The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes – Part 14 Not-peggios – Melodic Minor Version

Hey everyone,

As promised, here’s a follow-up lesson that takes the approach I explored in Part 13 and applies it to the Melodic Minor scale.

I’ll use C Melodic Minor in this case – but this idea will work on any root.

Chords

Before we get too far into the lick side of this let’s look at the chords to see what we can play this over.

Here are the diatonic triads and 7th chords.

 

Try playing any of the following C Melodic Minor shapes over any of these chords..

Some Melodic Minor Notes:

  • Melodic Minor is an old scale.  Originally it was played as melodic minor when ascending but natural minor when descending.  Not a whole lot of people perform it that way in Jazz circles but mixing and matching the two can have some interesting sounds (i.e. it’s something you should consider experimenting with if this area interests you and you haven’t already).
  • Melodic Minor is a Dominant machine.  If you check out the harmonization above you’ll see that Melodic Minor has two 7th chords in it’s harmonization.  As Jazz standards use a LOT of dominant devices – this is a scale you’ll want to investigate if you have an even remote interest in Jazz.
  • Melodic Minor is a weird sound.  Yes it is.  The I chord is a minor (maj7) chord and that whole b3 mixed with the natural 6th and 7th makes for some interesting moments.  The only metal guy I knew who was really into that sound was David Chastain and he was doing instrumental stuff that didn’t really sound like anyone else. (Hint – this is worth exploring if you’re a rock or metal guy)
  • Hip trick alert:  since the ii chord is a minor chord -try playing C Melodic Minor lines over Bb Minor as well!

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Now let’s talk about visualizing the scale.

“You take the good you take the bad – you flat the third and there you have…”

Melodic Minor

I’ve talked about my approach to Melodic Minor briefly in part 9 of this series – but as a brief review:

Major Scale/Modal Visualization Review

  • The guitar fingerboard can be divided into 3 sets of two strings. Any 2-string fingering pattern that starts on the B string can be moved to the same starting pitch on the D or the low E string and keep the same fingering.
  • The major scale can be broken down into seven two-string modes that follow a specific order based on its scale degree from the parent scale (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian). The two-string patterns are modular and can be adapted to positional playing.
  • Instead of thinking of individual modes when playing,  I tend to think of larger tonal systems (i.e. I think of C Major all over the fingerboard instead of D Dorian or A Aeolian.)
  • By thinking of the fingerboard in a larger scale – it makes it easier for me to navigate Melodic and Harmonic Minor as – solely from a fingering/sonic visualization standpoint – I just see it as variations of the Major scale patterns.

To visualize Melodic Minor patterns – simply flat the 3rd of the Parent Major scale. (i.e. to visualize C Melodic Minor just play C major but change every E  to Eb).

It’s important to note that all of the fingering conventions mentioned here are solely to assist with visualization as Melodic and Harmonic Minor really aren’t directly related to the Major scale sonically.

Here’s C Major

Here’s the audio.

Note:

In all the audio examples, I’ve played the example first as sextuplets – then at a slower tempo (i.e. 16ths) – then as sextuplets again.

Here’s C Melodic Minor

(the only difference is that the E has been changed to Eb)

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Melodic Minor short cuts:

Using the Parent Major patterns above here’s a list of short cut’s to help you visualize the patterns.

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Note: in the F Lydian shape – there’s no change from the major shape since there’s no Eb in the 2-string pattern.

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Not-Peggios

Now let’s take this not-peggio idea from the last lesson and apply it to C melodic minor starting from G.

In each of the following I’ll show the 2-string pattern followed by the 4-note “notpeggio” extraction from that fingering and then show the multi octave form.

Note:  The extraction always starts from the second note of the 6-note pattern – so while the first example is extracted from the F Lydian fingering – it’s viewed as a G based pattern.

From G

G based pattern

Note: this G pattern is the same as the C major G shape.

From A

A based pattern

Note: this is a new shape from the Major patterns. The R-b3-4th-b5 shape may remind you of the A blues scale.

From B

B based pattern

Note: this is also a new shape from the Major patterns. The R-b3-b4th-b5 shape is something you may want to explore over diminished chords.

From C

C based pattern

Note: this C pattern shape is the same as the A minor form from C major.

From D

D based pattern

Note: this D pattern shape is also the same as the A minor form from C major.  This shape and the C minor shape above on their own really won’t give you much of the Melodic Minor flavor on their own – but alternating between the two of them will.  More on that in a future lesson.

From Eb

Eb based pattern

Note: this is a new shape from the Major patterns. The Eb Maj7 (#5) based pattern has been deconstructed into almost a whole-tone idea.  This is one of my favorite “outside” sounds in this scale.

From F

F based pattern

Finally,  this F pattern shape is the same as the F Lydian form from C major.

Here’s an audio sample of the 3/4 measures in ascending order from G

Next TIme?

