Yusef Lateef was one of the great innovative melodic improvisers and composers and in the 80’s, I purchased Yusef Lateef’s book, Repository of Scales and Melodic Patterns. This book holds a wealth of creative material which is valuable to both an improviser and a composer.
In this lesson I’ve created a simple melody derived from one of the scales found inYusef’s book. This Synthetic Scale utilizes the following notes: 1, b9, 9, #9, #11, 5, b13, nat 13, 1. The 9 note scale is symmetrical; the bottom tetra-chord is identical to the upper tetra-chord (a tri-tone away). The scale, in this specific melodic form, can work well over several different chords i.e. the C version of the scale melody (which used the notes C, Db, D, Eb, F#, G, Ab, A) will work over C7, Eb7, F#7, A7 or over C diminished 7, Eb diminished 7, F# diminished 7 and A diminished 7. The the moody itself is written allows for the natural 5th (which results on the diminished chords) to be heard as a passing tone. Both nat 9 and b9 and Both nat 13 and b13 are present as well, which creates some interesting tensions and/or passing tones.
The melody is played around the circle of 4ths starting with concert C7 (which you can practice and hear as Eb7, F#7, A7 or Cdim7, Ebdim7, F#dim7 and Adim7).
“…why, when there are thousands of scales, does everyone sound the same?” ~ Yusef Lateef.
Use the mp3 below to practice to or to sing along with for ear training. Visualize the fingerings on your instrument while you sing:
Yusef Lateef – Snafu from Eastern Sounds: