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Book information

ISBN: 978-0-9869968-2-5 

Trim size: A4

Binding: paperback

Page count: 242 pages

Imagery: Scales and diagrams

Cost: R325.00

Genre: Music theory/instruction

Date of publication: September 2012




Learning scales and arpeggios is a vital part of learning music. However, if each time you played a scale or arpeggio with a different set of fingerings, it would take longer to learn, as too much unnecessary information is confusing and time-consuming.

Bassist, composer and educator, Dr Carlo Mombelli, searched for a book on ‘Scales and Arpeggios’ to use as teaching material for his students. Finding many books on the subject, he found that none of them notated the fingerings in a clear and correct format. Most had either too much unnecessary information or little to none at all. So, Carlo wrote a book specially for his students and, on realising the positive effect, he decided to publish it. 

THE SCALES: for the sake of keeping things simple and uncluttered, each page consists of one scale type only, drawn on a bass guitar neck with the correct fingering, a vital part in organising the hands. The harmonic structure of the scale appears on the same page, along with the chord family and other relevant information, such as passing tones, tritons, chord progressions, etc.

 THE THEORY: playing scales and arpeggios, without the knowledge of how to apply them, will remain a purely technical exercise. The bonus of this book is in the Jazz Theory Crash Course, which does not aim to draw students into playing jazz but rather to provide them with a deeper understanding of harmony and the knowledge of how to apply the scales in this book to his/her own music, and music in general. Another bonus is that this jazz section does not use a single music dot on manuscript paper but employs the use of blocks and other diagrams. Mombelli has managed to explain jazz theory by getting to the absolute essence of the language.

This book is of value to those who know how to read music and those who don’t. This system will enable anyone to access the information in the book and even though Dr. Mombelli teaches music at a university, he has created an un-academic, practical and comprehensive work that will make it easy for all to understand the language of music.


Dr Carlo Mombelli

musician, composer, performer, lecturer and author

Carlo has recorded and performed at many festivals around the world including the Rome International Jazz Festival, the Stockholm Jazz Festival, The Paris Banlieues Bleues Jazz festival, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Festival Mundial in Holland — with, among others, Egberto Gismonti, Lee Konitz, Mick Goodrick, Charlie Mariano and the ‘Ethel String Quartet’. Carlo also contributed music and played on the 1989 tribute for Jaco Pastorius, ‘Basstorius’, that also features the bassists Mathew Garrison, Carles Benavent and Dave LaRue.

In South Africa, Carlo has worked with just about every major South African artist and can be heard as a bassist on many South African recordings – including with Tony Cox, Johnny Fourie, Tlale Makhene, Zim Ngqawana, Simphiwe Dana, Sibongile Khumalo and Miriam Makeba.

Besides performing, composing and recording, Carlo has been involved in music education for many years. In 1998 and 1999, he held a teaching post at the Richard-Strauss Conservatoire in Munich, Germany, and in Johannesburg where he resides, he was Composer-In-Residence at Wits University in 2004, where he has since received a doctorate in composition (DMus) in 2009.

In April 2010, he was Composer-in-Residence at the Basel Music Academy Centre for African Studies, Switzerland. In 2006, he was the musical director for the Standard Bank National Youth Band and took that handpicked group of the best of South African young music students on a trip to the Stockholm Conservatory in Sweden.

Carlo holds a teaching post at The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Johannesburg.