Forward Motion

From Bach to Bebop: A Corrective Approach to Jazz Phrasing

by Hal Galper

A revolutionary breakthrough in jazz education!

  • The core of the book is the crucial role that rhythmic phrasing has in creating an authentic “jazz feeling.” Hal was the pianist with Cannonball Adderley, Phil Woods, John Scofield, Chet Baker and many other jazz greats. A master musician as well as educator.
  • Hal shows how many people don't swing because they are thinking of the “one” as the start of each phrase, instead of the resolution of phrases - an idea that can radically transform people's ability to play jazz correctly!
  • Spiral-bound, 198 pages.

Also complete chapters on:

  • Melody guidetones as the underpinning of successful solos.
  • How to line up the strongest notes of each chord with the strong beats of each measure, another essential idea.
  • Resolving arpeggios so that you create forward motion in your lines.
  • How to correctly use chromatic embellishments to add spice to your solos. And much more!


Some ingenious ideas throughout. Even glancing at this book will generate new ideas for improvisers at any level.”
— Dave Liebman

Musical examples and exercises are geared to alter a student's basic perception of rhythm, melody and harmony. Students are then encouraged to use the book as a starting point for creating their own exercises ...Takes intermediate and advanced improvisers to new heights. And it may very well foreshadow the next generation of jazz methods.”
— Jazz Education Journal

Respected pianist and educator Hal Galper has come up with the 'Unified Field Theory' in Music! It is well-written, conversational and easy to understand, avoiding complex 'textbookese'.”
— Saxophone Journal

I cannot imagine that Forward Motion would not be considered an essential reference tool to any student, teacher, or performer seriously involved with practicing the fine art of jazz improvisation.”
— Todd Coolman

My critical listening skills have gone through the roof! Forward Motion is undoubtedly the best method for understanding jazz, and arguably music in general, that I have ever experienced.”
— Darcy Hepner

The following video, "What is Practicing" shows the depth of Hal's perspective on making music. Enjoy!

Hal Galper is a distinguished jazz pianist, composer, and educator known for his collaborations with jazz greats like Chet Baker, Phil Woods, and the Brecker Brothers. He gained initial fame in the '60s with Baker's quartet and later released his own albums, including 2018's "Cubist." Galper has also taught at academic institutions like the New School of Jazz and Purchase Conservatory. He continues to actively perform and teach, as evidenced by his 2019 release, "The Zone: Live at the Yardbird Suite."