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Unusual Scales To Try
Bebop Mixolydian Scale

The Bebop Mixolydian Scale or Bebop Dominant Scale is a unique scale used primarily in jazz and bebop music. It’s essentially a Mixolydian scale (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7) with an added chromatic passing tone, usually added between the 5th and the 6th degrees. The scale consists of the following notes:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7, 7

The added 7th degree in the Bebop Dominant Scale creates an 8-note scale that fits well with eighth-note rhythms, making it an excellent choice for improvisation in jazz and swing contexts. These are characteristics of its sound:

  1. Smooth and Consonant: The Bebop Dominant Scale has a smooth and consonant sound due to the added major 7th (7) interval. This added note creates a sense of resolution in your solos.
  2. Swing and Groove: It fits well in swing and bebop styles, allowing for interesting syncopated rhythmic patterns that can make your improvisations swing effortlessly.
  3. Passing Tone: The chromatic passing tone (the 7th) adds a brief moment of tension and release when used correctly. It can be used to add color and tension to your phrases before resolving to a chord tone.
  4. Bebop Licks: Bebop players often use this scale as a foundation for their licks and runs. It’s a staple in the vocabulary of many jazz improvisers.
  5. Jazz Dominant Sound: When used over dominant 7th chords (e.g., G7 in the key of C major), the Bebop Dominant Scale reinforces the dominant sound and provides a strong sense of resolution when you reach the 7th note (the major 7th).
  6. Smoother Voice Leading: The added major 7th can create smoother voice leading when moving from one chord to another in a jazz progression.

You’ll hear how this scale adds a sense of elegance, forward motion, and sophistication to your playing, particularly in a bebop context. To truly grasp the sound of the Bebop Dominant Scale, it’s essential to listen to jazz musicians who use this scale in their improvisations. With that said, be sure to read our blog article Influential Jazz Musicians Who Utilize The Bebop Mixolydian Scale.
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