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August 12, 2008 Date:___________________

Jeremy A. Long I, _________________________________________________________,
hereby submit this work as part of the requirements for the degree of:

Doctor of Musical Arts


It is entitled:
Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano by Phil Woods:

An Improvisation-Specific Performer's Guide

This work and its defense approved by:

James Bunte Chair: _______________________________ Rick VanMatre _______________________________ Kim Pensyl _______________________________

_______________________________ _______________________________

Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano by Phil Woods: An Improvisation-Specific Performers Guide

A doctoral document submitted to the Graduate School of the University of Cincinnati In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of


In the Performance Studies Division of the College-Conservatory of Music


JEREMY LONG August, 2008 B.M., University of Kentucky, 1999 M.M., University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, 2002

Committee Chair: Mr. James Bunte

Copyright 2008 by Jeremy Long All rights reserved

ABSTRACT Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano by Phil Woods combines Western classical and jazz traditions, including improvisation. A crossover work in this style creates unique challenges for the performer because it requires the person to have experience in both performance practices. The research on musical works in this style is limited. Furthermore, the research on the sections of improvisation found in this sonata is limited to general performance considerations. In my own study of this work, and due to the performance problems commonly associated with the improvisation sections, I found that there is a need for a more detailed analysis focusing on how to practice, develop, and perform the improvised solos in this sonata. This document, therefore, is a performers guide to the sections of improvisation found in the 1997 revised edition of Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano by Phil Woods. This guide will aid in the successful rehearsal and performance of well developed improvised solos that are solidly based in the harmony, and that incorporate melodies and rhythms found in the sonata. For each movement the harmony is analyzed to determine one or more scales that are commonly used with each chord. Second, I wrote exercises based on methods found in The Jazz Theory Book by Levine, A Creative Approach to Practicing Jazz by David Baker, Inside Improvisation, vol. 1 and 2 by Jerry Bergonzi, The Jazz Handbook by Jamey Aebersold, How to Practice Jazz by Jerry Coker, The Modern Sound: A Step Beyond Linear Improvisation by Walt Weiskopf, and a guide-tone exercise by Brad Goode. Finally, I composed example solos for the first and third movements that not only incorporated the scales, arpeggios, and exercises, but that are also based on the themes, rhythmic ideas, and the harmony of each movement.



LIST OF FIGURES AND MUSICAL EXAMPLES.......................................................................v Chapter I. INTRODUCTION ...............................................................................................................1 Background II. MOVEMENT I ....................................................................................................................4 III. MOVEMENT II .................................................................................................................30 IV. MOVEMENT III ...............................................................................................................33 V. MOVEMENT IV ...............................................................................................................53 VI. CONCLUSION ..................................................................................................................55 BIBLIOGRAPHY ..........................................................................................................................57



Figure 1.1, Scale chart ............................................................................................................................9 Example 1.1, Exercise with arpeggios........................................................................................................6 1.2, Solo based on arpeggios .......................................................................................................8 2.1, Scale exercise based on Aebersolds method .....................................................................13 2.2, Continuous Scale Exercise using quarter notes ..................................................................15 2.3, Continuous Scale Exercise with eighth notes and quarter notes ........................................16 3.1, Guide-tone line ...................................................................................................................18 3.2, Solo based on the guide-tone line.......................................................................................19 4.1, Woods sonata, m. 52 ..........................................................................................................20 4.2, Exercise using m. 52 motive ..............................................................................................21 5, Movement I example solo .....................................................................................................23 6.1, Woods sonata, mm. 100-103 ..............................................................................................24 6.2, Woods sonata, mm. 73-76 ..................................................................................................25 6.3, Woods sonata, mm. 47-48 ..................................................................................................25 7, Example solo with scale annotations.....................................................................................27 8.1, Bb7sus triad pairs ...............................................................................................................31 8.2, Triad pairs for B7sus, C7sus ..............................................................................................31 9.1, Piano, mm. 30-37 ...............................................................................................................34 9.2, Piano, mm. 42-45 ...............................................................................................................38 9.3, Piano, m. 53 ........................................................................................................................36 v

10, Improvisation section chords, mm. 30-53 ...........................................................................35 11, Arpeggio exercise ................................................................................................................37 12, Scale exercise ......................................................................................................................40 13.1, Diatonic seventh chord examples .....................................................................................43 13.2, Diatonic 7th Chord Pattern No. 2 through harmony .........................................................44 14.1, Movement III example solo .............................................................................................46 14.2, Five motives found in the example solo ...........................................................................47 15, Piano, m. 4 ...........................................................................................................................53


CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Crossover music that combines Western classical and jazz traditions creates unique challenges for the performer when the music requires improvisation. In general, the performance level of the improvisation is weaker than the performance of the written sections of music. Artists are usually well prepared to rehearse and perform the written sections of music; however, many times they lack the knowledge and experience to successfully rehearse and perform a well developed improvised solo that not only incorporates the melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic language of the piece, but also creates a dialogue between the soloist and the other members of the ensemble. The research into crossover music for saxophone is limited. I found only two dissertations that analyzed saxophone works that mix Western classical traditions and jazz improvisation, A Performers Analysis of Phil Woods Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano by David Brennan, and Crossover considerations: Performing three works by Ludmila Ulehla, Phil Woods and Bill Dobbins by John Mark Perrine. Brennans dissertation on Woodss sonata is thoroughly researched, yet the coverage of the improvisational sections is limited. He gives general suggestions that are helpful, such as recommending standard scales for improvising, explanation of slash chords, and rehearsal techniques that recommend that the saxophonist must first internalize the chord changes to have a basis of melodic material in which to draw from when improvising;1 however, his analysis of the work focuses much more on the written music than the sections of improvisation.

David Brennan, A Performers Analysis of Phil Woods Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano (DMA diss.,

This document, therefore, is a performers guide to the sections of improvisation found in the 1997 revised edition of Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano by Phil Woods. Due to the performance problems associated with these sections, this guide will aid in the successful rehearsal and performance of well developed improvised solos that are solidly based in the harmony, and that incorporate melodies and rhythms found in the sonata. For each movement with chord symbols, Mark Levines The Jazz Theory Book was used to analyze the harmony and to determine one or more scales that are commonly used with each chord. Second, I wrote exercises to expand on Brennans suggestion to internalize the chord changes, based on methods found in The Jazz Theory Book by Levine, A Creative Approach to Practicing Jazz by David Baker, Inside Improvisation, vol. 1 and 2 by Jerry Bergonzi, The Jazz Handbook by Jamey Aebersold, How to Practice Jazz by Jerry Coker, The Modern Sound: A Step Beyond Linear Improvisation by Walt Weiskopf, and a guide-tone exercise by Brad Goode. Finally, I composed example solos for the first and third movements that not only incorporated the scales, arpeggios, and exercises, but that are also based on the themes, rhythmic ideas, and the harmony of each movement. Background Phil Woodss contemporary classical compositions are known for blending aspects from both the classical and jazz traditions, which is understandable due to the fact he is an internationally known jazz alto saxophonist. Surprisingly though, improvisation was not included in the original version of his sonata, which was then entitled, Four Moods for Alto Saxophone, Piano, and Bass. This sonata was written for Victor Moroscos saxophone solo recital at Carnegie Hall in 1962.2

Ibid., 72.

In 1974, at the request of Morosco, Woods omitted the bass part and included two improvised solo sections in the first movement, one for saxophone and one for piano. He also changed the title to Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano. It was not until 1994 that he added more sections of improvisation for the saxophone in the other three movements.3 I used the revised edition, which was published in 1997 by Advance Music, for this document.


