Learning Charlie Parker

Exercise - "Ornithology Arpeggio - Circle of Fifths"

The Notes

This exercise is based on the Ornithology Arpeggio lick found in Charlie Parker's Ornithology solo.
A jazz improvisation exercise based on an excerpt from Charlie Parker's Ornithology

Notes about the Notes

Chord traversal exercises can be monotonous at all but the fastest tempos. This is problematic for jazz improvisation students for two reasons. First, it makes for boring practice and a lack of joy for the music. Second, it makes for boring solos that blindly adhere to the chord tones with little regard for melody or the smoothness of stepwise motion. This exercise hopes to allieviate some of those symptoms.

Based on Charlie Parker's "Ornithology Arpeggio," this exercise combines rhythmic variety, harmonic extension, and stepwise resolution to help jazz students understand some of the techniques involved in playing the changes of their solo. The exercise consists of a one-measure pattern that repeats over the Circle of 5ths. It begins with a bebop arpeggio up to the 9th of the Dominant 7 chord and then resolves the 7th of the chord to the third of the target.

Patterns for Jazz

This exercise is based on a pattern of Dominant chords resolving around the Circle of 5ths (well, 4ths to be exact). For more information about how using patterns such as these to improve your solos, take a look at Patterns for Jazz on amazon.com. It provides hundreds of practice examples that can help any aspiring jazz improvisation student from the beginner to the seasoned veteran.