Nicolas Slonimsky (April 27 [O.S. April 15] 1894 – December 25, 1995), born Nikolai Leonidovich Slonimskiy (Russian: Никола́й Леони́дович Сло́нимский), was a Russian-born American conductor, author, pianist, composer and lexicographer. Best known for his writing and musical reference work, he wrote theThesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns and the Lexicon of Musical Invective, and edited Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians.
Originally released in 1947, the Nicolas SlonimskyThesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns is one of the most prized music books ever published – cherished by such greats as Arnold Schoenberg, Virgil Thomson, John Coltrane, Frank Zappa and Freddie Hubbard for its comprehensive vocabulary of scales and patterns ideal for invigorating compositions and improvisation.
Whether you’re a Jazz guitarist, Metal player, Djent aficionado or interested in extended techniques and advanced music theory regardless of the genre, this is the ideal book for you. Break out of the standard Blues and pentatonic scales with chapters ranging from tri-tone scales covering one octave split into two parts all the way up to Sesquiquinquetone patterns that span eleven octaves in twelve parts!
Nicolas Slonimsky and Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa is one of the most notable guitarist fans of Slonimsky’s original book, who used the immense knowledge and variety of its contents to invigorate his already highly developed approach to the instrument. The legendary Jazz Rock composer-guitarist even met and played with Slonimsky who he greatly admired.
Beyond Slonimsky: Melodic Patterns for Guitar
Thanks to Richard Cochrane
Nicolas Slonimsky's Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns is a legendary book that has influenced musicians as diverse as John Coltrane, Jaco Pastorius, Frank Zappa and Buckethead. Many guitarists (and others) own a copy, but few have got much advantage from it. Even advanced players claim it's difficult to use, dry and dauntingly long. This free, 400-page ebook is designed to help in three distinct ways.
The first is that is gives a completely new account of the theory behind the first twelve chapters of the Thesaurus, the most widely-used and systematic part of the book. This is done in a clean, modern and rigorous way that completely does away with Slonimsky's quirky and offputting terminology and that significantly extends his original idea. Furthermore, it's designed to show you how to understand the resulting patterns from the inside out, enabling you to come up with your own and even do so on the fly, without any prior preparation.
The second is that the resulting patterns -- which are similar, but not identical, to those contained in the Thesaurus are organised by the pitches they contain rather than Slonimsky's theoretically-pleasing but abstract octave divisions. This makes them much easier for most contemporary musicians to apply to real-life situations. To make them even more practical, all examples are presented in traditional notation and tablature, making the book very easy for guitarists to experiment with quickly and easily.
The third is that the book extends the Slonimsky's "recipe" to "non-symmetrical bases", and presents a selection from the almost unlimited possibilities this makes available.
Slonimsky's Thesaurus is one of the most talked-about books in music. Maybe you even have your own copy, gathering dust somewhere. Beyond Slonimsky will encourage you to get it out and start using it in a more practical way than ever before.