CHAPTER II MOVEMENT I The style of a work is one of the first characteristics to consider when improvising a solo. Phil Woods offers no suggestion of style in the first movement except for faster in m. 36 and jazz legato in m. 52. The revised edition of the piece does include Notes on Interpretation and Performance by Morosco, which provides some guidance to the style. He suggests a definite jazz feeling for articulation and rhythm beginning at m. 36 in the first movement.4 It seems that the style of the first movement, at least from m. 36, should include swing-eighth notes when only considering the above information; however, Morosco and saxophonist John Harle have both recorded the work playing a combination of even and swing eighth notes up to m. 100. The sonata is on Moroscos Double Exposure and Harles Plays. In both recordings, they play even eighths during the sections in common time and swing eighths for the sections in . In my opinion, the composer is leaving the style choice open and up to the performer. Measures 36 through 100 could be played with either swing or even eighth notes, or a combination of both as recorded by Morosco and Harle. This still leaves the performer with the question of what style to use for the improvisation section, mm. 100-117. I would suggest a swing style for the entire improvisation section no matter what style the performer chooses to use beginning at m. 36. The swing style will contrast the straight-eighth note style of the improvisation section in the third movement. Harmony is the next and possibly the most important aspect to be considered when improvising. Improvisation is viewed by most to be the act of composing music as it is being

Victor Morosco, Notes on Interpretation and Performance, notes to Sonata by Phil Woods (Germany: Advance Music, 1997), 2.

performed. Careful study of the harmony is imperative for the performer to be able to improvise a solo that is solidly based on the harmony. The first improvisation section, beginning in m. 100, is sixteen measures in length and is divided into four four-measure phrases. The first two phrases are in D minor, the third is in F, the relative major, and the last phrase is in D, the parallel major. The harmonic rhythm moves quickly throughout each section, yet improvising is not as difficult as in a tune that moves through multiple key centers because all four phrases are related to either D minor or D major. For instance, the first two phrases contain two chords per measure, although each phrase contains the same descending chromatic tetrachord in D minor, D-C#-C-B-Bb-(E)-A, with the E functioning as a V/V in D minor. The third phrase begins in F and modulates to D major as shown by the following Roman numeral analysis: F: ii7 iii7 IV (maj7) vii (m7b5)/V ii7 ii4/2 D: iv4/2 ii7 V7 I. Furthermore, the fourth phrase only contains alternating D and Bb major chords, I and bVI. A bVI chord in major is a borrowed chord from a minor key and usually has a predominant function; however, here the Bb major chord is functioning as a chord prolonging the major tonic chord, D. There are many ways to learn the harmony for improvising. The following suggestions and exercises will give the performer a solid understanding of the harmony. First, the saxophonist should play the written piano part from the improvisation section. Then, the person should practice exercises from Jamey Aebersolds article, Practice Procedure for Memorizing Scales and Chords to any Song found in his Jazz Handbook.5 Begin by playing only the roots

Jamey Aebersold, Practice Procedure for Memorizing Scales and Chords to any Song, in Jazz Handbook [book on-line] (New Albany, IN: Jamey Aebersold Jazz, INC., 2000, accessed February 2008); available from http://www.jazzbooks.com/miva/documents/handbook/09_tips_for_new_tunes.pdf ; Internet.

of each chord, then add the third and the fifth of every chord, and finally, add either the sixth or seventh of each chord. All of these exercises should mainly be played on the saxophone in the transposed key from the solo part. Note that many of the chord symbols do not include a six or seven suffix.6 For instance, the Bb major chord symbol on beat one of m. 102 does not include a 7 suffix, even though the seventh of the chord, C concert, is included in the written piano part. The sixth is included in the D minor chord on beat one of m. 104, but a six is missing from the chord symbol. Even though these chord symbols do not match the chords provided by the composer, it is standard in jazz improvisation to add other extensions to the written chord symbols, such as sixths, sevenths, ninths, elevenths, and thirteenths. In ex. 1.1, I have composed an exercise based on only the root, third, fifth, and sixth or seventh of each chord. Example 1.1: Arpeggio exercise.

Since slash chords are an integral part of this solo section, not all of the arpeggios are in root

If the performer is not familiar with chord symbols written in pop notation, then I recommend p. ix of Levines Jazz Theory Book or Nomenclature from Aebersolds Jazz Handbook.

position. The appropriate inversions were used to incorporate the descending chromatic tetrachords in the first two phrases and the slash chord on beat three in m. 11. The performer should be aware that the G-7 on beat one of m. 11 should be a C7sus chord because there is an Eb concert bass note in the piano part (see m. 110 of the piano part). The C7sus, however, was not incorporated into the exercise since it is very similar to G-7 because C7sus may also be represented by G-7/C. The exercise should be played with a metronome on all four beats and then on beats two and four until the tempo of the fast section of the first movement is reached. The eighth notes should be played in a swing style. Articulation is not indicated, but it should be in a connected jazz style and not choppy. After the saxophonist is comfortable with ex. 1.1, they should improvise a solo limited to the notes from the arpeggios. I suggest playing the arpeggios in all of the possible inversions. For example, play all of the chords ascending in first, second, and third inversions, then play them descending in all inversions. It may also help to think of the arpeggios as digital patterns as Jerry Bergonzi suggests in Inside Improvisation Melodic Structures, vol.1. Therefore, the ascending arpeggios would become 1357, 3571, 5713, 7135, and the descending patterns would become 7531, 1753, 3175, and 5317. Replace the 7 with a 6 for each of the digital patterns for the Dmin chords in mm. 100 and 104 of the sonata. The sixth is not included in the piano voicing in m. 100; however, it has the same function as the chord in m. 104, which does include the sixth. Bergonzi also suggests using any permutation of the 1357 digitals pattern, such as 5317, 3715, and so forth.7 Of course, there are many permutations of 1357(6), which give the soloist many possibilities to choose from. I have composed an exercise, shown in ex. 1.2, which demonstrates

Jerry Bergonzi, Inside Improvisation Melodic Structures, vol. 1 (Germany: Advance Music, 1992), 10.

one possibility. I only use notes from the arpeggios, but I also use Bergonzis method of editing, where all four notes of the chord are not always included.8 The simple act of deleting notes creates rhythmic interest and makes the exercise sound more like an improvised solo. This method of practicing the chord progression is also valuable because any solo created with this method contains all chord tones, thus the solo will always be harmonically sound.
Example 1.2: Solo based on arpeggios.

Improvising using arpeggios is an excellent exercise to develop melodic ideas based on the harmony. Improvising using scales is another way to create harmonically sound ideas that are more conjunct, which contrasts the more disjunct melodies created from arpeggios. Each chord has at least one possible corresponding scale. Since there are only three key areas, many of the scale choices will either be related to the D jazz melodic minor,9 D harmonic minor, F major, or D major scales, allowing the performer to use the same scale for more than one chord,

Ibid., 39-40.

The jazz melodic minor scale is the ascending form of the melodic minor scale played both ascending and descending, thus D jazz melodic minor would be, D-E-F-G-A-B-C#, ascending and descending.

which makes improvising easier. For example, Bb Lydian and G Dorian are modes of F major, B Locrian #2 is a mode of D jazz melodic minor, and the A 5th mode of harmonic minor scale is the D harmonic minor scale beginning on the note A. Figure 1.1 is a list of the commonly used scales for chords found in the improvisation section it does not include every possible scale choice. Figure 1.1: Scale chart.
Chord DA7(b9) D-/C Bmin7(b5) BbMaj7 E7(b9) E-7 C# Dim7 G-7 or G-7/F A-7 DMaj7 1st Scale Choice D Jazz Melodic Minor A 5th mode/harm min D Dorian B Locrian #2 Bb Lydian E Dominant Diminished E Dorian C# Diminished (Octatonic) G Dorian A Dorian D Major 2nd Scale Choice D Minor 6 Pentatonic A 5th mode/harm min bebop D Dorian Bebop B Locrian Bb major E 5th mode/harm min E Dorian Bebop A Dominant Diminished G Dorian Bebop A Dorian Bebop D Lydian 3rd Scale Choice A Altered D Minor Pentatonic G Dominant Bebop Bb Major Pentatonic E Altered E Minor Pentatonic G Minor Pentatonic A Minor Pentatonic D Major Pentatonic

The most common scale choices include the Dorian mode for a minor seven chord, diminished scale for a diminished seven chord, a major scale for a major chord, and the jazz melodic minor scale for a minor six chord. Brennan only suggests D Dorian for the D minor chords in mm. 100 and 104. Dorian, however, should not be the first and definitely not the only scale choice for these two chords because they are functioning as tonic minor chords, not as predominant ii7 chords. Scale choices may also be determined by the melody. Measures 52-99 are based on the same chord progression as the improvisation section at m. 100. The most common scale used in the written section between mm. 52-99 is the D jazz melodic minor scale. Specifically, mm. 5254, 56-61, 68-69, 72-73, 84-85 are all based on this scale, but the chord is not always Dmin. For 9

example, when the scale is used with a Bmin7(b5) chord, as in the second half of m. 53, then the melody could be analyzed as being derived from the B Locrian #2 scale,10 which is the sixth mode of D jazz melodic minor. As for the Bb major chords, the Lydian mode should be the first choice (see fig. 1.1) instead of the Bb major scale because Woodss melodies are derived from the Lydian mode in almost every instance of the chord see mm. 54, 70, and 97 of the sonata. Dominant chords in jazz are very flexible due to the fact that there are a number of possible extensions and combinations of those extensions which are not always indicated by the chord symbol. All of the dominant chord symbols in the saxophone part and the corresponding voicings in the piano part in the improvisation section include a flat ninth, 7(b9), but no thirteenth, either natural or flat. Thus, there are many scale possibilities, from scales with a b9 and natural 13 such as dominant diminished,11 to scales with a b9 and b13 like the fifth mode of harmonic minor. The soloist can reduce the number of choices with three determining factors, the function of the chord, how the chord is resolved, and the melody associated with the chord. The A7(b9) chords in mm. 100, 103, and 107 all have a dominant function, resolve to D minor, and have corresponding parts in the melody earlier in the sonata that contain the note F. As a result, scales with an F and not F# would be the likely choices because a dominant chord in a minor key almost always contains the b13 and the melody in mm. 52, 55, 59, and 68 in the sonata all contain F naturals in combination with chords with a dominant function. The A 5th mode/harmonic minor scale is a good choice because it matches the melodic language of the movement and is based on D harmonic minor. The scale is spelled, A Bb C# D E F G, which includes not only the root, third, fifth, and seventh, but also the flat ninth and flat


The B Locrian #2 scale is B C# D E F G A.

