When looking at musical notation it can seem like random notes. But if we break down each group into 4 note groupings called “Tetrachords” we can break down the music theory and play each group on our instrument.
We can then remember the “Sound and Shape” of each cell and then join them together. In turn we can then apply these cells to our own instrumental playing/improvisations.
FULL SOLO LINE/PHRASE
1st Grouping of 4 notes [Tetrachord]=E flat Pentatonic shape/sound [Mixolydian]
2nd Tetrachord=A flat Minor triad and 4th interval [or #11 #9 and #5]
3rd Tetrachord=Minor scale fragment [#11 Lydian]
4th Tetrachord=Changing cell. [From flat 9 to C Jazz melodic minor]
5th Tetrachord=Very “Outside” D major pentatonic/4ths
6th Tetrachord =D major Pentatonic sound/shape [very “Out”]
7th Tetrachord=C minor arpeggio and 4th
8th Tetrachord=B flat major Pentatonic sound/shape
9th Tetrachord=C Melodic “Jazz” minor [Augmented] sound/shape [same as 4th Tetrachord]
10th Tetrachord = Perfect 4th and major 3rd creating triad pairs sound/shape [or E flat minor 11 implication or G FLAT/a flat]
Lastly= Flat 6 for C minor
In terms of fingering and musical application on our instruments learning shapes and “Connections” and breaking phrases down into 4 note cells [Tetrachords] is really useful because complex lines can be understood and learnt quickly.
In turn this gives us lots of patterns for improvisation and theoretical knowledge to improvise with as opposed to just playing scales and arpeggios.
If you found this easy then try and break this little solo down into” Hexatonic” scale application. You might find it really interesting!
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Today we will look at a John Mclaughlin alternate picking Jazz/Fusion improvisation cadence employing the altered dominant chord! Please watch the video below and then try it out yourself.
As you will see this cadence employs the Altered scale. It is a 2 [minor 7 flat 5] going to 5 [ “Altered Dominant”] 1 [major 7th]. This being Dm7 flat 5 G7 altered resolving to C major7.
I also employ a flat 5 substitution on the Dm7 flat 5. All of this resolves though and slips nicely into the altered dominant 5 chord. I also use pentatonics within the altered scale for rhythmic flow. Please look at the TAB/MUSIC below and play through it yourself to see and feel how it all “Naturally” unfolds. I employ alternate picking the same as John Mclaughlin.
John Mclaughlin alternate picking altered scale line Music/Tab
VARIATION With an A flat Pentatonic shape replacing A flat minor/Major Arpeggio for the flat 5 substitution.
Many people learn modes and scales and arpeggios and copious amounts of music theory. They are then confronted with the biggest problem of all. How to make music out it!
The key to all of this is to look at the rhythm. Rhythm is the key to fluid professional sounding lines. But, how to we do this from a beginners perspective?
Firstly: The most important thing to do is outline the chord tones that are “On” the beat. This way the ear can follow. Because the chromatics on the “Off beat” will then sound correct, interesting and colourful.
The 2 little chromatic set ups/melodies below detail this.
Play through the exercise below and you will hear and see the C7 arpeggio outlined on beats 1 and 3 in all bars. Also, notice the “Up beat”. This sets up the rhythm by targeting the “On beat” chord tone.
Here is another example in double time. Notice that this time the complete C major scale is played on each 1/4 note beat of the bar. Again we have the upbeat to create forward motion.
This doesn’t mean that we do this every time but it shows how to create and then develop really hip lines that are “Musical”. From here on in you can manipulate it.
Jazz/Fusion Line: Don Mock classic “Anacrusis”
John Mclaughlin Classic beginning “In the bar”
Below is a variation using a John Mclaughlin phrase. Notice how Mclaughlin starts on the second semiquaver [off beat] of the second beat of the bar.
Here are a couple of other rhythmic set ups to try out,
Notice the off beat to triplet arpeggio. This is a very common rhythm but it always sounds good and works well.
This line starts “On the beat” but the rhythm gets pushed.
This is just a taster of what makes Jazz sound like jazz. Looking and learning about rhythm is "Everything" because without understanding where the "On' and "Off "beat are it is impossible to syncopate and anticipate musically. All the theory in the world won't help without good forward moving rhythm.
The best book that I have ever read and studied on the subject of enclosure/approach notes/rhythmic set up is,
"Target" Tones by Don Mock.LINK DON MOCK
For a deeper and intellectual look there is a book called "Forward Motion" by pianist Hal Galper. This book is for someone really wanting to go deeper into the rhythm of jazz.LINK HAL GALPER