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Using the Neapolitan Major and Neapolitan Major b5 scales when improvising

The two scales mentioned are great to use when improvising in a Major or minor key. For those of you who have the Modal Method book, the tables in Section II explain their origin and potential uses.

The Neapolitan Major (1 b2 b3 4 5 6 7) has the Melodic scale as it's origin while the Neapolitan Major b5 (1 b2 b3 4 b5 6 7) has the Harmonic minor scale as its origin. Believe it or not, the method was used by Bach quite frequently, dipping in and out of the two scales before returning to the standard scales of Major or Harmonic minor.

In G Major, B Neapolitan Major adds the notes of G# and A#, while F# Neapolitan Major b5 adds D# and E#. Mixing the two scales into G Major gives us 11 notes at our disposal, if you are that way inclined. You could also think of it in terms of two nine notes scales. Personally, I prefer to keep them separate and dip in and out.

The resolution back to the scale of G Major is vital, and the altered notes should be replaced by the natural notes as soon as possible, according to one's taste, but usually by the change of the bar or beat.


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