Bebop Scales

The Bebop scales were used extensively by artists like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, but the name itself is credited to David Baker. Being an eight note scale, one can play a chord tone on all beats in common time, and it allows for long phrasing.

The two most common Bebop scales are the Dominant Bebop Scale and the Major Bebop scale. Less common variants include the Bebop Dorian Scale, the Bebop melodic minor scale, and the Bebop harmonic minor scale.

Bebop dominant scale: an eight note scale based on the Mixolydian mode with an added natural 7th 1 2 3 4 5 6 ♭7 7 or C B Bb A G F E D (C)

Bebop major scale: Based on the Ionian mode, it adds a chromatic passing tone between the 5th and 6th notes. 1 2 3 4 5 ♯5 6 7 or C B A Ab G F E D (C)

Bebop Dorian scale: Based on the Dorian mode, it adds a chromatic passing tone between the 3rd and 4th notes. 1 2 b3 3 4 5 6 b7

Bebop melodic minor scale: Based on the ascending form of the melodic minor scale, it has a chromatic passing tone between the 5th and 6th notes. C D Eb E F G A Bb (C minor Bebop scale)

Bebop harmonic minor scale: Based on the the harmonic minor scale, it has a chromatic passing tone between the 6th and 7th notes. It can be played on all three chords of a minor II-V-I progression.