Playing the Changes: Bass

A Linear Approach to Improvising

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  • Suggested Retail Price: $19.95
  • Format: Book/CD
  • Pages: 112
  • Dimensions: 9 x 12
  • ISBN: 0-634-02222-9
  • SKU: 50449510
  • Publication Date: February 10, 2006

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Create more expressive solos.

Effective improvisation can add fun and individuality to bass parts. In Playing the Changes: Bass, Paul Del Nero presents a unique improvisation strategy based on ear training and a linear interpretation of note relationships.

In this technique, improvised lines are derived from the harmonic construction of chord progressions. Learn how to choose appropriate notes by listening for the tendencies of pitches within modes and tetrachords – groupings of four notes in a scale. In Playing the Changes: Bass, you’ll explore the possibilities of focused and linear improvisation, and develop your ability to create musically effective melodies with greater freedom and depth of expression.

Comprehensive, step-by-step instruction will guide you as you:

  • Develop an expectation of sound—an intuitive sense for which notes to choose and where your chosen notes will lead the melody.
  • Master the movement of notes over modes and harmonies.
  • Become comfortable improvising over jazz standards such as “Blue Bossa,” “Tune Up,” and “Long Ago and Far Away.”
  • Create your own chord pads to use as you practice recognizing the tendencies of pitches within chord progressions.

Audio includes demonstration and play-along tracks, with additional practice tracks available at the website

“Paul’s book is the work of many years of professional experience and much thought. His approach really helps bass students learn the essentials of improvisation. His method encourages the concurrent development of ear skills with bass techniques, and his use of ‘pads’ (play-along tracks on the CD) is a great help in practicing the ideas. These qualities make Paul’s book unique among bass improvisation methods and a must-have for any serious jazz bassist student.”

—Steve Prosser, Chair, Ear Training Department, Berklee College of Music

“This is an organized and musical approach to learning how to improvise. It also contains a wealth of musical theory. The skill and ability to use a linear approach to standard jazz repertoire is a valuable concept for all bassists.”

—Rich Appleman, Chair, Bass Department, Berklee College of Music

“Playing the Changes works the chords by showing the inner hearing process of the improvising musician, and thus focuses on acquiring the intuitive skills necessary for improvised performance. An outstanding teacher and performer, Paul has captured the concepts of the Berklee Ear Training Department’s curriculum and expressed them in this highly organized presentation. The accompanying CD is an added gem from members of our celebrated faculty to you.”

—Greg Badolato, Assistant VP for International Programs and former Chair of the Ear Training Department at Berklee College of Music


Paul Del Nero

Paul Del Nero has a B.M. from Berklee College of Music, and has a M.M. from New England Conservatory of Music….