Transcribe Dexter Gordon, Scrapple from the Apple.

One of the things that people tell me they want to get better at is improvisation – one of the best ways to learn is to transcribe the masters.

Dexter Gordon is certainly one of those masters and here is playing Charlie Parker’s, (another incredible ‘master’, if not THE master) ‘Scrapple from the Apple’. This recording is taken from Gordon’s 1963 Blue Note album, Our Man in Paris.

Harmonically, ‘Scrapple from the Apple’ is an exercise in Dominant 7th and Major 7th chords, (there’s a lot more than this, but in terms of what you can take away from it, learning how the masters approach to improvising over Dominant 7th and Major 7ths is the key point!)

Have a listen to the album and then let’s get started.


Scrapple from the Apple Transcription – Lesson 1

Here is lesson one of our ‘Scrapple from the Apple’ transcription project. You can find the clips below and all the clips are available here.
Clip one is the intro, (which is a short minor 3rd phrase repeated) and then, clip two is where the fun starts with the opening lines of the melod

Scrapple from the Apple Transcription – Lesson 2

In this lesson, we are working on clips 3&4 of the project. Clip 3 is almost identical to clip 2, so it shouldn’t take you too long to work out the ending, (which is the only thing that differs from clip 2.) Clip 4 takes us into the bridge of Scrapple from the Apple. The bridge is based on the same middle 8 as ‘Rhythm Changes’ that is a cycle of Dominant 7th chords moving by intervals of a 4th.

Scrapple from the Apple Transcription – Lesson 3

In this lesson, we are dealing with clip 5 which marks the end of the ‘bridge’ section of Scrapple from the Apple. As I have explained before, with Scrapple from the Apple, the bridge section is always improvised by the musician, the ‘head’ being the ‘A’ section is only what one has to play as per Charlie Parker’s composition…

Scrapple from the Apple Transcription – Lesson 4

In lesson four of our Dexter Gordon Scrapple from the Apple transcription we are looking at the opening 8 bars of Dexter’s solo. Whilst many of us when faced with a group of ii V’s might launch into a series of licks or scales; Dexter sticks to one note and then a couple of simple phrases, (incorporating some Digital Patterns).

Scrapple from the Apple Transcription – Lesson 5

We’re nearly at the end of this Scrapple from the Apple transcription project from Dexter Gordon’s classic, Our Man in Paris album. In lesson five, we are going to tackle clips 8 and 9. Clip 8 is quite straightforward as it mostly sits on one note, clip 9 well – it gets a little complicated. 


Dan Forshaw

I'm passionate about creating inspirational experiences through music and other arts. A life changing experience under the influence of the music of John Coltrane lead to study in New York and London. My thesis was on the Theology of John Coltrane as expressed through A Love Supreme. I perform across Europe with various jazz groups and teach through my innovative website, I'm a total Apple Geek, Cricket, Rugby, F1 and Football fan and I'm learning to listen opinions before giving my own!