In the next lesson I’ll look at applying this to Harmonic Minor and then I’ll look at working through these ideas positionally (Spoiler Alert – this is where this approach gets really cool!!).
As always, focus on the 3 T’s (Timing, Tone and hand Tension) when playing through these and make sure to have the timing locked in as you increase the metronome speed.  This approach is just a short cut to getting the patterns under your fingers.  By practicing them slowly and increasing the performance tempo gradually, you’re also getting the sound of them in your head – which is critical if they’re something you want to integrate in your playing!
As always, I hope this helps and thanks for reading!
– SC
PS – One plug here.  If you like this idea – I go MUCH deeper into similar concepts in my Guide to Chord Scales book – which covers every unique melodic combination from 3 notes to 12-note scales!!
Print editions of this book are available  on lulu.com or on Amazon (amazon.comamazon.co.uk, or amazon.fr).
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GuitArchitect’s Guide to Modes Part 10 – Getting into Modal Arpeggios – Triads

Hello everyone!!

I’ll be delving into individual modes in more depth in the coming weeks and months ahead but as a preliminary step, I wanted to get into modal arpeggios a bit as they’ll be important components in future lessons.

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Scales = Chords

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Since chords and scales are made up of the building blocks (notes), they are essentially 2 sides of the same coin.

For example, let’s look at an ascending C major scale on the B and E strings:

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If we remove every other note of the first for notes we can see arpeggiated versions of the triads associated with those modes.

While 2-string arpeggios are often neglected by guitarists, they are certainly worth investigating for helping with visualization.

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2-String Triadic Visualization

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The major scale is made up of three types of triads:  major, minor and diminished. Played as unique notes, any triad has three typical voicings:

  • Root position with the root as the bass note: (i.e. Root, 3rd, 5th)
  • 1st inversion with the 3rd as the bass note: (i.e. 3rd, 5th, Root)
  • 2nd inversion with the 5th as the bass note: (i.e. 5th, Root, 3rd)

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Here are some sample fingerings of each of the chord types played as 2-string arpeggios in each inversion:

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2-string Major Scale Triads

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Now I’ll apply each of these arpeggio shapes to the C major scale starting with the root position.

As a reminder here are the triads of the C major scale.

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Since the fingerings are on 2-strings, they’ll be the same on the E/A, D/G and B/e strings.

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Here are the arpeggios in 1st inversion.  Again, since the fingerings are on 2-strings, they’ll be the same on the E/A and B/e strings as well.

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C major scale triads in 1st inversion ascending by scale degree

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And finally, here are the arpeggios in 2nd inversion.

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Putting it together positionally

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At the top of the page, I showed how I extracted arpeggios from ascending 2 string patterns.  This same process can be applied positionally.  For example, here’s a 3-note per string C major scale played  in 8th position.

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Now I’ll apply each of these arpeggio shapes to the C major scale starting with the root position. To create a modal arpeggio, simply remove every other note.  Doing so with this scale creates a C Ionian modal arpeggio.

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Modal arpeggios are sonically cool because they convey the full sound of the mode but break it out of a scalar pattern.

Modal arpeggios are cool in this method, because if you can visualize a scale then making the arpeggio is relatively easy.

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The trouble with Ionian

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The “problem” with the Ionian mode in general is that the natural 4th is an avoid tone over major 7th chords with the same root.  (i.e. C Ionian played over C maj7).  For this reason, I generally avoid Ionian as a mode and instead focus on the major scale for visualization purposes.  

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With that in mind, here ‘s another approach for using this arpeggio.

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I really dig playing this particular arpeggio over D minor – to create a D Dorian type of sound. In the example below, I’ve used the C and the E pitches on the low E string to encircle the D (one note above and one below) to help emphasize the D minor 13 sound of the arpeggio and end it on the 9th.

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The final visualization trick

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If we look at the positional arpeggio again:

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Take a close look at the positional modal arpeggio!  If you look at it as a group of 3-note shapes you’ll see that it’s actually made of of 3 triadic arpeggios: C Major, B diminished and A minor.  

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C Ionian = C maj + B dim + A min

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Going back to the 2-string scalar observation in part 3 of this post, as the pitches ascend, the related arpeggios descend.  This is true of any of the modal arpeggios – so it might be a cool way for you to visualize it! Try it with your own arpeggio forms!

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In the next post, I’ll go through 7th chord arpeggios.  In the meantime, try practicing the 2-string arpeggios over all of the chords of the C major scale:

  • C maj 7
  • D min 7
  • E min 7
  • F maj 7
  • G7
  • A min 7
  • B min7 b5

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and then over whatever other tonal centers inspire youI hope this helps!  As always, thanks for reading!

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-SC

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PS  – if you like this post, you may also like:

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Books:

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Lessons

The Modal Microscope And A Sequenced Arpeggio Approach

Hello everyone!

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I’ve been cleaning up a lot of the text for the GuitArchitecture book releases and wanted to post a lesson that uses some ideas and approaches from my Melodic Patterns book (available here).  But first, I need to talk about…

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The Modal Microscope

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When I explain using modes to students – I typically use the analogy of a microscope to discuss viewing modes conceptually on multiple levels.

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Let’s say I want to solo over a D min7 chord.  So I’ll put that “under the microscope”.

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On the 2x setting, I see that a number of minor modes will work over D min7.  In this case,  I’ll choose Dorian.

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Going to the 4x setting on the microscope, I see that Dorian is made up of a series of interlocking 2-string patterns.

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Note: 

If you’re unfamiliar with the 2-string approach I’m discussing I definitely recommend that you check out part 2, part 3a or part 3b of my guide to modes posts.

