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Symmetrical Scales for Jazz Improvisation Plastic Comb – May 2, 2006


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Symmetrical Scales for Jazz Improvisation + Pentatonicism in Jazz: Creative Aspects and Practice + The Complete Thesaurus of Musical Scales
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Product Details

  • Plastic Comb: 42 pages
  • Publisher: Masaya Music (May 2, 2006)
  • ISBN-10: 0967635322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967635323
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.5 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #595,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Masaya Yamaguchi is not only a musician but also a conceptualist who established his own system to explore the imaginative formation of musical scales by The Complete Thesaurus of Musical Scales, which is a meta-contribution to music pedagogy of a high standard. Jazz Education Journal wrote, "Its worth mentioning that this book comprehensively covers all theoretical possibilities in constructing scales July-August 2002." The concept is revealed in many of his writings and compositions. Because of the reference value of his outstanding achievements, Marquis Whos Who has selected his biographical profile for inclusion in Whos Who in America, Whos Who in the World and Who's Who of Emerging Leaders.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
I very highly recommend this book to any jazz learners over the world.
Yin and Yan
It's very good as a reference tool for trying out new ideas - using scales and chords that may have not occurred to you to use.
Kurt H.
I am using it as a reference for writing etudes in his musical language.
Top Liner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kurt H. on April 15, 2009
Format: Plastic Comb
This book is the BEST in the study of symmetrical scales. Only this book lists all the possible symmetrical scales musicians should know. I like it because it's comprehensive (very unlike Slonimsky's book)! It's very good as a reference tool for trying out new ideas - using scales and chords that may have not occurred to you to use. I think his book "The Complete Thesaurus of Musical Scales" can be very frustrating for many users because it's not descriptive - it's not meant to be a how-to, but rather a type of reference book of possibilities. For my interests, Masaya Yamaguchi's "Symmetrical Scales for Jazz Improvisation" often fulfill my need to construct my own lines. I found non-diatonic elements in 3-notes possibilities (marked as Italics in this book) were very useful (see p.21 - 1 b2 2, 1 b3 3, 1 b6 6, 1 3 #5, etc). I agreed that 1 b2 6 phrase (see Ex-9, p.32) is a favorite lick of John Scofield. I heard the licks thousands times!!! Recently I reviewed the author's CD "Crossings" because he employs an augmented scale on his tune "Cybernetics." I just noticed the melody (very catchy) of "Detective X" was made of 1 b2 3 b5 5 b7 (what the author calls "SLT.9" - limited to 6 possibilities of transposition) in the key of C/Gb. As far as I researched, no other book about symmetrical scales lists this scale. It's a great addition to your music library. This is a must-have book in all levels (even rock/fusion/metal musicians). Check it out!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Steve Johnson on May 29, 2009
Format: Plastic Comb
Generally, whole-tone scale and diminished scale are classified as symmetrical scales. The latter is a scale composed of repeating subsets within an octave. This property allows these scales to be transposed to other notes, yet retain exactly the same notes as the original scale.... but this is just a common sense issue. Olivier Messiaen composition system was almost perfect in listing applicable symmetrical scales (FYI, Slonimsky's Thesaurus book was written in a sloppy formatting system - clearly overestimated), but some symmetrical scales were not yet listed.

This book is, to the best of my knowledge, the first of its kind to establish and examine a complete system of all conceivable symmetrical scales in an organized manner.

This book is designed to help musicians create ultra-modern sounding lines and patterns by diminished and whole-tone subset/cell over dominant 7th chords like Coltrane did. By explaining the basics of intervals, scales and subsets the author builds a framework for understanding symmetrical scale patterns. This book will raise the standards of jazz pedagogy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Hill on April 8, 2010
Format: Plastic Comb
I've spent a lot of money on jazz books over the years... and not all of it was well spent ..... Symmetrical Scales for Jazz Improvisation is a fabulous tool for anyone studying Jazz Language! It is explains tensional jazzy phrases in a simple concise form which is much easier to understand than any other jazz textbooks. What I learned from this book is a more "building blocks" approach to jazz language, but it still provides sample phrases for each idea, so you can see how they're done. This book will have you improvising fluent if you should write out and internalize your own patterns.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By j guitar on March 6, 2011
Format: Plastic Comb Verified Purchase
The study of symmetrical scales is very important to enhance improvisational concepts.This book is a very good tool to improve your vocabulary.Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Blazer on October 17, 2009
Format: Plastic Comb
I understood that a symmetric (= symmetrical) scale was a music scale which equally divides the octave. The concept and term appears to have been introduced by Joseph Schillinger and generalized by Nicolas Slonimsky in "Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns". Surprisingly, Yamaguchi's "Symmetrical Scales for Jazz Improvisation" probes deeper into the study of symmetrical scales. Only this book lists every conceivable symmetrical scale in music. I like it because it's comprehensive (compared to Slonimsky's book).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Top Liner on August 9, 2011
Format: Plastic Comb
This publication is intended to be the definitive study of symmetrical scales. I recently read Keyboard (April 2011) article "Messiaen's Modes for Jazz Improvisation," but we should know it was already mentioned in Yamaguchi's book. This book includes Messaien's modes. I am using it as a reference for writing etudes in his musical language. Be sure to check this out!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Davis on April 20, 2009
Format: Plastic Comb
In this book, there were a lot of things that I did not know. I knew diminished and whole tone scales. My music college teacher used to call "whole tone" scale" as "augmented scale." But I found he was wrong (the teacher admitted he was "wrong" after he discovered this book). See p. 14 of this book (Whole Tone scale = 1 2 3 #4 #5 b7, Augmented scale = 1 b3 3 5 b6 7). With the help of this book, you will NEVER confuse the whole tone scale with the augmented scale. In this book, you are being prepared to take on bigger challenges in music, with the knowledge you need to conquer and accomplish whatever the world throws at you. I now have a great knowledge of symmetrical scales.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Selqet on February 27, 2013
Format: Plastic Comb Verified Purchase
So I recommend this to those who enjoy music theory and jazz composition. It's a very interesting way to conceptualize jazz improvisation. As a practice tool, it's not very practical, it's just too complicated to drill on.
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