Romance for Harp and Oboe d'Amore – or Harp and Soprano Sax

Repository of Scales
Melodic Patterns


by Yusef Lateef

Musicians in general, aspiring or professional, constantly search for ways to increase their skills in both the performance and creation of music. This is done seemingly, in at least three areas.

One involves learning to play or use one's instrument (including the vocal apparatus) with greater control and speed, or perhaps with better intonation. Kinesthetics is the term I use in describing or teaching concepts involving musical skills which imply a physical relationship to an instrument. This certainly is an important area for a musician's development or skill improvement.

Secondly, musicians often reflect upon the emotional content, meaning, personal convictions, or cultural context within and surrounding the creation or performance of their music. Broadly speaking, much of this reflection has to do with the semantic basis of this art. This too, is an important area in which musicians search for ways to increase and improve their musicality.

A third search, which involves mainly the musical task of composers, arrangers, and improvisers - those musicians who combine their person sounds and/or symbols - is the search for musically acceptable ways to order, analyze or synthesize the melodic, harmonic and other formalizing aspect of music creation. Often the term syntax is associated with this general area of musical growth.

It is in this third area that Dr. Lateef's thesaurus will undoubtedly be recognized for its comprehensiveness, exhaustively, handiness, and practical application to music education, libraries, teaching, etc. I could not imagine any creative musician not availing themselves of the theories, examples, patterns and scales that are both written and inherent within these thesaurus of elements and musical processes as well as one of examples, this extremely comprehensive work takes on even added significance as a educational tool. For example, the notions of alternating, expanding, dividing, disjoining, deriving, formulating, reversing, repeating, superscribing, and appending when applied broadly to hexachords, progressions, polytetrachords, infra-diatonic scales, and so forth, permit, at least conceptually, a lot of possibly fruitful speculation for creating music. In short, Dr. Lateef is offering both content and process in this exciting work.

When the musician who has successfully merged the kinesthetic or physical aspects of performing music with both the semantic and syntactical bases of music the way Yusef Lateef has done professionally through recordings, live performances, composing and teaching and then contributes the results of those mergers in a book form for all musicians to freely use, analyze, create through and build upon, we must call that moment of contribution an historic one.

We must thank Yusef Lateef for sharing a Part of His Search.

Roland Wiggins


"Knowing Yusef Lateef, I can thoroughly recommend anything he puts his hand on. Be sure to check it out."

Sony Rollins

"I have been both inspired and edified by the work of Mr. Lateef over the years, this Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns comes as a welcome and valuable to the burgeoning archive of African American musical literature."

Archie Shepp

"With the current popularity of music methods and various instruction manuals it’s very exciting to have avail this thesaurus from one of the true musical giants."

Jim Walker

"Bro. Yusef is one of the warmest human beings I have had the pleasure of knowing. His creativeity and musical sincerity are exceptional. This thesaurus is a must for all musicians."

Jimmy Heath