The dominant diminished scale is another name for the octatonic scale beginning with a half step, H W H W H W H.



thirteenth. The A altered scale is also a valid choice because it fits an altered dominant chord with a b13 and b9; however, it also contains the sharp ninth, sharp eleventh, and no fifth, and as a consequence of these non-diatonic notes, it does not fit the melodic language of the movement. The A7 chord in m. 111 has more choices than just scales that contain the b13 because it resolves to D major. Dominant chords that resolve to a major chord, in general, can include any variation of natural and altered extensions. In this case, the chord symbol from the sonata is A7, which matches the natural nine scale degrees found in mm. 63, 79, and 95 of the melody; however, in the improvisation section, the piano part includes a flat ninth and no thirteenth (the chord should then read, A7[b9]). Thus, the soloist can either use the 5th mode/harmonic minor, altered, or the dominant diminished scale.12 I chose dominant diminished for the exercise shown in ex. 2.1 to add contrast to the previous altered dominant chords. Of course, if the accompanist is not going to adhere to the written piano part, this is something that should be discussed, or if the pianist is sensitive to these issues, then they will make these decisions while accompanying the soloist. The last dominant seventh chord to consider is the E7(b9) chord in mm. 102 and 106. An E7 chord in D is a secondary dominant because its function is to tonicize the dominant chord; in this case it is followed by Emin7 and then the dominant chord, A7. The fourth mode of jazz melodic minor, Lydian dominant is the common scale choice for a V/V chord because it includes all natural extensions and the sharp eleventh. The E7 chords in this movement, however, include a flat ninth, do not resolve to A minor, and there are no examples of the composer using either a natural or flat thirteenth in the melody except for m. 90 where the C is included in an ascending chromatic line. Thus, allowing the soloist to again choose from any of the three altered dominant scales previously listed. I chose E dominant diminished for this chord, as shown in ex. 2.1, to

The A dominant diminished scale is, A Bb C C# D# E F# G.


add contrast to the other dominant scale choices. Also, I prefer the C# in the E dominant diminished scale because it is diatonic to D tonic minor. I composed a scale exercise shown in ex. 2.1 using techniques found in Aebersolds article, Practice Procedure for Memorizing Scales and Chords to any Song.13 The scales are written in sixteenth notes to cover the entire scale in relation to the harmonic rhythm. The saxophonist should practice the exercise with a metronome and only tongue the first note of each scale. Then, the saxophonist may add other articulation patterns as they see fit.


Aebersold, Practice Procedure for Memorizing Scales and Chords to any Song, in Jazz Handbook; Internet.


Example 2.1: Scale exercise based on Aebersolds method.

Mark Levines Continuous Scale Exercise is an excellent way to bridge the gap between the previous exercise of simply playing scales and improvising melodies using scales. The first step is to select the scales to be used, as done in ex. 2.1. The second step is to use these scales to create melodies that move in a stepwise motion in quarter notes, eighth notes, or any other


rhythm that do not restart at the root for every chord change, but continue from where the previous scale ended. According to Levine, The beauty of this exercise is twofold: 1) It trains you to start each new scale wherever the last chord dropped you off, rather than jumping back to the root, which is too easy. 2) Most important, you learn how to link the scales together. Youll get experience in creating long flowing lines. Practicing this exercise also equalizes the importance of each note in every scale, and helps you get rid of root bias, or always thinking of the root of a scale first.14 Example 2.2 illustrates one possible version of the Continuous Scale Exercise as applied to the first movement using only quarter notes. Many of the features of Levines method are demonstrated in this example, such as linking all the scales linearly, use of sequence, and use of common tones between different chords. The scales are continuously linked throughout the exercise and only occasionally do they begin with the root. Levine writes of how important sequence is, and of how Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, and others are masters of the device.15 Measures six and seven are sequences of m. 5, and the melodic line in mm. 15-16 is a sequence of mm. 13-14 (see ex. 2.2). Levine also writes of how common tones, or notes that belong to two or more consecutive chords, may be used to create more space and less chromaticism.16 For example, the note D fits all four chords in mm. 9-10 in ex. 2.2, and the note C fits the first three chords of those measures.


Mark Levine, The Jazz Theory Book (Petaluma, CA: Sher Music Company, 1995), 122. Ibid., 127. Ibid., 155.




Example 2.2: Continuous Scale Exercise using quarter notes.

Many times the melodies created by the multiple scales in ex. 2.2 collectively create a particular scale, which is a defining characteristic of this particular harmonic progression. For instance, in the first two measures, the four scales, D jazz melodic minor, A 5th mode/harm min, D Dorian, and B Locrian #2, that are used to create the descending melodic line collectively create a one octave D harmonic minor scale. Also, in mm. 11-12, three scales (G Dorian, E Dorian, and A dominant diminished) are used to create a descending C# diminished scale. Example 2.3 illustrates an exercise I composed using a combination of Levines Continuous Scale Exercise and Bergonzis method of editing. In this exercise, quarter and eighth note rhythms, including rests, are used in various combinations, but the melodies are still limited to a stepwise motion only, which forces the improviser to choose only adjacent scale degrees, creating a coherent melodic line that is solidly based in the harmony. Melodic sequences play an even larger role in ex. 2.3. Motives are melodically sequenced and developed to build tension and to articulate the climax points (marked with an 15

asterisk (*) above mm. 23, 28). Three motives are developed in ex. 2.3, motives a-c. Motive a is developed in mm. 18-23. Motive b is introduced in m. 23 coinciding with the first climax point (*) and is subsequently developed in mm. 23-27. Motive c is then introduced in m. 28, coinciding with the final climax point (*) and is then developed throughout the last four measures (mm. 29-32). Example 2.3: Continuous Scale Exercise with eighth notes and quarter notes.

One aspect of Levines scale exercise that is not covered is the treatment of non-chord tones. He suggests only choosing scales that contain no non-chord tones, or what he calls avoid notes. For instance, the fourth degree of the Mixolydian and Ionian modes, when used with a dominant and major chord respectively, is an avoid note because the fourth is only a chord tone if it is raised a semitone, which is labeled as #4, b5, or #11. Two of the scales chosen for the first movement, D major and A 5th mode/harm minor, contain non-chord tones. The rest of the scales, dominant diminished, jazz melodic minor, Dorian, Lydian, and Locrian #2, do not.


For example, if B Locrian was chosen for Bmin7(b5), then C would be the avoid note because a flat ninth is not a possible extension for a min7(b5) chord. Practicing avoid notes should not be avoided, just not played without resolving the tension. In general, they are used as either passing tones or lower and upper neighbor tones on weak parts of the measure. All of the non-chord tones in ex. 2.3 are treated in this manner and labeled with N.C. above the note-head. If a non-chord tone is played on a strong beat, then it is usually resolved by step. Many Charlie Parker solos contain brilliant examples of non-chord tone resolution. Even at three-hundred beats per minute, many of his eighth note lines placed chord tones on the downbeats and non-chord tones on the upbeats. Levines scale exercise is an excellent way to help the soloist combine their knowledge of the chords and scales of the improvisation section in a logical and musical way. Another exercise that achieves this, as well as considers voice-leading, is a guide-tone line exercise by Brad Goode, who is a Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. A guide-tone line is created by connecting one chord member to the next to create a melodic line derived from a specific harmonic progression. There are multiple guide-tone line possibilities for a specific harmonic progression. Goodes exercise, like Levines scale exercise, sets limits that not only create a guide-tone line, but more importantly forces the improviser to choose the closest note for the next chord as determined by a set of rules. If played with a metronome, then the exercise tests the recall time of the soloist as well. The first step in Goodes exercise is to select which chord tones will be used, 1-3-5-7 or 1-3-5-7-9 or 1-3-5-7-9-13, and so forth. Then, select a starting pitch for the first chord. Finally, use the following four rules to determine the next note: 1. Stay on the same pitch 2. Descend a semitone 17

3. Descend a whole step 4. Ascend a semitone. If the note does not fit the chord, then move to the next rule until a note is found, but always start with the first rule for each new chord. One possible scenario is shown in ex. 3.1. First, I chose only to use 1-3-5-7(6) of each chord. Second, I chose the root as my starting pitch for the first chord. D is not a chord tone in the next chord, so using rule #2, the pitch was lowered a semitone to C#, which is the third of A7(b9). Rule #2 was used for the next three chord changes until the Bb in m. 3 where rule #3 was used to descend a whole step to G#, which is the third of E7(b9). Rule #4 was used between the notes C# in m. 8 to the D in m. 9, thus all four rules were utilized for this particular guidetone line. There are three other possible guide-tone lines for this progression beginning with the third, fifth, and sixth of Dmin, F, A, and B; however, other extensions could be included to create other possibilities. Example 3.1: Guide-tone line.


The melodic lines created by the guide-tone exercise may also be used as a guide for an improvised solo. In ex. 3.2, I composed a solo using the guide-tone line from ex. 3.1 that essentially embellishes it as an accomplished soloist such as Charlie Parker would embellish a simple popular melody. The most important pitches are from the original line and the other added pitches and rhythms used as ornamentation. Example 3.2: Solo based on the guide-tone line.

According to Victor Morosco, The section from m. 100 to m. 115 is a part of the entire work and utilizing thematic, rhythmic, and harmonic material found throughout the movement is suggested.17 After the saxophonist is comfortable with the harmony and can easily play the scales, arpeggios, and guide-tone lines outlining the harmony, then they should use an exercise from A Creative Approach to Practicing Jazz by David Baker to incorporate the material from the first movement as Morosco suggests.


Morosco, 2.


The exercise found in chapter ten of Bakers book, A Practice Technique for Using Bebop Tunes as a Tool for Learning and Internalizing the Bebop Language, directs the improviser to incorporate motives from the melody of a piece to be used as melodic material to develop in the improvisation section. For example, if a motive from the melody fits a Dmin7 chord, then the motive may be played over any Dmin7 chord in the chord changes. Also, the motive may be transposed to fit any min7 chord in the harmony, such as down a fifth to Gmin7 or up a minor third to Fmin7.18 The five note motive found in the sonata, m. 52, on beats one and two is an excellent excerpt of the melody to be used for the Baker exercise because it is taken from the melody, it outlines the harmony, and it is rhythmically interesting. Example 4.1: Woods sonata, m. 52.

Measure 52 is where Woods begins using the harmonic progression found in the improvisation section, thus making it simple to find motives that fit the harmony. In this case, the first chord in m. 52 is D-; therefore, the motive represented by scale degrees of the D jazz melodic minor scale would be, 2-1-5-3-2. The improviser could play this motive wherever there is a Dmin6 or Dmin7 chord because the motive does not contain the sixth or seventh scale degrees (see ex. 4.1). The motive, in fact, may be played over any chord in the entire harmonic progression except for C# diminished. If it is transposed up a whole step it will fit E-7, up a perfect fourth,

David Baker, A Creative Approach to Practicing Jazz (New Albany, IN: Jamey Aebersold Jazz, INC., 1994),



G-7, and up a perfect fifth, A-7. It fits Bb major without transposing, so the same notes represented by scale degrees of the Bb Lydian mode are, 4-3-7-5-4. It also fits Bmin7(b5) without transposing. The scale degrees of the B Locrian #2 scale would also be, 4-3-7-5-4, even though they are two different scales. The motive transposed up a major third also fits D major using the D Lydian mode (see ex. 4.2). Finding the correct transposition of the motive to fit altered dominant chords, such as A7(b9), is more difficult. One way, is to use the altered scale since it is the seventh mode of jazz melodic minor, thus giving the improviser a minor key to relate to the minor motive in m. 52. The A altered scale is the seventh mode of Bb jazz melodic minor. The original digital pattern of 2-1-5-3-2 as related to Bb minor is, C-Bb-F-Db-C, which are the following chord members of an A altered dominant chord: sharp ninth, flat ninth, flat thirteenth, third, and sharp ninth. Therefore, the motive in the correct transposition contains all the information for an altered dominant chord in four notes. Example 4.2: Exercise using m. 52 motive.


The saxophonist should improvise a solo using the motive from m. 52, but also find other motives that can be used in this way. In doing so the improviser will not only learn to incorporate material from the movement into their solo, but they will also train themselves to incorporate more melodic development into their improvisations. Just as developing melodic material is arguably one of the most important aspects of composition, melodic development in improvisation is just as important since an improvised solo is also a composition. The main goal is not to regurgitate pre-practiced melodies in a sterile way, but to be more successful at developing any motive or melodic idea that comes to mind while improvising. For the last exercise of the first movement, I combined all of the previous exercises, scales, arpeggios, and other material to compose an example improvised solo. First, I recorded myself improvising in mm. 100-117 in order to keep a sense of spontaneity in the solo and to see if any of the pre-practiced material would be incorporated. Then I edited the solo to accomplish my end-goal, which was to compose a solo that not only incorporated the scales, arpeggios, and exercises, but that was also based on the themes, rhythmic ideas, and the harmony of the movement. This solo is shown in ex. 5.


Example 5: Movement I example solo.

Examples of the salient features of the entire solo are found in the first four measures. Melodic and rhythmic motives from the sonata, melodies shaped by a guide-tone line, and scalar based melodies are all included. In the first measure, the F ends the ascending melodic line of the melody that begins in m. 99, and the double-time line in beats three and four is a quote from 23

m. 51 of the sonata this is another motive similar to the one in ex. 4.2 that would be beneficial to practice through the harmony. The D Dorian scalar figure in m. 2 uses the same rhythm from m. 48 in the sonata. Finally, the first four measures are essentially an embellishment of the guide-tone line given by the composer in mm.100-103 of the sonata, which is shown in ex. 6.1. Example 6.1: mm. 100-103.

Woodss line is similar in shape and stresses the same chord tones as the first four measures of the example solo. The first measure of examples 5 and 6.1 both begin with the note F, and C# is the lowest note. In the next measure, ex. 5 does begin with E, but the following notes D, C, B, and D again are also found in the second measure of ex. 6.1. The third measure of each example is very similar; however, the rhythm is completely different. The notes in ex. 6.1 are essentially syncopated in ex. 5. with a few additions. The note G begins the fourth measure of each example, although the guide-tone line is extended in ex. 5. The last two eighth notes in m. 3 are tonally sequenced by the last two eighths in m. 4, which in turn are tonally sequenced with one added eighth note in the end of m. 5. The guide-tone line is therefore G F E D. The next phrase in ex. 5, mm. 6-9, is an embellishment of mm. 73-76 of the sonata. In the sonata, there are two separate guide-tone lines, the top one being the accented notes, and the bottom one beginning with G in m. 74, moving through G#, A#, B, C, and then ending with the C# in m. 75 (see ex. 6.2).


Example 6.2: mm. 73-76.

The phrase from my composed solo in ex. 5 emphasizes the guide-tone line pair and embellishes them with syncopation. The phrase ends, just as the phrase from the sonata does, with the notes C and Bb, which are the sharp ninth and flat ninth over A7(b9). Throughout the first movement, Woods regularly emphasizes the sharp ninth and flat ninth chord extensions, as shown by the use of the notes C and Bb over the A7(b9) harmony in mm. 55, 71, and 75 of the sonata. This emphasis is reflected not only in mm. 8 of the example solo, but also in mm. 12, 20, 24, and 28 (see ex. 5). Other references in the example solo of melodic and rhythmic ideas from the sonata are found in mm. 21-22 and mm. 13-12. The melody from m. 84 to beat four of m. 85 in the sonata is referenced in mm. 21-22 (see ex. 5), which is also related to the first half of Woodss guidetone line (see ex. 6.1). Measures 13-14 in the example solo, on the other hand, use the exact rhythm, and not the melody from m. 47 to beat three of m. 48 in the sonata (see ex. 6.3). Example 6.3: mm. 47-48.

