Nicolas Slonimsky

Slonimsky's 'Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns', is a must have book for the serious musician. It is not a how-to book, but more over a thesaurus of various scales and melodic patterns with references as to some usages.

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I was first introduced to this book by a fellow guitarist, Tim Dehuff, from Connecticut. While I was studying with Tim, the concept of playing outside, (like outside the chord changes - ala Miles Davis) was a topic of high interest. I really found this book to be both a source for building chops, but also a great theory reference tool. It offers a look at new scale ideas, including various contexts and usages of scales that many musicians use today.

At any rate, there are examples of scales used by Chick Corea, to Miles, to Bach and even period music. As I stated earlier, I've heard some folks say that this is not a how-to book, but to a point, I tend to disagree. While this book does not offer exercises and goals to reach, it does provide ear training in a matter of speaking as well as scale and melodic applications. You may not like the sound combination of every example, but it will open your ears to hear new possibilities.

I used it primarily for chop building. I created my own exercises out of some of the scales primarily used by horn players, which pose a degree of difficulty for guitarists. Nonetheless, I had to create new fingerings for some of them, which at the time were foreign to me.

I believe a musician should always be in the mindset of challenging the status quo.  If you can create a new journey every time you write and perform, then you are on the the road to timelessness. Slonimsky's 'Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns' will definitely assist you on your journey.