Featured Post


I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Wednesday, December 1, 2021


 My sister-in-law found me this book, a thesaurus of scales and melodic patterns, more than 1,000 combinations. It was apparently a favorite of Coltrane's.  

You can divide the octave into two parts, with a tritone.  Then you can also divide it into six with whole tone scale, or into three or four (anything that divides into twelve) with major or minor thirds. Coltrane changes, for example, are based on dividing the twelve notes into three major thirds, generating three tonal centers that alternate at breakneck speed. The origins of this are in Slonimsky's book.  My music theory nerd brain is about to explode. 

1 comment:

Phaedrus said...

Wow, this is wild! This seems very well worth getting swallowed up by. I found a PDF of the Thesaurus online: https://www.lapetitedistribution.org/archive/Nicolas_Slonimsky.pdf

As a young man I kept 'Patterns for Jazz' (Coker et al.) on my piano always. I am guessing Slonimsky was one of its inspirations, though Patterns was adapted for students with a variety of skill levels. If you don't have it already, you might consider getting it.

Slonimsky edited one of my favourite "bathroom books": "A Lexicon of Musical Invective," which is very funny.