All of the double-time passages in the example solo are written in a bebop style, which is similar to the bebop style of mm. 51-67 in the first movement. These double-time passages in ex. 5 are not specifically based on any melodic material found in the sonata, although they are still linked with the sonata by style. This is yet another way to incorporate Moroscos suggestion 25

for the improviser to make a conscious effort to base their improvisation on Woodss composition. In doing so, the solo will not only be linked to the sonata, but also to Woodss playing style as well. Using bebop scales is an easy way to begin improvising in a bebop style. All of the double-time lines in the example solo, except for m. 12, employ either the dominant bebop19 or Dorian bebop20 scale (see ex. 7). The double-time line in m. 1 is a quote from m. 52 of the sonata and is based on the A dominant bebop scale. However, it is somewhat of a hybrid scale in that: it is a mixture of the A 5th mode/harm minor scale and the A dominant bebop scale because of the F natural. The double-time line in m. 11 is based on the G Dorian bebop scale and incorporates the leading tone, F#. In m. 18, the G dominant bebop scale is used in the double-time line over both D-/C and Bmin7(b5). Finally, the line in m. 28, which is from a Bill Evans solo recorded on Cannonball Adderleys composition Minority, employs the C dominant bebop scale over the E-7 to A7(b9). The inclusion of the Bb over the E-7 chord, which has a B natural, implies a ii chord common to a minor ii-V, Emin7(b5). Using a C dominant bebop scale over an Emin7(b5) is identical to the relationship between the G dominant bebop scale and Bmin7(b5) in m. 18. Furthermore, the Bb on beat two of m. 28 anticipates the flatninth of A7(b9), Bb. The Bill Evans phrase ends with the sharp ninth, flat ninth, and sharp eleventh chord members of A7, which is again similar to many of the melodies found in the first movement of the sonata. Many of the scales listed in figure 1.1 were used in the example improvised solo (see ex. 7).

The dominant bebop scale is an eight note scale that is a major scale with both the natural and flat seventh scale degrees, therefore, the scale in C is, C D E F G A Bb B. The Dorian bebop scale is the Dorian mode with the major third as well, there fore, the scale in G is, G A Bb B C D E F, which is also the C dominant bebop scale beginning on G.



Example 7: Movement I example solo with scale annotations.

In ex. 7, note, that even though multiple scales are used concurrently, many times the resulting melodic line can be analyzed as one scale that is usually diatonic to D minor as my analysis of the harmony demonstrated when I covered scale choices. In mm. 4-6, the phrase only contains notes diatonic to D minor even though it consists of six different scales, A altered, D jazz


melodic minor, C# diminished, D Dorian, B Locrian, and Bb major. In mm. 18-19, the sixteenth note line could be analyzed as G dominant bebop, even though it could also be analyzed as a combination of three scales, D Dorian, G dominant bebop, and Bb Lydian. Also, the melody in mm. 25-27 could be analyzed as only notes from the D Aeolian mode, even though it is a combination of four modes, G Dorian, A Dorian, Bb Lydian, and B Locrian. Measures 25-27, 23-24, and 17-19 of ex. 7 are three examples of using Levines Continuous Scale Exercise to create a single melodic phrase through combining multiple scales. In addition to improvising scalar lines that move in a step-wise motion (see ex. 2.2-2.3); Levines scale exercise also works with other patterns such as scales that move in thirds, fourths, or some other recurring pattern.21 In mm. 25-27, the pattern is up a fourth, down a fourth, then down a step in the respective scale. In mm. 23-24, the pattern is up a third, down a third, then up a step using the E dominant diminished scale and E Dorian mode. The last phrase, mm. 17-19, does not use a specific pattern; however, the fact that the phrase is stretched through four different chords by melodically linking them together is also reminiscent of Levines scale exercise. Examples of the D and Bb major scales and Lydian modes are shown in mm. 29-32, where the key modulates to the parallel major. The line in m. 29, which ends the Bill Evans phrase from m. 28, is a favorite Charlie Parker phrase that is derived from the major scale. When Parker played this melody it usually ended the phrase outlining the fifth, third, seventh, and sixth chord tones of the tonic chord. Measure 30 is a real sequence of m. 29 in augmentation. The next two measures use the Lydian mode in different ways. Measure 31 is a restatement of the Parker melody with an added G#, fourth scale degree of D Lydian. The G# is an appoggiatura on a weak beat because it is approached by leap and left by step on the second half of beat three, which makes the note less pronounced than the E in the next measure. More

Levine, 124-127.


emphasis is placed on the E, which is the fourth scale degree of Bb Lydian, because it is left unresolved and is the last note of the solo. The last section of improvisation in the first movement is the piano solo in mm. 134-149. There is some question as to the function of the saxophone during this section because chord changes are given in the saxophone part for the entire section, as well as a melody line to be played the last time at m. 142. Morosco suggests that the saxophonist may join in whenever he desires to do so. However, it should be remembered that the pianist is the dominant soloist here.22 I suggest the saxophonist play less active improvised counter melodies such as guidetone lines that emphasize certain chord members such as thirds, sevenths, ninths, and thirteenths. At first, the lines could be less active rhythmically using whole notes, half notes, and other unobtrusive rhythms that function as backgrounds. Then, the line could become more rhythmically active and not only accompany the piano solo, but also interact and create a dialogue with the pianist. The saxophonist should use the guide-tone line exercise from exercises 3.1-3.2 to develop counter-melodies in this style.


Morosco, 2.


CHAPTER III MOVEMENT II The second movement of Woodss sonata has very little improvisation. There are three fermatas in mm. 67-68 with no chord symbols with a note from the composer that directs the player to think Free Jazz la Eric Dolphy. Let yourself go crazy!23 Obviously, the player could go crazy and play what ever they felt. Or, they could use the chords in the piano part as a guide. Chord symbols that reflect the piano part would therefore be read Bb7sus, B7sus, and C7sus as transposed for alto saxophone. The sus symbol represents a chord where the fourth scale degree replaces the third. In popular styles of music, many times, the suspension does not resolve down by step to give the chord what Levine calls a floating quality.24 The sus chord shares the same mode as a dominant seventh chord, Mixolydian.25 Jamey Aebersold suggests using the following scales with a sus chord: Mixolydian, dominant bebop, and major pentatonic built on the b7, which in Bb would be, Ab-Bb-C-Eb-F.26 The first two scales are also used with dominant seventh chords, the only difference is how one uses the scales because the fourth scale degree is no longer an avoid note.27 Aebersold suggests not to emphasize the third of a sus chord,28 the note D with Bb7sus for instance. However, Levine states that jazz pianists often include the 3rd in sus chords and gives Wynton Kellys
Phil Woods, Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano, rev. ed., saxophone solo part (Germany: Advance Music, 1997), 5.
24 23

Levine, 43. Ibid.


Jamey Aebersold, The Scale Syllabus, in Jazz Handbook [book on-line] (New Albany, IN: Jamey Aebersold Jazz, INC., 2000, accessed March 2008); available from http://www.jazzbooks.com/miva/documents/handbook/13_scale_syllabus.pdf; Internet.


Levine, 43. Aebersold, The Scale Syllabus, in Jazz Handbook; Internet.



performance at the beginning of Mile Davis recording of Someday My Prince Will Come as an example.29 Also, there is such a voicing in the piano part in m. 53 of the third movement (see ex. 10.2). Therefore, the performer has the same scale options as with a dominant seventh chord with natural extensions in mm. 67-68 of the second movement. Walt Weiskopfs book, Intervallic Improvisation The Modern Sound, will train the improviser to play in a more contemporary style that will contrast the more bebop style of the first movement. Weiskopfs method essentially selects two triads that fit a particular chord and then mixes them to create a non-linear melodic shape. This is achieved by alternating the triads and their inversions, root/root, first inversion/first inversion, et cetera.30 For example, Ab major and Bb major triads match a Bb7sus chord resulting in the pattern shown in ex. 8.1. Example 8.1: Triad pair Bb, C.

The saxophonist should then practice the triad pairs that fit B7sus and C7sus, which are A and B major triads for the former, and Bb and C major triads for the latter (see ex. 8.2). Example 8.2: Triad pairs for B7sus, C7sus.


Levine, 46.

Walt Weiskopf, Intervallic Improvisation The Modern Sound (New Albany, IN: Jamey Aebersold Jazz, INC., 1995), 5-7.



After the triad pairs are mastered, the saxophonist should mix other scales, such as dominant bebop, with patterns based on the triad pairs and then, Go crazy!31


Woods, Sonata, 5.


CHAPTER IV MOVEMENT III Unlike the first movement, Woods specifies even eighth notes in the third movement. This contrasts the swing style of the improvisation section in the first movement. Also, Woods wrote a more rhythmically specific piano accompaniment for the third movement to capture the change in style Morosco suggests that the pianist may move away from this as they see fit or just repeat the pattern as written.32 A time change to 5/4 also contributes to the change in style. The third movement is in a minor key as was the first; however, it is modal whereas the first movement was tonic minor. A modal tune in a minor key, Dorian in this case, has a distinct harmonic contrast to a tune in tonic minor. Tonic minor chords include minor sixth or minor with a major seven, whereas modal tunes that are in a minor key are usually based on the Dorian mode which has a flat seven. The flat seven is always used in the written piano accompaniment (mm. 30-37 of the piano part from the sonata are shown in ex. 9.1). I added the chord changes from the alto saxophone part, but transposed them to concert pitch. What is immediately noticeable is that the Eb bass note in the beginning of each measure between mm. 34-37 does not match the Bb-7 chord symbol. Woods is merely using Bb-7 in place of the actual chord symbol Eb7sus, which is essentially the same chord. If Woodss chord symbols are used, then the flat seven of every minor seven chord is utilized, F in the first four measures, and alternating notes Ab and Db in each of the next four measures (see ex. 9.1).


