Month: April 2023

Applying Moveable DO Syllables to Jazz Standards

  1. Introduction
  2. Blues
  3. “Blue Monk”
  4. Charlie Parker’s “Mohawk”
  5. Cherokee
  6. Green Dolphin Street
  7. Moment’s Notice


Alto saxophonist Pascal wrote requesting assistance with assigning movable DO syllables onto several jazz standards.  Before addressing each of these tunes, let’s talk about the reason we use movable DO syllables.

As jazz musicians who play melodies by ear (without charts) and improvise over their changes, we are not concerned with theory for its own sake, as are academicians.  Instead, our primary goals are:

Continue reading “Applying Moveable DO Syllables to Jazz Standards”

Fixed DO Versus Movable DO

Saxophonist Pascal writes:

“I was trained using ‘Fixed DO.’   In other words, if I am playing an E Major scale, I was taught to name the notes ‘MI, FA#, SO#, LA, TI, DO#, RE# MI’.   Your book, “New Ears Resolution,” teaches me to think in terms of ‘Movable DO.’  What is your reason for preferring this method?”

Thank you for bringing this point up, Pascal.  This is an extremely important question you have asked.

Continue reading “Fixed DO Versus Movable DO”

Playing by Ear in Different Keys

Saxophonist Pascal asked an excellent question concerning how to play by ear in different keys:

“Regarding exercises involving arpeggios, inversions, or scales on saxophone:  When using movable DO, should I think of each tonality as if it were C Major?  For example, when I play in E major, do I think, “DO RE MI FA SO LA TI DO”?   Is it as if there were only one Major scale on each starting key?  This is a revelation for me!”

Good question, Pascal.  A major scale has the same specific form, regardless of which note is chosen to be DO.  Here is that form shown as a schematic and on the piano keyboard:

Continue reading “Playing by Ear in Different Keys”