When you harmonize a bebop scale, you get a succession of X6 and X° chords with tight voicings, which can be thought of as tiny I and V chord progressions. I've read that musicians with polyphonic instruments use that harmonization to write lines for 4 blowers. How is it done?

UPDATE: I have the drop 2 chords on piano kind of down: I know the stuff for guitar so I'm coping on piano but I still don't see how you're supposed to use the 4 V-I generated by the bebop harmonization. In any given key, they give the same V-I four times with different voicings. In C, It's all C6's and G7b9's for example. I understand from good comments that there is something more to this than just the tight voicings. As one commentator wrote: how do I break this up and make it into a specific technique?

  • This question might be too broad. Also... what's a 4 blower? A horn section? Nov 29, 2017 at 22:04
  • Too broad in what way? I didn't write "a 4 blower" but 4 blowers; I meant 4 trombone, sax or horn players, as you have so rightly guessed.
    – user45784
    Nov 29, 2017 at 22:14
  • @ToddWilcox, I think this is a good, narrow question. There's a specific technique here. I'll try to put together an answer at some point tonight.
    – jdjazz
    Nov 30, 2017 at 0:03
  • @user45784, it can be done with a drop 2 voicing or just with closed voicings. The final result is that each instrument is essentially walking up/down the bebop scale, just beginning on a different starting tone. I'll see if I can put together a complete response with an example later tonight/tomorrow. It's an awesome sound. Great for arranging but also for solo piano. I think of it as a more old-fashioned sound.
    – jdjazz
    Nov 30, 2017 at 0:04

1 Answer 1


These examples aren't particularly hard-core bebop, but they show some voicing methods. Also see if you can find some George Shearing-style arrangements.

enter image description here

  • Nice diagram +1. Since the question is about arranging for 4 horns, it might be worth mentioning how to break this up for arranging purposes, range considerations, etc.
    – jdjazz
    Nov 30, 2017 at 12:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.