XII World Saxophone Congress Lecture on the double chromatic scale by Carmine Maresca Nowadays American lecturers usually start any kind of lecture on any kind of subject with a joke. Well, you’ll tell me you’re Italian and I’ll tell you in Italy everyone and everything follows what happen in the States. Besides this silly story you’ll probably enjoy more with my English, so I apologize now and no more. After this, please let me thank twice my late teacher Antonio Balsamo: for trusting me in exploring his idea, I mean the double chromatic scale, without any condition, and for the suggestion he gave me, when I showed him the one hundred and sixteen exercises on the double chromatic scale, to add some studies to make students more satisfied alternating mere technique with musical ideas. So, at the end of the book, I wrote twelve studi capriccio and here I’ll play three of them at the end of the lecture. Now, a brief introduction to reach the heart of the subject. Don’t worry, I won’t tell you the story of my life. During years spent on musical studies, especially for those who dedicate to composing and/or to developing an improvised speech as it happens in jazz, we’ve learnt to recognize notes with different functions that work inside of an exact hierarchy. Let’s keep our speech within traditional music without any reference to serial or atonal language and let’s remember some of them like chord tones, passing tones, approach tones, and so on. In building a musical sentence if we like, we could use just one of these elements but just a bit later everything would be boring. If for example we just examine a major scale we already see chord tones and passing tones. The same major scale can be embellished by using approach tones in a lot of ways. John Coltrane, for example, on almost all albums prior to 1960 uses, chromatic approach from below and a diatonic approach from above. Therefore a simple major scale sounds in this way: (Play) We know surely many other ways to approach single notes, it doesn’t matter if they belong to a scale or not, but as you understand I fix my attention on scales ‘cause lecture is on a kind of scale named double chromatic scale. So, singled out the subject, we can theorize synthetically the double chromatic scale saying that it’s made by superimposition of a generating scale and a generated scale whose notes approach the first chromatically from above and below. Now we have to know how the generating scale is made in order to know which notes we have to approach, in other words we have to know the target notes as they’re called in jazz. Well, these are the notes: C D E F# G# A# (Bb) C The scale is a whole-tone scale. This scale belongs to equalized scales, that’s to say those scales that come out from dividing the octave in a number of intervals acoustically equal as well as the chromatic scale made up of twelve half steps or semitones, and the hyper chromatic scale made up of twenty four quarter tones. Well, to exemplify the double chromatic scale, if we call X and X+WS the first two notes of a generating scale, the first two target notes will be approached in this way: G.ing (1) X (4) (5) X+WS (8) G.ed HS (2) WS (3) HS (6) WS (7). Considering that between X and the next note of the generating scale we can have only a semitone or half step, note 3 and note 6 must be the same note and here we take advantage of another property of equalized scales that make the enharmonics between notes possible. So if X = C, we’ll have: G.ing (1) C (4) (5) D (8) G.ed Cb (2) Db (3)= =Db (6) Eb (7). The symmetry of the generating scale and the imitation of approaching notes make us realize that notes of the generated scale belong to the other possible whole- tone scale whose root is half step below the root of the generating scale. Working always and only with whole and half steps, as well as it happens with simmetric diminished scales, the only mode that comes out from the semitone-tone is the tone-semitone mode. In other words if you prefer generating and generated scales invert their roles. Considering again X = C, we’ll have: G.ing C (1) (2) D (5) (6) E G.ed Db (3) (4) Eb (7). Being sharp but not too much (smile), we realize that working as we said with half and whole steps, if we develop vertically columns of three notes writing down the double chromatic scale we’ll have horizontally the three well known seventh diminished chords. Two considerations to conclude: 1. Playing the double chromatic scale in a range of an octave we’ll play twenty-four notes, and every note is played twice. You can imagine the great benefits for the technique and the obliged choices in finding out the right keys to realize, for example, a perfect legato or something else and so on. 2. From a composition point of view, the chances we have with the enharmonic, typical of the equalized scales, make come out lots of harmonics paths, with all the advantages that’s result in. Thanking you for your patient and your attention, I wish to everyone to make more and more people fall in love to the never ending saxophone’s story.