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Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns (Text) Paperback – December 11, 1975


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Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns (Text) + The Complete Thesaurus of Musical Scales + Symmetrical Scales for Jazz Improvisation
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Product Details

  • Series: Text
  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Schirmer Trade Books; First Edition edition (December 11, 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082561449X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825614491
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.6 x 11.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

For anyone that takes music analysis seriously, this book is a must have.
horowizard
Nicolas Slonimsky's "Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns" is a mind-bending book filled with harmonic morsels for the curious and self-motivated musician.
BJG
If you're a performer striving to shape your own musical expression, this book will be a wonderful tool in your hand.
J. K. Burkhardt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

129 of 137 people found the following review helpful By Eddie Landsberg VINE VOICE on December 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Written primarily for composers of modern (classical) music, the Thesaurus was a relatively obscure text offering a glimpse of a controversial and rarely explored world beyond conventional scales and Western Tonality - - The book began to gain popularity in the Jazz world when it was found that John Coltrane had been dabling in it and suddenly it rose from obscurity. - - If you're thinking of purchasing this book as sort of a "woodshedder's bible" be forewarned... unless you understand the rocket science of chord/scale relationships (etc. etc.) and the concepts behind the scales, you'll probably be wasting your time. At minimum to appreciate this book you need to know more about the scales you already use than that the reason you can play them over a certain change is that Aebersold Volume 6 told you you could. On the other hand, if you can play tunes, changes, and understand how and why tones are chosen and selected, this book may offer some powerful stuff. The important thing to realize is that the material in the book is HIGHLY applicable, however, the book will not tell you how to apply it. Your insight and understanding will be required. So in conclusion, do not be fooled... if you're looking for a "cool" pattern book, or to learn how to improvise in general, or even want to learn how to sound like Trane, this is definitely NOT the book for you. If on the other hand you're already an advanced improviser, can listen to a solo and understand the "concepts" and the process of how tones are selected... and want to experiment with and development further ideas get this book. Check out Amadea's Jazz Improv : How To Play It & How to Teach it for an interesting approach on developing lines... or an interesting book called "Tons of Runs" if you're looking for something more along the lines of interesting patterns to play.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By J. K. Burkhardt on March 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The unassuming cover gives no indication of the "musical" wealth within its stark white pages of black notes on staves. And there is only minimal explanation in purely music terms of the major components of its contents. But for the serious musician, this challenging and comprehensive book of over 1300 scales and melodic patterns will definitely expand your musical vocabulary, no matter what instrument or musical style you play. All the examples are written in standard notation for "C" instruments in both treble and bass clefs (like piano, guitar, bass). Application for "non-C" instruments needs on-the-spot transposition but that shouldn't present too much of an inconvenience. If you're into songwriting, composing or arranging orignal music, this book is a cavernous "idea barrel" that will serve you well when you need some extra inspiration or as a reference to write out that "idea" accurately in the correct harmonic fashion. If you're a performer striving to shape your own musical expression, this book will be a wonderful tool in your hand. According to legend, John Coltrane used Nichols Slonimsky's THESARUS OF SCALES AND MELODIC PATTERNS to practice from during the period that "Kind of Blue" was recorded.(see page 71 of "KIND OF BLUE-The Making Of the Miles Davis Masterpiece" by Ashley Kahn) One note of caution, it offers no suggestion for technical proficiency or fingering in how to play these scales and patterns, you will have to figure that out by yourself. But that will allow you the maximum joy of self-discovery as you portage your way through these pages to your ultimate musicial destination.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By BJG on August 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
Nicolas Slonimsky's "Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns" is a mind-bending book filled with harmonic morsels for the curious and self-motivated musician.

Although this book is usually described as a musical "reference" book, it is much more than just a few hundred pages of specific licks to spew over specific chords. There are plenty of books in print today to buy if that is the type of book you are after. Slonimsky's "Thesaurus," however, is in a totally different vein. The concepts are just as deep, interesting, and fresh today as they were in 1947 when the book was first published. For anyone who has tackled the ins and outs of conventional harmony and wants something more interesting to think about, this is the book.

It is true that Slonimsky does not come right out and say how to specifically apply these concepts and phrases. Instead, he leaves little clues (many of which are in the Introduction) to help guide and provide the reader with a few different options of harmonizations and applications. Quite simply, with the "Thesaurus," you get what you put into it. If you spend time analyzing, applying, and considering the things in this book, it will over time become clear as to what it is all really about. One of the great things about this book is it inspires an individualistic approach; you learn to develop your own way of thinking as you work through it. This makes everyone's appplication of the scales just a bit different from the next person. Two people might approach the same pattern in a totally different way, therefore making the applications constantly evolve and change.

A few things should be said to those who might be thinking of purchasing this book.
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