patterns and all of these each one of these patterns incorporates the flat 13. So be listening for that. And rudimentary third, fifth and seventh, I cannot stress to you enough how important it is to practice scales to practice arpeggios using various entry points become a route independent write various entry points not only because you want to become route independent, but you also want to play shapes and patterns within the scale that stretch through the entire sound from the root all the way to the 13th All right, the IRS have to be actively engaged in growing in this process as well. So here we go with letter D, E flat seven flat 13. Check it out.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  46:14  
All right, we are down to our very last exercise for today. And I just want to say that, again, remind you that yes, you may modify the fingerings slightly, as long as your modifications do not eliminate hand shifts within these patterns, right, we want the hand developing mobility and moving. So we're not trying to a lot of times it's fingering, I think the instinct is to limit the movement of the hand, we're trying to do the opposite here, we want the hand moving. Okay, we're trying to intentionally develop mobility and comfort with the hand constantly shifting across the keys. Alright, so with that being said, check out letter E, more eighth note, eighth notes to deal with again playing across the bar line all the way to count two of measure to ascending motion, we have a flat 13 Of course to deal with. That's what we're focusing on today. And as we've been doing all day today, four different entry points, the root, the third, the fifth, and the seventh. So let's bring the ensemble in and let's listen to our very last exercise for today pattern for today letter E here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  49:07  
Well, as always, always we have unpacked a ton of information in one very short very fast hour. Now, even though I played the jazz improvisation exercises today, focusing on the dominant flat 13 sound only. And it did that just because of the sake of time. Be sure to practice these very same patterns these very same exercises for the dominant sharp 11 dominant flat nine flat 13 and the E flat dominant fully altered sounds as well. They are all included in your podcast packet in your lead sheets. And they all have the suggested fingering fingerings for each of the notes as well. Okay, they're all laid out for you in your lead sheets podcast packet with the fingerings so be sure to utilize them. Now. I just mentioned you can modify the fingerings slightly. Just be careful, right? You know the drill by now. All right, you have a ton to tackle this week a ton to practice. So use your time wisely. Next week. Next week, we explore a bebop tune, and we put our fingerings to the test and see how we're developing right closely examining the various melodic and melodic shapes and fingerings of some standard bebop tune should be a lot of fun. All right. Most of all, I want you to be patient. I stressed this every week. That developing mature and professional jazz piano skills takes time. It takes a lot of time. There are no shortcuts. Begin structuring your practicing after the plane demonstrations that I modeled for you today in this podcast episode using your lead sheets and the correct fingerings and I guarantee it you will begin to see you will begin to feel and hear your musical progress. Well I hope you have found this jazz panel skills podcast lesson exploring jazz improvisation exercises for E flat altered sounds to be insightful and of course to be beneficial. Don't forget if you are a jazz piano skills ensemble member I will see you online Thursday evening at the jazz panel skills masterclass. That's going to be 8 pm Central time to discuss this podcast episode lesson exploring jazz improvisation exercises for E flat altered sounds in greater detail, and of course to answer any questions that you may have about the study of jazz. In general. You can reach me if you have any questions regarding this podcast episode or the or the podcast packets and materials you can reach me always by phone 972-380-8050 my extension is 211 if you prefer you can email me That's Dr. Lawrence, Or you can use the nifty little SpeakPipe widget that is nestled I believe on every single page of the jazz panel Skills website to reach out to me that way as well. Well, they hurt is my key. That's it for now. And until next week, I want you to enjoy the jazz improvisation exercises for E flat altered sounds. And most of all, I want you to have fun as you discover, learn and play jazz piano