Tag Archives: jazz

pentatonic possibilities

Pentatonics are 5-note scales. Technically, any ordered sequence of 5 notes can be called a pentatonic. But the most common and widely used pentatonic is without doubt the one obtained by reordering a series of 5 notes stacked on top of each other in fifths (for example, the series “C G D A E” gives us “C D E G A” once reordered). This particular pentatonic comes in its “major” form (C D E G A), and its relative “minor” form (A C D E G).

So, what do I mean by “pentatonic possibilities?” Well, to give a more edgy and intervallic (less diatonic) feel to my lines while improvising over changes, I came to ask myself: what pentatonic scales can I use over these chords? Chords derive from modes, and modes from harmony types, so the question could be rephrased as: what pentatonic scales can be extracted from the various harmony types?

For the purpose of this particular post, I will limit myself to the most common pentatonic scale (the one discussed in the first paragraph), and to major, natural minor, harmonic minor, and melodic minor harmony types. Let’s jump in and have a look at major harmony first. The pentatonics listed in the first and last column of the table shown below are extracted from the key of C major (C D E F G A B). Their “major” forms are listed in the left-hand side of the table along with their relative “minor” forms on the right-hand side, and the roman numerals represent the scale degrees for each pentatonic:

major harmony pentatonic possibilities
C D E G A I Maj. pent. <=> VI min. pent. A C D E G
F G A C D IV Maj. pent. <=> II min. pent. D F G A C
G A B D E V Maj. pent. <=> III min. pent. E G A B D

Natural minor harmony is equivalent to the Aeolian mode. Therefore, the pentatonic possibilities in natural minor are the same as in major harmony (the roman numerals indicating the scale degrees, however, would have to change due to the shift to relative minor).

Now, let’s have a look at melodic minor harmony. It turns out only one pentatonic scale can be extracted from this harmony type. It is shown in the table below in the key of C melodic minor (C D Eb F G A B):

melodic minor harmony pentatonic possibilities
F G A C D IV Maj. pent. <=> II min. pent. D F G A C

Finally, due to its flatted 6th scale degree, there are no common pentatonic possibilities in harmonic minor harmony.

For detailed information about lessons, please visit: http://funnelljazz.eu/lessons/.

Spirit of the Snail video with melting snowball poem

Spirit of the Snail is a syllable-based melting snowball set to music; the poem is about simply staying present and draws upon shamanic snail symbolism…

When one dawdles sweetly and considers how
calm, stillness, and contemplation reveal
the detailed beauty of slow motion,
obviousness resurfaces.
Slowness seems necessary,
in all simplicity.
No one can lock up,
deep in its shell,
the spirit
of the

vegan broccoli salad and Teddy Wilson

Welcome to Jimi’z Café, a place for simple recipe ideas for the hungry, vegan and gluten free jazz musician… And what to listen to while you cook them!

Well actually, a place for all people with taste buds and ears who enjoy healthy food and good music: I’ll make a point of pairing each recipe with some of my favourite jazz for you to discover and enjoy in a multisensorial fashion. :)

So, let’s dive in! Here’s our first one: a tasty vegan broccoli salad accompanied by master pianist Teddy Wilson’s on “Fools Rush In.”

Jimi'z Café - vegan broccoli salad photo © Jim Funnell
Jimi’z Café – vegan broccoli salad
photo © Jim Funnell

Now, ingredients… For the dressing:

  • soy sauce;
  • rice vinegar;
  • olive oil;
  • safflower oil;
  • tahini.

For the salad:

  • broccoli (boiled or steamed for just a few minutes);
  • garlic;
  • linseeds;
  • cilantro.

Oh, and let’s not forget: Teddy’s inimitable swing!