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If I go to the 8x setting, I can break the 2-string patterns down into 1 string shapes and going to a higher resolution (16x) I can see those shapes as individual notes.  At the 16x setting – maybe I’m looking at the individual notes of D min7 (D, F, A and C) and thinking about accenting those notes in my playing.

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If I now go out to the 1x setting – I see that D Dorian is just a subset of C major.  The thing is if you go playing a bunch of C major scales over D dorian and don’t resolve anything (or focus on the chord tones) – you’re missing a big piece of the puzzle.

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It’s good to understand modes on multiple levels but if you see how all of the related modes interlock with each other, then (using the microscope analogy), you can deal with using modes with chords on the 1x or 2x level but use information from the higher levels in your playing.

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Putting this to use:

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I’ve posted a number of technical things here and decided to use a much lower gain approach than normal and slow things down a bit.  The same practice points as before (Tone, Tension and Timing) apply – but this exercise is all about how to find variations in small things.  (If you like the technical things don’t worry I’ve included some deceptively tricky variations as well!)

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Let’s take a 2-string G Major shape.

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The nice things about 2-string patterns like this is that the fingering repeats at each octave.  (So you only need to remember one fingering for a multi octave run).

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One process I explore in my Melodic Patterns book is systematically breaking down patterns to get new sounds out of them.  In this case, I’m going to remove the 2nd and 4th note from the pattern which leaves me with this shape:

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Looking closely at the notes reveals that I have a G, B, C and E which is a C maj7 arpeggio. By limiting it to a  2-string shape,  I can move it in octaves and the fingering stays the same.

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Note:

The drums are the same pattern I’ve used on my other posts, so you can play against it for any other the things I post here (more info below).

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.(I’ve added a C maj7 chord in front of this to give a sense of tonality.)

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Going to a higher resolution

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I know that G parent major also contains A Dorian – which works well over A minor chords.  So playing this shape over A minor the notes – now become: b7 (G), 9 (B), b3 (C) and 5th (E).  Which has a cool sound associated with it.  (I’ve subbed out A min7 for C maj 7 here for the opening chord).

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Sequencing the ideas:

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However cool any scale or arpeggio is, playing it in a linear up and down manner will only get you so far.  By playing groups of notes in short sequences, the arpeggio gains a little melodic drive.

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In this first variation I’ll play groups of 3 (So I’m playing 3 ascending notes from each note of the arpeggio).  One way to immediately make this more interesting is to break the 3 note grouping out of the triplet rhythm.  Playing the same pattern in 16ths – displaces the first note of each pattern across different beats.

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Here’s the same idea descending: (This is another case where the microscope idea comes into play.  The A note ending the phrase isn’t part of the 4 note arpeggio – but gives the descending line a sense of resolution.  Since I’m seeing and hearing the phrase as an A minor tonality – I’m resolving it to the tonic (A),  third (C) or 5th (E).

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For a little variety –  I’ve taken the same idea but played it as sextuplets instead.  I’ve notated the first bar of it (as the notes are the same as the patterns above) – but I play it ascending and descending on the mp3 below.

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5 alive

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To get a little more mileage out of this arpeggio, I’m going to play the notes in groups of 5.  Here it is in a 1/16 note rhythm (I’ve left off the last 2 notes to keep it on one line).

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Technical note:

Watch the position skip on the A/D and the B/ G strings!!

Here it is as septuplets (5 notes to the beat).

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Changing the note order

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You may have noticed that all of these arpeggios use a linear note order in the sequence.  So if G is the first note of the 1st pattern and B is the 2nd note – every pattern moves in straight ascending or descending order.

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3 Note Pattern: G, B, C/B, C, E/C, E, G

in note order = 1,2, 3/2, 3, 4/ 3, 4, 1 etc.

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But what if we varied up the note order?  In this example, I’m going to take play groups of 3 descending notes on each ascending note of the arpeggio. (So instead of playing note numbers 1,2 3  – I’m playing 3-2-1).

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Here it is descending:

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Displacing the rhythm by a 1/16 makes it cooler.

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And again, descending:

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Obligatory Plug

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I’m only scratching the surface of what’s possible here.  The big takeway here is – if you really go deep on even something small – you can probably find interesting things that will work in your playing.

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I would also be remiss in not mentioning that my melodic patterns book shows every possible unique combination of notes (and rests) in 1 – 6 note shapes and then shows how to combine them into longer sequences (up to 9 note patterns).  It is a deep resource that can open all manner of melodic and compositional doors (and makes a great gift as well!) ; )

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Tones

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I went with another tonal variation here and tried some of the lower gain settings on the Scuffham amp AU.  It’s a cool product and I should have a review up soon.  In the meantime – he’s a screenshot of the laptop set up I used to track this:

Click to see full size

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I‘ve mentioned this in the laptop guitar posts – but the varispeed is a useful plug-in!  When I get bored with a metronome sound – I’ll throw a drum loop into the AU fileplayer and then use the varispeed to control the speed of the loop.

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As always, I hope this helps!

