"The Lick," it is everywhere

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Amazing. Including how much time it must have taken to put that together.

Not surprising. That chord progression is a variant of “two five one” or in music theory notation “ii - V - I” and occurs in practically every jazz head and probably most classical music too.

Jazz musicians are always looking for a “line” where a smooth melody connects through the chords. Jazz musicians are also always copying each other, listening to and learning other musicians’ solos. So this sort of thing tends to get “passed down.” A lot of practicing musicians have probably dedicated time to learning this lick (and many others) in every key, so they can play them without thinking in a gig.


Ah yes. Forté 6-33 - the old Dorian Hexachord represents this pitch class set. Like @ayryq sez, Jazzy.

I’ve been playing jazz sax and flute for nearly 40 years, and never played that lick before. Now it’s always going to be in my head forever.

Thanks, Pesco.


Wouldn’t have thought to apply Forte numbers to a melodic run like that, over three different chords. I’m not sure about the addition of the accent to Forte’s name… my theory teacher always pronounced it “fort.”

Maybe it’s too long since atonal theory but I get the diatonic hexachord 6-32

02357T → T02357 → 024579


You mean he wasn’t Battell Professor of Music at Yalé?

You’re right of course. Apparently I have E-lalia, sharpening them in text and flattening them in pitch. Still, a pitch class set is a pitch class set and 6-32’s actually what I would have expected for a jazz frag, sitting there right between pentatonic and diatonic, all carrying the highest possible fifth distributions for their respective cardinalities. Never was a chap more pleased to be corrected! Ta.


Yes, thanks.

Since reading your reply I’ve been humming that old soccer cheer, “Yalé, yalé yalé yalé…”

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