Jump to content

Slonimsky's Book


Recommended Posts

  • Members

So what's the deal with Nicolas Slonimsky's Thesaurus of Scales and Patterns?

(sorry if I got his name or the title wrong, I'm writing it from memory)

 

Coltrane worked from it, Zappa respected (which he didn't have much regard for musical academia) so I've been a playing for 26 years and I wonder what I've missed?

 

Reverend Darrell (AKA Reverend Cheese)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Along those lines - and mind you I've never opened the book, a long time ago in a forgotten music store, I was marveling at the melodic wit of a pianist and he modestly credited the magic to that scale book. And I'm like yeah but how do you know what's what? And he simply answered, your ear takes over.

Years later I have at least the technical understanding to confirm that. Players often complain about same old lick syndrome. Well laziness aside, a significant part of the problem is your fingers don't know any other moves. So, enter this scale book and you can end up with a zillion times the noodle options. Add some musical discipline, and you're at new level.

 

Simple.

 

 

:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

It's basically an idea book, that happens to be also good for sight singing practice (transpose as appropriate) if you're looking for a challenge and have already had some experience sight singing out of material like Ear Training For 20th Century Music by Friedmann. If you read the preface, you'll see that Slonimsky was just trying to help contemporary classical composers by furnishing a book of ready-made phrases for them.

 

Besides Coltrane, other well-known users of this book included Albert Ayler, Eric Dolphy, David Torn, and Herbie Hancock. Torn cited this book while explaining how he developed the ability to hear multiple scales going on at the same time (polytonalism).

 

How useful this book will be to you depends on what you want to do musically. If you just want to play jazz, I don't see how this book will be a timesaver compared to learning solos off recordings, learning tunes, etc. But if you want to work in more Dolphy-ish lines, then maybe this book will be helpful to you. If you go ahead with this book, make sure to read what the author says about divisions of the octave - that might make it easier to relate the material to any Dolphy/Ayler/etc. solos you might be studying.

 

Alternative materials to consider: Bergonzi's Hexatonics book (covers Triad Pairs), George Garzone's Chromatic Triadic Concept DVD set (different approach to triadic based improv for "playing outside").

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Former MI teacher on this book:

 

When I was teaching at MI 15 years ago, I used hear from students all the time;
"Can you show me some synthetic or exotic scales
that nobody has yet to discover?" I usually asked them if they could play all five positions of the major scale and use them to improvise over unrelated modal changes, or If they could improvise using the modes of the melodic minor scale.
Not even one of them could do all of it.

 

:lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

It's just another tool. And if you look at the name mentioned who have touted the book (Coltrane, Buckethead, Zappa, Holdsworth, etc...) none of those players sound like.

 

It's just like any course...you got ten guys learning the same material and when they walk out of that class you have ten different musical interpretations of the same material.

 

You will never find any material that will make you play like anybody else...but you can find TONS of material that will make you a much better player. This book, amongst many others, is one of them.

 

Now, I have not used this book myself but have seen it help a few of my friends improve quite a bit...and just look at the list of people who used it. Looks like a damn good tool to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I have Slonimsky's book aswell. I think the book is good possibly for opening someones ear up to some new sounds and as a guitarist maybe help people look outside of traditional harmony/theory.....but I get bored with the book real fast.

 

To me, that book, instead of drawing from a relation to the major scale or traditional theory.....is almost like looking at lines from a pure number perspective.......base 12, 24, 36 and trying to pullout new sounds.

 

 

The few times I pick up that book.....I usually just get the urge to experiment....put the book down, and go try new things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I got the book because my jazz improv teacher in university kept saying I should. I didn't get it at the time because I couldn't find it for less than $60 in stores. I finally got it when the cheaper softcover version was released.

 

I used it for sight reading/singing practice until I realized my conventional jazz playing/studies still needed work. A LOT of work. I also found that the more I worked with tunes, the more I found passing tones and such (that I used to call "outside" tones) just by increased familiarity with the music. I'll keep the book around though, if only for pure sight-reading practice. One of my music profs taught us that to really challenge our sight-reading skills, we should be with material that is unfamiliar (sight-reading a familiar, and especially memorized piece is no good for practricing the skill) and not too easy to associate with a well-known scale/mode ("I see two sharps, and D gets used a lot - it's D major!").

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...