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Bebop figure 2

Here’s is a 16th-note bebop phrase that works over a minor 7th chord.

Bebop figure 1

1a permalink

Coming up with variations helps the learning process and keeps things interesting. We’ll start with a couple of rhythmic variations.

This is the same phrase offset by a quarter note.

Bebop figure 1a

I’ve added F dominant 7 as another chord this figure could work against. I hesitated to suggest it for the original phrase as I’m not sure about starting with the 4th on beat 1. I wonder whether the B flat clashes with the 3rd (A natural) in the chord, and works better on a less strong beat. Because the note is so short, maybe it doesn’t matter.

1b permalink

This example extends the first two beats of the original figure into a longer descending sequence. Optional fingerings are given.


1c permalink

This is the same as variation 1b, but missing the first note (B flat), and starting on the second 16th note of the bar.


When I was first learning to play jazz I had a tendancy to start too many phrases on strong beats. When this was pointed out to me by a mentor, I made a conscious effort to start varying where I started my phrases. It helps keep your improvisations rhythmically interesting and less rigid.

1c: Phrygian chord permalink

Here’s the pattern over a Phrygian chord.

1e: diminised 7th chord permalink

And over a diminished 7th chord.

A basic diminished 7th chord comprises four notes stacked in intervals of a minor 3rd. The above lick will work over diminished 7th chords over C, E flat, G flat and A. (Change the value in the Bass dropdown menu to listen.)

As an exercise, transpose the lick up a semitone (which covers D flat, E, G and B flat diminished 7th chords), and a whole tone (covering D, F, A flat and B).