top of page
  • rbedwell3

Alternative scales I: Neapolitan Major and Melodic over Major

In this series of posts I will be discussing the merits of substituting one or more scales for another when soloing. I am using the tables in section II of the M3 book to find out which scales to use and on which root notes they can be played. NB: I did write a series of posts on Dorian alternatives, here is the link for those who wish to catch up:

I have chosen a simple Major scale based idea, A minor to D7, giving an A Dorian sound, but they work just as well over any other mode of the Major scale. So, I hear you ask, how do I play the Melodic minor scale over a Major scale progression? Well, the key is to know the root note of the scale. In G Major, or any of its modes, the A Melodic is used. Learn all of the positions which are as follows, and I do go through them in the video below:

A Melodic – B Dorian b2 – C Lydian + - D Lydian 7 – E Mixolydian b6 – F# Aeolian b5 – G# Alt

Now, place those modes over the modes from G Major, A Melodic over A Dorian, B Dorian b2 over Phrygian etc.

Next contestant is B Neapolitan Major. Its modes are:

B Neapolitan Major – C Lydian +#6 – D Lydian 7+ - E Lydian minor – F# Major Locrian – G# Alt natural 2 – A# Alt bb3

Again, place these modes over the equivalent modes from G Major, B Neapolitan Major over B Phrygian, C Lydian +#6 over C Lydian etc. Now, both scales are easy to use, entry level stuff really, just dip in and out. I like to play a modal position from the Major scale and then play the Melodic equivalent followed by the Neapolitan Major equivalent too, ascending one, descending the other. You know the drill.

Once you get the hang of that, you can use the tables in the book to add more of the same scales but on different root notes or completely different scales into your box of tricks for playing over music from the Major scale, which let’s face it, is pretty much 95% of music.

To give you an idea, in the video at the end I am playing just two scales over the Dorian progression, Melodic and Neapolitan Major but I am playing Melodic on A, Ab, Eb and Bb and Neapolitan Major on B, A and F. I must own up though, and admit that I do use a Phlegmatic minor lick in there too. I hope you agree with me in that it gives the sense of urgency in the playing, as the constant movement of the scales is driving the music forward.

So, instead of using many odd altered scales, which is a great sound, you can use just a few but on multiple root notes for a great sound too. Whatever the sound is you are going for, there are many options.

Enjoy, and do be afraid of more exotic scales, they can be best of friends with your other scales. My book M3 explains all in more detail

0 views0 comments


bottom of page