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-SC

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If you like this post, you may also like:

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Books:

LESSONS

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Slash and Burn – Creating More Complex Sounds With Slash Chords

The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Modes Part 8 – Major Positional Modal Interchange and Complimenting Modes with Chords

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 7 – MINOR POSITIONAL MODAL INTERCHANGE AND COMPLIMENTING MODES WITH CHORDS

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THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 6 – THE CIRCLE OF 5THS AND MODAL INTERCHANGE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 5 – MAKING THE MOST OF ONE PATTERN

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes Part 4 – Modes and Chords

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THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 3B – SEEING THE SIX-STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 3A – SEEING THE SIX-STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 2 – SEEING THE TWO STRING MAJOR SCALE

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The GuitArchitecture Guide To Modes Part 1 – Seeing The Single String Major Scale

Making Music Out Of Scales

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Chords/Triads/Superimposition/Arpeggios:

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 3

Getting Hipness From A Major Triad Or More Chord Recycling Part 2

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 1

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Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 3

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 2

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 1

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RECYCLING CHORDS PART II: TRIAD TRANSFORMATION

RECYCLING CHORDS PART I OR WHERE’S THE ROOT?

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FAVORED CURRY OR SPICING UP CHORD SCALES AND TRIADS PART 2

FAVORED CURRY OR SPICING UP CHORD SCALES AND TRIADS PART 1

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RECYCLING SHAPES OR MODULAR ARPEGGIOS FOR FUN AND PROFIT

GLASS NOODLES – ADAPTING A PHILIP GLASS ARPEGGIO APPROACH TO GUITAR

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Practicing:

MELVILLE, MADNESS AND PRACTICING – OR FINDING THE DEEPER LESSON PART 2

Some Useful Online Practice Tools

POSSESSION IS 9/10S OF THE LAW BUT PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING OR PRACTICING PART VII

TESTING YOUR VOCABULARY OR PRACTICING PART VI

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PLAY OR PRACTICING PART V

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DEFINITIONS AND DOCUMENTS OR PRACTICING PART IV

TENSION AND THE SODA CAN OR PRACTICING PART III

PROPER POSTURE IS REQUIRED FOR PROPER PERFORMANCE – PRACTICING PART II

PRACTICE MAKES BETTER AKA PRACTICING PART I

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Slash and Burn – Creating More Complex Sounds With Slash Chords

Hello all,

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I wanted to take a break from the excerpts from the modes book I’ve been posting and post a lesson that’s based on material from my new Harmonic Combinatorics Book.  In that book, I have an entire section about using triads and 7th chords to create more complex sounds.

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Here’s the two sentence synopsis:

  • Playing a minor chord (or arpeggio) a 1/2 step below a major triad implies a Lydian sound by giving you upper chord tensions (7, 9, #11) of that major chord. (i.e. B minor/C).
  • Playing a minor chord (or arpeggio) a step above a minor triad implies a Dorian sound by giving you the upper chord tensions (9, 11, 13) of the minor chord. (i.e. playing B minor over A minor).

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Seeing (and making sense of ) the bigger picture:

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When beginning players see a 3rd position C major chord they see something like this:

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But an experienced player sees something more like this:

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One of the secrets to seeing more of the fretboard is to see chord tones relationally.  I’ll show you how to do that by applying some of the approaches from a previous Triad Transformation lesson:

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Taking a C major chord:

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C Major Triad

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(here’s a reference chord):

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Lowering the root a 1/2 step gives you a major 7 chord:

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C Major 7

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C Major 7:

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Lowering the 3rd a 1/2 step gives you a 9th.  Since there’s no other 3rd in the chord – this becomes a slash chord of G Major over C (written G/C).  It has a lot of the sound of a major 9th chord – but because it’s missing the 3rd it really only implies the tonality.

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G / C

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G/C:

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If you want this to sound like a Major 9th, we’ll need to add a 3rd in as well.

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C Major 9

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C Maj 9

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Lowering the 5th a 1/2 step gives us the #4 (aka the # 11).  Here I’ve kept the 3rd to make it a Major 9 (#11) chord.

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C Major 9 (#11)

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C Maj 9 (#11)

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Notice that if we lower the root  a 1/2 step – we have a B minor triad:

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B Minor

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So, as a short cut,  playing a B minor over C we imply the sound of a C major  9 (#11) chord without having to memorize a separate voicing.

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Melodic Application

This extends into lead playing as well.  Rather than just playing a C major arpeggio over a C chord, here I’ve replaced the bottom note of a B minor arpeggio with a C and resolved it to C:

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B min / C  or C Lydian Lick

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C Lydian lick (louder than the chord mp3s- FYI):

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Here’s another chord voicing of B minor/C:

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B minor / C

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When I see voicings that use the middle notes of the 7th fret,  I generally try to think of ways to incorporate harmonics into it.  In this example, I’ve added harmonics in to fill out a B minor arpeggio with some encircling to resolve it to C. I forgot the fermata on the first chord – but you’ll figure it out when you hear the mp3.

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B min / C aka C Lydian Lick 2

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C Lydian Lick 2:

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Now we’ll take this in a different direction:  playing B minor over A minor implies a cool A minor 13 sound.  I’ve added an A to lick #1, and a semi-chromatic run that skips the 3rd and makes it a more open sound.

