Tip: Continuous Scale Exercise

Here’s a scale exercise you might especially helpful if you’re interested in improvisation, especially modal improvisation. This exercise uses three different modes of the major scale (with a couple of chromatic alterations) to create the feeling of a I-iv-V-I progression in Bb minor.

The striking thing about this exercise is the way it communicates the feeling of the underlying chords using only stepwise movement. Hearing the changes is a piece of cake when you play arpeggios, but using scales to hear the changes requires some understanding of how modes work. I hope this exercise helps build that understanding for you.

These are all eighth notes, except for the last note, which is a half note.


Thanks for reading.

Copyright © 2010 Darrin Koltow

This first appeared in the Guitar Noise News – December 1, 2008 newsletter. Reprinted with permission.