Morosco, 2.


Example 9.1: Piano, mm. 30-37.

The harmonic rhythm of this movement is much slower than the first movement. The improvisation section, mm. 30-53, is divided into five four measure phrases that are repeated. There is also a four measure coda that ends with a fermata (see ex. 10). Three of those phrases use only one chord, E-7. The static harmonic rhythm is similar to other modal jazz compositions in minor, such as John Coltranes Impressions, Woody Shaws Little Red Fantasy, and Herbie Hancocks One Finger Snap, where there are stretches of one chord for four or more measures. The harmonic rhythm is quicker in the second phrase, mm. 34-37, with alternating G-7 and C-7 chords, but the chord change is repeated for four measures. The third phrase, mm. 42-45, has a very quick harmonic rhythm with two chords for each measure that move down by fifths.


Example 10: Chords for the improvisation section, mm. 30-53.

There are two incorrect chords in this improvisation section. In m. 44 of the saxophone part, the D7 on beat three should be a D7sus or A-7/D because the chord in the piano part contains the fourth scale degree, Bb concert, and not the third, A concert (see ex. 9.2). Also, the A9 in m. 53 should be A9sus (add C#) because the piano part contains the fourth scale degree, F concert, in the left hand, and the third, C#, in the right (see ex. 9.3).


Example 9.3: Piano, m. 53.

I also edited the first ending to read open and the second ending to read last time because I am suggesting that the soloist repeat the section more than one time. As in the first movement, one should practice only the chord tones as a first step toward learning the harmony. In much of the arpeggio exercise for this movement (see ex. 11), many more chord tones are utilized due to the slower harmonic rhythm at least for the first, second, and fourth phrases. In the measures with E-7, for example, there is enough time to play the root, third, fifth, seven, ninth, eleventh, and in mm. 9-12, the thirteenth. These are all valid notes to emphasis over E-7 because the Dorian mode does not contain any avoid notes. On the other hand, the G-7 chord only lasts for two beats and the C-7 chord for three in mm. 5-8, thus less chord tones are covered; although, this does not relegate the improviser to always beginning with the root. One should also begin arpeggio exercises with other chord tones such as the third or seventh.


Example 11, Arpeggio exercise.

The chord symbols in the third movement are somewhat clearer with the addition of the 7 on the minor seven chords; however, the upper extensions used in the third phrase are incomplete. For instance, the chords beginning on beat four of mm. 42 and 43 are listed as F#7b9 and E7b9 in the saxophone part even though the piano part contains a natural thirteenth on beat four and a flat thirteenth on beat five of both measures (see ex. 9.2). Also note in m. 45 that all versions of the ninth are given in the first three beats, sharp ninth, natural ninth, and flat ninth (see ex. 9.2) even though the chord given in the saxophone part is C7. All in all, it becomes


difficult to navigate all of the chromaticism not only because the chord symbols are incomplete, but also because of the quick movement of the harmony. Example 9.2: Piano, mm. 42-45.

Because there is a great deal of chromaticism in the piano part, I chose to treat all of the dominant chords in question the same way, as altered dominant chords with a sharp fifth and sharp ninth, 7(#9 #5). If all of the altered dominant chords use the same extensions, then the improviser can easily link the chord changes together with real sequences as shown in ex. 11, mm. 13-15. In m. 13, the root, third, sharp fifth, and seventh of F#7 resolve to the root, third, sharp fifth, seventh, and sharp ninth of B7 in m. 14. The arpeggios from these two chords are then sequenced down a whole step beginning on beat four in m. 14 with E7 and ending with the A7 chord in the next measure. The C7 chord in m. 45, however, was not altered because it is functioning as a predominant chord in E minor, bVI. The bVI chord in minor usually contains all natural extensions except for the sharp eleventh, which is the arpeggio shown in ex. 11, m. 16. After the saxophonist is comfortable with the arpeggios, they should then improvise with only the notes from the arpeggios, as was demonstrated in the first movement. As shown in ex. 1.2, all of the inversions of the chords should be explored. At that point, they should then begin practicing the scales that fit the chords. Since the harmonic rhythm is slower in much of this solo section from the third movement, the soloist needs to have various scales at their disposal to sustain an interesting solo


that has many contrasting ideas. In addition to Dorian, other scales can be used in this movement, such as various pentatonic, altered, Dorian bebop, and Lydian dominant scales. Minor seven chords dominate most of the harmony and the Dorian mode becomes mundane from overuse. Pentatonic and Dorian bebop are other scales that can add contrast to the Dorian mode in two different ways. Levine characterized the use of pentatonics well when he wrote: Pentatonic scales give music a greater feeling of space. Constructed of whole steps and minor 3rds only, with no half steps, pentatonic scales lack the chromaticism of other scales. More air, space, and light enter the music when you play this larger-interval scale.33 The minor pentatonic scale34 is commonly paired with a minor seven chord. Melodies derived from pentatonic scales are more disjunct compared to melodies derived from Dorian bebop scales, which are much more conjunct. The Dorian mode is obviously conjunct because it is a mode consisting of whole steps and half steps, however, the Dorian bebop scale adds one chromatic passing tone between the third and fourth scale degrees,35 which aids the improviser in creating melodies that are very conjunct and rhythmically sound by consistently placing the same chord tones the downbeats throughout multiple octaves. The scale exercise shown in ex. 12 incorporates all of the suggested scales including the Dorian bebop and minor pentatonic scales. Note, that the Dorian bebop scales are always written descending because that is how they commonly occur. The E Dorian bebop scale is shown in mm. 3-4, 11-12, and the G and C Dorian bebop scales are shown in m. 6 (see ex. 12). As for the minor pentatonic scales, I incorporated scales based on the root and on the fifth. For example, E

Levine, 194.

A minor pentatonic scale is based on -3, W, W, -3 intervals or the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, degrees of the Dorian mode. Thus, E minor pentatonic would be E, G, A, B, D.


Levine, 174.


minor pentatonic is shown in mm. 17 and 19, and B minor pentatonic is shown in mm. 18 and 20, even though the harmony is still Emin7. The B minor pentatonic scale contains the ninth and eleventh upper extensions of Emin7. In mm. 5-8, one could use G and C minor pentatonic; however, I chose to use G minor pentatonic throughout mm. 7-8 because all notes in the scale are common tones between both chords, thus allowing the soloist to only think of one scale. Example 12: Scale exercise.


All of the scales in mm. 13-16 in ex. 12 match the arpeggio exercise (see ex. 11). For example, Locrian matches the first chord in m. 13, C#min7(b5), and the altered scale matches all of the altered dominant chords. It is an alternative to fifth mode of harmonic minor as both scales fit the same type of altered dominant chord, the difference being that the altered scale contains no non-chord tones and all of the possible alterations, b9, #9, #11, b13 (#5).36 As for the A-7/D chord, I used A Dorian, and for the C7 chord I used C Lydian dominant. Internationally recognized jazz educator and saxophonist Jerry Coker has a method for practicing difficult chord changes he calls fermata practice.37 Each chord of a harmonic progression is practiced out of time with a drone or chord in the background. This exercise is perfect for any set of chord changes, but more specifically, difficult changes that are in an unfamiliar key or that have a very quick harmonic rhythm. This exercise should be used for the third phrase in the sonata, mm. 42-45. The soloist should play the scales suggested for this section out of time listening closely to how each scale degree fits or does not fit the chord. One should classify each scale degree from more consonant to more dissonant to become more familiar with the difference between more consonant chord tones such as the root and fifth, as compared to more dissonant chord tones such as the flat ninth and flat thirteenth. The saxophonist should compose a scale exercise using Levines Continuous Scale Exercise as I did for the first movement. Another excellent aid for internalizing the changes is composing an exercise based on diatonic seventh patterns, or what Levine calls 7th Chord Sequences.38 These sequences are derived from the scales used in this movement and are one


Ibid., 70. Jerry Coker, How to Practice Jazz (New Albany, IN: Jamey Aebersold Jazz, INC., 1990), 22-23. Levine, 150.




more piece of jazz vocabulary to incorporate into an improvised solo; because, according to Levine, Like triads, their presence in a solo stabilizes the harmony and imparts a sense of structure.39 He cites solos that contain these sequences, such as Coltranes solo on Milestones from Miles Daviss recording of the same name on Columbia, Herbie Hancocks solo on All of You from Daviss The Complete Concert 1964 (Columbia), and Wayne Shorters The Big Push from The Soothsayer (Blue Note).40 Seventh chord sequences are essentially based on the diatonic seventh chords derived from a scale. For example, the E Dorian mode contains seven different seventh chords built on each scale degree, Emin7, F#min7, GMaj7, A7, Bmin7, C#min7(b5), and DMaj7. The exercise shown in ex. 13.1a incorporates all of the seventh chords derived from E Dorian as applied to the full range of the saxophone in eighth notes ascending and descending. Pattern #1 groups the ascending forms of the seventh chords first to a high F#, then all of the descending seventh chords down to low B, and then finishes by ascending to the root. Levine also suggests alternating the seventh chords, one ascending followed by one descending. This pattern is also shown in ex. 13.1a (pattern #2) and covers the full range of the saxophone.