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B min / A min – A Dorian Lick

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B min/A Dorian Lick:

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I’ve resolved the lines to the root notes of the chords I’m playing over – but you may want to stay on a tension depending on the context.

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With any approach like this – always use your ears as a guide for what sounds good and what doesn’t.

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The Quiz:

Did you notice anything about the C major voicings?  Using a B minor triad doesn’t take it to the 13th.

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In any chord tone voicing, raising the 5th a step gives you the 6th (if no 7th is in the chord) or  (in this case) the 13th  So using our initial voicings, the easiest way to bring in the 13th is to raise the G on the high E string to A.

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B min 7 / C Implying C maj 13 (#11)

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Looking at at a little deeper,

if we fully spell out this chord:

  • C (root)
  • E (3rd)
  • G (5th)
  • B (7th)
  • D (9th)
  • F# (#11) and
  • A (13)

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the top 3 notes form a D major chord.  As a modified rule for playing over a major chord:

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  • Playing a minor chord (or arpeggio) a 1/2 step below a major triad implies a Lydian sound by giving you upper chord tensions (7, 9 and #11) of that major chord. (i.e. B minor/C).
  • Playing a major chord (or arpeggio) a step above a major triad also implies a Lydian sound by giving you the upper chord tensions (9, #11 and 13) of the minor chord. (i.e. playing D/C).

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As with any material here, pay attention to the 3 T’s (Timing, (hand) Tension and Tone) and just go through the lesson at your own pace and return to it as you need to.

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I hope this helps and as always, thanks for reading!

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-SC

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P.S. If you like this post – you may also like:

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MAKING MUSIC OUT OF SCALES

SOME USEFUL ONLINE PRACTICE TOOLS

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GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 3

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 2

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 1

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GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 3

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 2

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 1

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RECYCLING CHORDS PART II: TRIAD TRANSFORMATION

RECYCLING CHORDS PART I OR WHERE’S THE ROOT?

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FAVORED CURRY OR SPICING UP CHORD SCALES AND TRIADS PART 2

FAVORED CURRY OR SPICING UP CHORD SCALES AND TRIADS PART 1

A BRIEF THOUGHT ABOUT MUSIC THEORY

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The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Modes Part 8 – Major Positional Modal Interchange and Complimenting Modes with Chords

Welcome to the part eight of the GuitArcitecture Mode Visualization lesson series.

If you see anything unfamiliar here, you may want to check out:

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In the last lesson, I took a look at adapting minor chords to modes and modal interchange.  In this lesson – I’m going to apply the same process to major chords.

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Note:

I’ve outlined this process thoroughly in part 7, so if you have questions – just check the instructions there.

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One Chord Modal Interchange Exercise – Major

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 Of the parent major scale modes I’ve been covering – there are 3 that can be used over an A major chord:

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  • A Lydian (E major):

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A Lydian – Click to enlarge

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  • A Ionian (A Major):

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A Ionian – Click to enlarge

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  • A Mixolydian (D major):

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A Mixolydian – Click to enlarge

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Here’s the major-based chord progression:

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Repeat each bar 2-4 times ** Click to enlarge**

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Here are the steps (repeated from Part 7):

  • Record or loop the pattern in time 
  • Playing over the loop practice switching modes each bar.  I’ve outlined the fingerings above (see earlier posts in the series if you want to see how I derived them) with a sample rhythm.  As an initial step – just practice ascending and descending the patterns in a scalar fashion.
  • As the level of familiarity with the modal interchanges increases, try removing the repeats and increasing the tempo (thus increasing the difficulty level).

.

Note:

Make sure you don’t start every bar with the low A root!

The goal of this is to be able to switch between modes “mid-stream”.   As a first step, when playing these ascending and descending make sure that wherever you are in the pattern ascending or descending that you transition into the next mode smoothly.  The initial goal here isn’t speed – it’s fluidity and being in control of switching between modes.

(See the melodic note below for some other tips once you get comfortable with the transition).

.

Now let’s examine each chord (and mode) individually:

.

  • First measure: A Major

..

A Major – Play A Lydian, A Ionian or A Mixolydian – Click to enlarge

.

The modes could be played over this chord are:

.

A Lydian (recommended), A Ionian (be careful of the 4th) and A Mixolydian

.

  • Measure 2: A Major 7

.

Lowering the root to G# creates an A major 7 chord – which works with either A Lydian or A Ionian.

.

A Major 7 – Play A Lydian or A Ionian – Click to enlarge

.

  • Measure 3:  Lowering the G# to G produces an A7 – stick with A Mixolydian for this one.

.

A7 – Play A Mixolydian – Click to enlarge

.

  • Measure 4:  I’m going to start the process of chromatically ascending certain pitches rather than descending.  So I’ll go back to A Major here.

.

  • Measure 5:  Raising the 3rd (C#) a 1/2 step to D produces an Asus4 chord.  The #4 in Lydian will clash with the natural 4th – so go with Ionian or Mixolydian for this one.

.

A sus4 – Play A Ionian or A Mixolydian – Click to enlarge

.

  • Measure 6: Raising the 4th another 1/2 step results in an A major (add #11) – a chord firmly in the domain of A Lydian.

.

A Major (add #11) – Play A Lydian – Click to enlarge

.

