Jazz Etude 14-Melodic Minor Scales: 7/8 Patterns Over 4/4

This is another polymeter study, in which I use a 7-note eighth-note pattern over 4/4 time. This pattern constantly displaces the accent of the line as it moves over the bars. The aim is to get you to feel, hear and understand a “7 over 4” feel:

The melodic pattern is: 1-3-7-6-5-4-3 (C,Eb, B, A, G, F, Eb), which continues from each degree of the scale. As you can see, the accent (by virtue of the pattern) falls at the beginning of each group of 7 in the pattern. So even though the time signature is 4/4, you’re really playing in 7/8 over 4/4. You’ll probably feel the accent naturally, but if you don’t, you might want to really emphasize it. For sure work with the metronome so that you can feel both meters simultaneously. I’ve chosen the melodic minor scale because I like the contour of the scale as it applies to this pattern.

You can, of course, apply this pattern to other scales if you like. This kind of work can really open up your imagination as you improvise over standards, or if you improvise on more open-ended forms. It’s also great for strengthening your sense of time and form. If you find this etude interesting, and would like to delve deeply into polymeter, please consider my eBook, Essential Polymeter Studies In 4/4

7/8 Patterns Over 4/4-Jazz Minor Scales.pdf