39 40

Ibid. Ibid., 150-151.


Example 13.1a, Diatonic seventh chords of E Dorian.

Seventh chord sequences may also be derived from the jazz melodic minor scale, which works well with the phrase of altered dominants in this movement. The diatonic seventh chords derived from the B altered scale are shown in ex. 13.1b, mm. 28-31. The seventh chords that result are as follows: Bmin7(b5), Cmin(maj7), Dmin7, EbMaj7(#5), F7, G7, and Amin7(b5).


Example 13.1b: Diatonic seventh chords of the B altered scale.

After the saxophonist masters these seventh chord sequences in all keys of the movement, they should then practice each pattern in time through the chord changes, which is very similar to the Continuous Scale Exercise. The exercise shown in ex. 13.2. is based on pattern #2; however, the pattern does not restart from the root of each chord change, the pattern continues through each change. Example 13.2, Diatonic Seventh Pattern #2 applied to mm. 30-49.

For instance, the descending GMaj7 chord derived from E Dorian at the end of m. 4 is followed by an ascending FMaj7 chord derived from G Dorian in m. 5. This chord is then followed by an 44

F7 descending chord which is derived from C Dorian. The diatonic seventh chord exercise uses chords derived from scales to force the improviser to pick the closest notes for each chord change to break any habits of emphasizing the same chord tones or playing the same phrase on a certain chord, just as the Continuous Scale Exercise does with scales. In the end, the soloist is more familiar with all of the chord tones and it trains the person to create longer lines that are melodically linked through multiple chord changes. More than half of the exercise in ex. 13.2 adheres to the ascending or descending four note seventh chords even though the movement is in 5/4. However, in mm. 13-end, the meter takes precedence to show other options to the exercise, so there are only two of the four notes used in some cases to add contrast to the melodic shape. The soloist should also experiment with omitting notes to add rhythmic variety as shown in ex. 1.2. According to Levine, if the pattern is played too often in a solo, they can also get pretty boring. He continues with the suggestion to be rhythmically inventive, and see if you can find ways to transform these exercises into music.41 Listening to the examples Levine suggests, by Coltrane, Hancock, and Shorter, would also give the soloist ideas for using seventh chord sequences musically.42 As with the first movement, I composed an example improvised solo for the third movement that not only incorporates the scales, arpeggios, and exercises, but that is also based on the themes, rhythmic ideas, and the harmony of the third movement. I used the same method for composing the solo as was used for the first movement. First, I practiced all of the exercises covered for this movement. Second, I recorded myself improvising with the written piano accompaniment. Finally, I edited the solo to fit the parameters discussed here. The result was a solo that is essentially a mix of melodic and rhythmic material derived through analysis of the

Ibid., 154. Ibid., 150-51.



composed material from the third movement, and from the exercises (ex. 11-13.2). This solo is shown in ex. 14.1. Example 14.1: Movement III example solo.


Five motives from the third movement were incorporated throughout the example improvised solo. Each motive was embellished and developed melodically and/or rhythmically by using the exercises shown in examples 11-13.2. Motive a (ex. 14.2a) is from mm. 28-29 in the saxophone part of the sonata, two measures before the improvisation section begins. Example 14.2a: motive a, alto, mm. 28-29.

Motive a appears in retrograde in m. 1 of the example solo, functioning as an answer to the original statement two measures earlier, and then it also appears, as written, in m. 2; however, in both measures it occurs 1 beats earlier than the original. Beginning in m. 3, the first two phrases are combined and embellished with an added note to emphasize the ninth, F#. Motive a is then tonally sequenced in m. 5 where the F# changes to an F natural, the flat seventh of Gmin7, D is unchanged, and the preceding C# and B are lowered by a half step to C and Bb, the flat seventh of Cmin7. The development of motive a ends in mm. 6-7 with two phrases based on mm. 3-4. Both phases use the G minor pentatonic scale for melodic embellishment, along with


compound rhythms to increase the forward motion that is continued with the double-time phrase that follows. The strictly rhythmic embellishment of motive b quickly follows in mm. 10-11 (ex. 14.1) after the double-time bebop phrase. Motive b occurs throughout the third movement in the piano and the saxophone. It is closely related to motive a in the fact that they both begin and end with the notes F and D concert and are derived from concert G Dorian. Example 14.2b: motive b, piano, m. 30.

Three different rhythmic variations of motive b occur in mm. 10-11 the first variation being in diminution and the rest becoming increasingly more syncopated. There is a version of motive b transposed up a perfect fourth in m. 35-36 of ex. 14.1. The differences are that there are two chords in the harmony, A-7/D and C#7(#9), not just E-7, and that the fourth note of the phrase is raised a half step, changing the note to a leading tone which implies tonic minor not Dorian. Variations of motive c appear in two phrases of the example solo, mm. 14-15 and mm. 33-35. Example 14.2c: motive c, alto, mm. 14.

The motive is only melodically embellished in the first of the two phrases, where the rhythm is unchanged but all notes are different except for the note G. The other notes are derived from the suggested scales, which are A Dorian for A-7/D and altered for all the others. These scales are 48

ideal since the improviser does not have to be concerned with non-chord tones and can concentrate solely on the melodic line. In this case, there are two melodic lines that begin in m. 13. The top line is the note G that does not change. The bottom line begins on beat two of m. 13 with the note A and ascends chromatically to the D on beat four of m. 15 (see ex. 14.1). In the second phrase, mm. 33-35, both the rhythmic and melodic material of motive c are embellished. Each measure begins with the original rhythm, but each ends with a different one. These endings are based on the fifth mode of harmonic minor scales and not altered because of the inclusion of the fifth of F#7(b9) and E7(b9). The material could also have been derived from dominant diminished due to the exclusion of the thirteenth of F#7(b9) and E7(b9). According to Levine, the dominant diminished scale is usually paired with the chord symbol 7(b9).43 However, in this case both the natural and flat thirteenth of F#7(b9) and E7(b9) appear in the piano part (ex. 10.1), so altered, dominant diminished, and fifth mode of harmonic minor are all appropriate choices. Motive d is part of the principal melody of the entire movement in mm. 3-7 of the alto part. Example 14.2d: motive d, alto, m. 5.

Defining characteristics include the blue note, A#, resolving to A, the sixteenth note-triplet turns, and the overall descending melodic shape in diatonic thirds in E minor. The blue note, A#, creates dissonance that is then resolved through A on beat three, G on beat four, F# on beat five, and then E on beat one of m. 6. A very similar guide-tone line is used in mm. 29-32 of the

Ibid., 81.


example solo (ex. 14.1), although the resolution is delayed. The A#-A motion is repeated in different rhythmic patterns between mm. 29-31 creating a great deal of intensity and forward motion, which is not resolved until m. 32 where an unaltered fragment of motive d appears. Complete restatements of motive d appear in mm. 37 and 40 of the solo. Quoting the melody toward the end of an improvised solo is a way to resolve tension and to signal the end of a solo. Motive e is from mm. 23-25 of the sonata in the saxophone part. Example 14.2e: motive e, alto, mm. 23-25.