The chord progression then goes back to A major where any of the 3 modes could be used.

.

Notes:

.

  • Harmonic – If you’re playing with another musician try taking this one chord vamp idea and using your ear to change the chord when the soloist changes modes.  You can make other chordal alterations as well creating melodic movement in the voicing –  is a great approach to use both in comping on a single chord as well as creating melodic movement between 2 chords (more on that in another lesson).

.

  • Melodic – As the soloist in this approach – try to change modes then the rhythm player changes chords.  As soon as you get comfortable with the shapes – try making melodies and taking them through each modal change.  (See part 5  for an example of that process with one modal shape).

.

The nice thing about playing with human beings (rather than sequences) is that people can introduce random factors into playing.  A person can make all kinds of melodic or harmonic decisions that require the other person to change and adapt.  It develops a dialog and allows people to become more attune to playing with other people (and ultimately more musical).

.

The next lesson will cover a go a little deeper into modal chord progressions and offer some new challenges.  As before, just go through the lesson at your own pace and return to it as you need to.  Also please feel free to post any questions you might have (or pm me at guitar.blueprint@gmail.com).

.

I hope this helps and as always, thanks for reading!

.

-SC

.

P.S. If you like this post – you may also like:

.

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 7 – MINOR POSITIONAL MODAL INTERCHANGE AND COMPLIMENTING MODES WITH CHORDS

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 6 – THE CIRCLE OF 5THS AND MODAL INTERCHANGE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 5 – MAKING THE MOST OF ONE PATTERN

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 4 – MODES AND CHORDS

.

Making Music Out Of Scales

A BRIEF THOUGHT ABOUT MUSIC THEORY

.

PRACTICE MAKES BETTER AKA PRACTICING PART I

PROPER POSTURE IS REQUIRED FOR PROPER PERFORMANCE – PRACTICING PART II

TENSION AND THE SODA CAN OR PRACTICING PART III

DEFINITIONS AND DOCUMENTS OR PRACTICING PART IV

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PLAY OR PRACTICING PART V

TESTING YOUR VOCABULARY OR PRACTICING PART VI

POSSESSION IS 9/10S OF THE LAW BUT PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING OR PRACTICING PART VII

SOME USEFUL ONLINE PRACTICE TOOLS

.

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 3

Getting Hipness From A Major Triad Or More Chord Recycling Part 2

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 1

.

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 3

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 2

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 1

.

WARMING UP: FINGER EXERCISES, THE 3 T’S AND THE NECESSITY OF MISTAKES

.

The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Modes Part 7 – Minor Positional Modal Interchange and Complimenting Modes with Chords

Welcome to the seventh installment of the GuitArcitecture Mode Visualization lesson series.

If you see anything unfamiliar here, you may want to check out:

.

.

In the last lesson, I took a look at the modes and the circle of 5ths.  In this lesson, I’m going to:

.

  • show how to modify a minor chord to cover minor modal interchanges and
  • show how to switch modal patterns in position

.

Complimenting Modes with Chords

.

A lot of print has been used to describe how modes fit with chords but substantially less has been written about modifying chords to fit various modes. I’ve developed this approach as an introductory way to work on modal interchange it does three things:

  • Limits harmonic content to simplify the modal interchange process
  • show a way to modify chords to work with modes and
  • develops the skill set for changing modes in position.

.

(All useful skills to have – btw).  Since I’ve been dealing with C major – I’m going to look at A minor (the relative minor chord) first.

.

One Chord Modal Interchange Exercise – Minor

.

Before we get into the exercise, let’s make sure we’re clear about the modes we’ll be using.  Of the parent major scale modes I’ve covered – there are 3 that can be used over an A minor chord:

.

  • A Dorian (G major):

.

Click to enlarge

.

  • A Aeolian (C major):

.

Click to enlarge

.

  • A Phrygian (F major):

.

Click to enlarge

.

Here’s the accompaniment pattern:

..

Repeat each bar 2-4 times ** Click to enlarge**

.

Here are the steps:

  • Record or loop the pattern in time 
  • Playing over the loop practice switching modes each bar.  I’ve outlined the fingerings above (see earlier posts in the series if you want to see how I derived them) with a sample rhythm.  As an initial step – just practice ascending and descending the patterns in a scalar fashion.
  • As the level of familiarity with the modal interchanges increases, try removing the repeats and increasing the tempo (thus increasing the difficulty level).

.

Note:

Make sure you don’t start every bar with the low A root!

The goal of this is to be able to switch between modes “mid-stream”.   As a first step, when playing these ascending and descending make sure that wherever you are in the pattern ascending or descending that you transition into the next mode smoothly.  The initial goal here isn’t speed – it’s fluidity and being in control of switching between modes.

(See the melodic note below for some other tips once you get comfortable with the transition).

.

Now let’s examine each chord (and mode) individually:

.

  • First measure: arpeggiate a minor chord in 4/4 time (in this case A minor).

.

A minor – Play A Dorian, A Aeolian or A Phrygian – Click to enlarge

.

In order of increasing darkness, the modes could be played over that chord are:

.

A Dorian, A Aeolian and A Phrygian

.

  • Measure 2: adapt the chord to a specific mode using the mode’s characteristic note.

.