It is an ascending B dominant diminished scale in quarter notes. Only the melodic shape and quarter notes are incorporated in m. 39 of the example solo. Instead, an E minor pentatonic scale is used to match the Emin7 chord and to link the last to statements of motive d (ex. 14.1). The rest of the example solo (ex. 14.1) is derived solely from the suggested scales, arpeggios, and seventh chord sequences found in ex. 11-13.2. Highlights of these phrases include three based on the Dorian bebop scale, three created from spinning-out a small motive derived from the particular scale, and four based on sequences derived from diatonic triads and seventh chords. The three phrases based on the Dorian bebop scale all begin with the same motive in three different keys. In m. 8, the first chord is Gmin7, thus the bebop scale is G Dorian bebop. The melodic shape of the first five notes of the bebop line is similar to what David Baker calls an enclosure. An enclosure is created when two notes precede a chord tone, one a half step above and one a half step below. 44 In ex. 14.1, however, there are four notes that precede and enclose


David Baker, How to Play Bebop, vol. 1 (Van Nuys, CA: Alfred Publishing Co., Inc., 1985), 7.


the chord tone, Bb, on beat two, G# and A below and B and C above. The phrase continues with the notes, Bb-C-D-F or 3-4-5-7, which are the defining notes of the minor pentatonic phrase three measures earlier (mm. 5-7). The very same bebop phrase, in double-time, is found in m. 19, although it is based on the E Dorian bebop scale. The last instance of the bebop phrase is in m. 25, however, this time it is in eighth note triplets and is based on the C Dorian bebop scale, but it still ends with the four note motive, Eb-F-G-Bb or 3-4-5-7. The last two bebop phrases in mm. 19 and 25 end with material created by spinning-out a small scalar based motive. In m. 19, for instance, the descending perfect fourth beginning with F# on beat three is tonally sequenced up a step in E Dorian beginning with the note G on beat four, then the motive is changed to down a fourth, up a step, beginning with A on beat five, and then again beginning with the B in m. 20. A similar sequence is used in mm. 26-27, although instead of down a fourth, up a step, the sequence is down a third (major or minor), up a step. Also, the sequence is applied to interchanging chords, Gmin7 and Cmin7, which easily works because E or Eb is the only note difference between the two chords. The next phrase, mm. 2829, is a combination of the two sequences; m. 28 uses fourths and m. 29 uses thirds. The Weiskopf triad pair theory applied in the second movement is also applied here in the double-time phrase beginning in m. 12 and ending on beat one of m. 13. The line from beat three to the end is based on a pair of major triads. The harmony is Emin7, thus A and G major triads are derived from the E Dorian mode. The sequence starts with an A major triad in first inversion (3-5-1-3), followed by a descending G major triad in first inversion (3-1-5-3). This sequence is then applied to both triads in root position beginning on beat five and ending on beat one of m. 13.


The phrase beginning with the pickup to m. 23 and ending in m. 25 is constructed of triadic and seventh chord sequences derived from the E and G Dorian modes. The following diatonic triads found in m. 23 are derived from E Dorian: A major, G major, F# minor, E minor. The E minor triad is elided with the first seventh chord, C#min7(b5), which ends on the first beat of m. 24. The descending stepwise root movement of the triads in m. 23 is continued with the following diatonic seventh chords to E Dorian in mm. 24-25: C#min7(b5), Bmin7, A7. The line ends in m. 25 with one seventh chord derived from G Dorian, Gmin7. The last phrase based on seventh chords is in m. 16. The measure begins with an Emin7(b5) chord which outline the third, fifth, flat seventh, and ninth of C7. An Amin7(b5) chord follows, beginning on beat three, which outlines the same chord tones of F7, however, the chord is actually the a tritone substitution of F7, B7(b9). Thus, the chord tones outlined are the seventh, flat ninth, third, and flat thirteenth. Just as an improviser may choose different scale degrees to emphasize certain chord tones, diatonic chords, whether triads or seventh chords, may also be used in the same way. Thus, the diatonic seventh chords chosen in m. 16 emphasize the upper-extensions of the harmony.


CHAPTER V MOVEMENT IV There are only a few instances of improvisation in the fourth movement, two measures in the beginning, the last two measures of the cadenza, and the section that follows the cadenza, mm. 110-113. As with the second movement, there are no chord symbols, but only guidelines given for the areas of improvisation. Guidelines like, improvise using harmonics, growls and extreme harmonics, and improvise overtones only give the improviser a general idea to follow.45 However, more specific information is given in the score. For instance, melodies and harmonies that accompany these sections may be used to give more specific ideas to the soloist. The chords found in mm. 4-5 of the piano part, for instance, give harmonic grounding in the phrase improvise using harmonics. If those two measures were analyzed as one minor seventh chord placed on top of another minor seventh chord, then the chord symbol would read in concert pitch, Emin7 directly over Bbmin7 (see ex. 15). Example 15: Piano, m. 4.

Collectively, the two chords contain eight different pitches, which if organized linearly make up the Bb dominant diminished scale, Bb-B-C#-D-E-F-G-Ab. Morosco suggests playing the blues motif in measure 2 two octaves higher46 which does continue the style of the movement.


Woods, Sonata, 9. Morosco, 2.



However, knowing that both chords collectively create a concert Bb dominant diminished scale gives the improviser much more material to choose from than just a concert Bb blues scale. In addition, it also allows them to play freely, as the movement dictates. The repeat ad lib. section between m. 110 and 113 is another section based on the blues motif in m. 2, this time played repeatedly in the right hand of the piano. Even though there are no poly-chords in this section, the appearance of the blues motif in Bb mixed with the D chromatic scale in the left hand, also lends itself to the Bb dominant diminished scale because of the mixing of the major and minor third scale degrees. Of course, the Bb blues scale would also be appropriate. The blues scale would also lend itself to the end of the cadenza due to the notes given, but there are other possibilities for improvising a cadenza. First, cadenzas in a jazz style are often based on the chord progression, although there are no chord symbols given. Finally, the cadenza could be based on melodic material found in the movement, which is how the written part of the cadenza begins. The soloist could then develop that material however they chose, and could also include growls and extreme harmonics as directed in m. 108. One recent example of this is Branford Marsalis improvised cadenza on Iberts Concertino da Camera, which is recorded on Creation. He starts with the written cadenza and then transitions to his own improvised material that is based loosely on what Ibert composed. However the improviser chooses to play the cadenza, the solo should be grounded in the harmony, style, and/or melodic language of the section.


CHAPTER VI CONCLUSION This performers guide is essentially a pedagogical tool to be used by the saxophonist with little or no experience in jazz improvisation who is looking for analytical tools to begin practicing this performance technique in a crossover work. For those who have no experience using material such as scales, chords, and/or ideas from the piece to improvise a solo in a work such as this, it can be an overwhelming experience. And, as in many artistic endeavors, acquiring the resources to improvise only comes after much repetition and memorization to build a jazz vocabulary on which to draw from when playing an improvised solo. However, the reward of practicing this art form for many months is being able to use it as another means for artistic expression. The guide may also be of interest to the experienced improviser who will use it to explore new ways of improvising a solo in a crossover work of this nature. The exercises are written in a way to help the saxophonist create solos that are grounded in the style of this work by using the harmonic and melodic language used by Woods. Hopefully, there will be at least one or more ideas in the guide that is new to even the experienced improviser. Most importantly, this guide is written in a way to be used with any work in this genre that contains improvisation. It is my intent that this guide will help those saxophonists who would not otherwise perform a crossover work in the style of the Woods sonata due to the sections of improvisation. Performance of this work and others in this genre, such as the sonatas written by Bill Dobbins and Ramon Ricker, will stimulate the growing interest in crossing the


boundaries between jazz and classical music,47 which is extremely important to any saxophonist striving to fully develop their musical potential.


Ramon Ricker, Jazz Sonata (Germany: Advance Music, 1994).


BIBLIOGRAPHY Aebersold, Jamey. Jazz Handbook. New Albany, IN: Jamey Aebersold Jazz, INC., 2000. Baker, David N. A Creative Approach to Practicing Jazz. New Albany, IN: Jamey Aebersold Jazz, INC., 1994. Bergonzi, Jerry. Inside Improvisation Melodic Structures, vol. 1. Germany: Advance Music, 1992. ____________. Inside Improvisation Pentatonics, vol. 2. Germany: Advance Music, 1994. Brennan, David. A Performers Analysis of Phil Woods Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano. DMA diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 2004. Coker, Jerry. How to Practice Jazz. New Albany, IN: Jamey Aebersold Jazz, INC., 1990. DeGreg, Phil. Jazz Keyboard Harmony. New Albany, IN: Jamey Aebersold Jazz, INC., 1994. Dobbins, Bill. Sonata for Soprano or Tenor Saxophone and Piano. Germany: Advance Music, 1991. Levine, Mark. The Jazz Theory Book. Petaluma, CA: Sher Music Company, 1995. Liebman, David and Philippe Roche. David Liebman Solos. New Albany, IN: Jamey Aebersold Jazz, INC., 1990. Morosco, Victor. Notes Interpretation and Performance. Notes to Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano, rev. ed. Germany: Advance Music, 1997. Perrine, John Mark. Crossover considerations: Performing three works by Ludmila Ulehla, Phil Woods and Bill Dobbins. DMA diss., Louisiana State University, 2002. Ricker, Ramon. Jazz Sonata. Germany: Advance Music, 1994. Sancho-Velazquez, Angeles. The legacy of genius: Improvisation, Romantic imagination, and the Western musical canon, Ph.D. dissertation. Ph.D. diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 2001. Weiskopf, Walt and Ramon Ricker. The Augmented Scale in Jazz. New Albany, IN: Jamey Aebersold Jazz, INC., 1993. Woods, Phil. Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano, rev. ed. Germany: Advance Music, 1997.