The first mode explored in this example will be A Phrygian.  Since Phrygian’s characteristic note is the b2, I’ll change the 2nd root (A) with the b2 (Bb) creating an A minor (add b9).

.

A minor add b9 – Play A Phrygian – Click to enlarge

.

  • Measure 3:  I’ll continue the chromatic motion on the G string changing the Bb to B natural. This produces an A minor (add 9).

.

A minor add 9 – Play A Dorian or A Aeolian – Click to enlarge

.

  • Measure 4:  Now the 5th of the chord (E) will move chromatically to F, emphasizing the b6 of the Aeolian mode creating an A minor (add 9, b6) chord.

.

A minor add 9 add b6 – Play A Aeolian – click to enlarge

.

  • Measure 5:  The 6th of the chord will now move chromatically to F#  emphasizing the natural 6 of the Dorian mode and creating an A minor (add 6, 9) chord.

.

A minor add 6, 9 – Play A Dorian – Click to enlarge

.

The chord progression then goes back to A minor where any of the 3 modes could be used.

.

Notes:

  • Harmonic – If you’re playing with another musician try taking this one chord vamp idea and using your ear to change the chord when the soloist changes modes.  You can make other chordal alterations as well creating melodic movement in the voicing –  is a great approach to use both in comping on a single chord as well as creating melodic movement between 2 chords (more on that in another lesson).

.

  • Melodic – As the soloist in this approach – try to change modes then the rhythm player changes chords.  As soon as you get comfortable with the shapes – try making melodies and taking them through each modal change.  (See part 5  for an example of that process with one modal shape).

.

The nice thing about playing with human beings (rather than sequences) is that people can introduce random factors into playing.  A person can make all kinds of melodic or harmonic decisions that require the other person to change and adapt.  It develops a dialog and allows people to become more attune to playing with other people (and ultimately more musical).

.

The next lesson will cover Major chord variations in this same style.  But if you want to get a head start the process is the same as what I just covered, the characteristic notes for the major modes are:

.

Lydian: #4

Major: Natural 7

Mixolydian: b7

.

As before, just go through the lesson at your own pace and return to it as you need to.  Also please feel free to post any questions you might have (or pm me at guitar.blueprint@gmail.com).

.

I hope this helps and as always, thanks for reading!

.

-SC

.

P.S. If you like this post – you may also like:

.

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 6 – THE CIRCLE OF 5THS AND MODAL INTERCHANGE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 5 – MAKING THE MOST OF ONE PATTERN

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 4 – MODES AND CHORDS

.

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 3B – SEEING THE SIX-STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 3A – SEEING THE SIX-STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 2 – SEEING THE TWO STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECTURE GUIDE TO MODES PART 1 – SEEING THE SINGLE STRING MAJOR SCALE

.

Making Music Out Of Scales

A BRIEF THOUGHT ABOUT MUSIC THEORY

.

PRACTICE MAKES BETTER AKA PRACTICING PART I

PROPER POSTURE IS REQUIRED FOR PROPER PERFORMANCE – PRACTICING PART II

TENSION AND THE SODA CAN OR PRACTICING PART III

DEFINITIONS AND DOCUMENTS OR PRACTICING PART IV

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PLAY OR PRACTICING PART V

TESTING YOUR VOCABULARY OR PRACTICING PART VI

POSSESSION IS 9/10S OF THE LAW BUT PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING OR PRACTICING PART VII

SOME USEFUL ONLINE PRACTICE TOOLS

.

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 3

Getting Hipness From A Major Triad Or More Chord Recycling Part 2

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 1

.

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 3

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 2

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 1

.

WARMING UP: FINGER EXERCISES, THE 3 T’S AND THE NECESSITY OF MISTAKES

.

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes Part 6 – The Circle of 5ths and Modal Interchange

Welcome to the sixth installment of the GuitArcitecture Mode Visualization lesson series.

If you see anything unfamiliar here, you may want to check out:

.

.

In the last lesson, I took a look at using one fingering pattern to play all of the modes.  I wanted to get the sounds under your fingers a little bit and then start to explain a context for them a little more.

In this lesson, I’m going to go into modal interchange more in-depth.  To get deeper into modes, we need to talk about Relative Modes versus Parallel Modes, examine tonal centers and keys and talk about Modal Interchange.

..

Organizing the sounds of the different modes:

.

  • While the different modes of a parent major scale all contain the same notes, each mode has a unique sound.
  • For the purposes of this lesson, modes of the major scale will fall into one of two (overly general) categories (Major or Minor) based on their third scale degree.
  • The sounds of the modes are based on their scale formulaTheir scale formula is based on their relationship to their parallel major mode. 

.

For Example:

To determine the scale  formula of, say,  C Mixolydian, the notes of C Mixolydian would be compared to the notes of a C major scale.

  • Since C Mixolydian is spelled C, D, E, F, G, A, Bb, and
  • C Major is spelled C, D, E, F, G, A, B,
  • the scale formula of C Mixolydian is b7.

.

Relative versus Parallel Major 

C major is the relative major scale to A natural minor (A Aeolian) because both are part of the same parent major scale

.

C major is the parallel major scale of C natural minor (C Aeolian).

In this case they share a common root, but C natural minor has a different parent major scale than C major.

.

Here’s a table that shows the  parallel modes of C Major and their scale formula.

.

..

.

The Tonal Cycle of 5ths

.

Listing the modes in order of scale degree (Ionian, Dorian, etc.) is one way to work through the modes but a  more logical way to see the relationship of the modes is to place them in a tonal circle of 5ths.  So first let’s talk about the circle of 5ths versus the tonal circle.

.

The circle of 5ths:

The circle of fifths is a way to see all of the major and minor keys and key signatures in a logical order.  The Wikipedia page on it offers an excellent detailed explanation –  but seeing the actual circle will help clear things up.

.

Circle of 5ths taken from Wikipedia.com

.

From the pitch C :

  • moving in clockwise motion, the number of sharps in a key signature increase sequentially with each tonal center a 5th away. (C, G, D, A etc.)
  • moving in counterclockwise motion the number of flats in a key signature increase sequentially with each tonal center a 4th away. (C, F, Bb, Eb etc.)

..

This is a very handy and compact way to see tonal centers and relative major/minor scales – but adapting it to a tonal circle of 5ths will help clarify modes in a very unique way.

.

The Tonal Cycle of 5ths:

.

In a tonal circle of 5ths, the circle moves in diatonic 5ths (and thus stays in a particular key).  In the key of C it looks like this:

.

The next note in a circle of 5ths after B would be F#, but keeping it in a tonal cycle of 5ths the key of C major, the next note would be F natural.

Now that we have a tonal cycle of 5ths in C Major, let’s fill in the modes associated with each note of C Major.

.

.

Now let’s insert the scale formula of each mode:

.

.
Note:

the scale formula is listed as a series of cumulative alterations rather than sequential.

In general, the more flats in the modal scale formula, the darker the sound.

.

..

Modal Interchange

.

The key to using these to create modal sounds is what is called Modal Interchange.

.

As a simplified definition –  a mode associated with a specific chord will work over the same chord in any other key.  In other words, D Dorian could be played over any D minor 7 chord in any other key that has a D minor 7 chord in it.

.

Rather than thinking of modal ideas when I play,  an easier way (for me) to think about modal sounds is to think of parent scales since all the modes are derived from a parent scale (and it’s less to keep track of).

.

If I’m playing a song in the key of F major:

  • soloing over a Dm7 chord
  • and playing the notes from the C parent major scale over that chord
  • I’m playing in D Dorian.

If I use notes from the F major scale, I’m playing in D Aeolian.

If I use notes from the Bb major scale, I’m playing in D Phrygian.

.

Since I’ve been dealing with C major – I’ll give a C parallel mode example:

.

If you want a C Lydian sound – you’re really talking about playing a G parent major scale over a C Major / C Major 7th) chord or a C major chord progression.  Here’s a shortcut:

.

.

Note (repeated from part 5):

This is a tricky area.  While I use a parent scale approach to visualize how I solo over chords, I am aware of the chord tones (and tensions) and tend to focus on those melodically.

Just running up and down a scale isn’t going to help you really nail changes in the long run, it’s just going to fill space that often doesn’t need filling sonically.

That being said, the first step in any playing process is knowing where to put your fingers – so working through scales is as good a place to start as any….

For beginning or intermediate players new to this – like I said before,  just worry about associating the modes, fingerings and sounds for now.

..

Next Steps

.

In the next part of this series I’m going to give some major and minor positional approaches and talk about a cool way to use modes to modify chords.  In the meantime you may want to familiarize yourself with the shapes in part 3b of the lesson series.

As before, just go through the lesson at your own pace and return to it as you need to and please feel free to post any questions you might have (or pm me at guitar.blueprint@gmail.com).

.

I hope this helps and as always, thanks for reading!

.

-SC

.

P.S. If you like this post – you may also like:

.

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 5 – MAKING THE MOST OF ONE PATTERN

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes Part 4 – Modes and Chords

THE GUITARCHITECT’S POSITIONAL EXPLORATION PRE-RELEASE NOW AVAILABLE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 3B – SEEING THE SIX-STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 3A – SEEING THE SIX-STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 2 – SEEING THE TWO STRING MAJOR SCALE

The GuitArchitecture Guide To Modes Part 1 – Seeing The Single String Major Scale

.

Making Music Out Of Scales

A BRIEF THOUGHT ABOUT MUSIC THEORY

.

PRACTICE MAKES BETTER AKA PRACTICING PART I

PROPER POSTURE IS REQUIRED FOR PROPER PERFORMANCE – PRACTICING PART II

TENSION AND THE SODA CAN OR PRACTICING PART III

DEFINITIONS AND DOCUMENTS OR PRACTICING PART IV

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PLAY OR PRACTICING PART V

TESTING YOUR VOCABULARY OR PRACTICING PART VI

POSSESSION IS 9/10S OF THE LAW BUT PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING OR PRACTICING PART VII

SOME USEFUL ONLINE PRACTICE TOOLS

.

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 3

Getting Hipness From A Major Triad Or More Chord Recycling Part 2

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 1

.

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 3

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 2

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 1

.

WARMING UP: FINGER EXERCISES, THE 3 T’S AND THE NECESSITY OF MISTAKES