23rd Chords Jazz Improvisation

Lennie Tristano’s Augmented 15th Arpeggio

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Above is the “Classic’ Lennie Tristano superimposed #15 arpeggio for C Major7. The #15 sounds “Correct” because all of the 5ths in the arpeggio are PERFECT 5THS.

Lennie Tristano Cmaj7.Dmaj arpeggios. #11 #15th diagram lesson


23rd chord extension



If we keep stacking 3rds with superimposition and extension we create “Tertian” harmony. So, above a 15th we have a 17th, above that a 19th, above that a 21st and above that a 23rd. Hence a 23rd chord will use all 12 notes.

The 23rd chord example below has a major leaning

major 23rd chord example for music jazz improvisation

This example provides a 23rd chord with a minor leaning

minor 23rd chord jazz improvisation lesson tertian harmony

Here we have a 23rd chord with an augmented leaning

AUGMENTED 23RD CHORD jazz improvisation lesson

Lastly we have a 23rd chord with a diminished  leaning

DIMINISHED 23RD CHORD for jazz improvisation lesson and diagram

Going back to our old friend George Russell and the Lydian Chromatic Concept we become aware of the shifting of tonal gravity and what is available with a 23rd chord that shifts out and how we can manipulate it to create new ideas and avoid cliches. Also going back to our 1st example of Lennie Tritano’s #15th arpeggio we hear how we can exploit the perfect 5ths to make something not right “Sound” right but fresh and new.

Lydian Chromatic Concept LCC

How to create music and improvisation with the 23rd chord

Below is a great example of my personal favourite 23rd chord creating a lovely Tertian Stack. TERTIAN STACK 23rd chord for jazz improvisation lesson and example

This example also reverts back to our 12 tone blog for improvisation and jazz heads/tunes. There are 3 sets of TETRACHORDS. Or 3 sets of 4 note groupings.

23rd chord tetrachords example for jazz improvisation

Next we can take the same 23rd chord pitches and make Hexatonic or 2 groups of 6 from the 23rd chord tertian superimposition.

23rd chord hexatonics for jazz improvisation

Finally we can make 3 note cells to form a 12 tone line from the same tertian 23rd chord extension.

23rd chord 3 note cells 12 tone lesson example for jazz improvisation

23rd chord Improvised line ideas:

Employing 23rd chord outlines in Major, minor, diminished augmented.

Line 1

23rd chord improvised jazz line example lesson

Line 2

jazz fusion 23rd chord improvised line and music theory lesson

Line 3

triplets 23rd chord improvised jazz line and jazz lesson

Line 4

23rd chord improvised line for jazz improvisation lesson

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The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organisation by George Russell

THE LCC BY GEORGE RUSSEL: “Lydian chromatic concept of tonal gravity”.

If we look at the diagram below we see the “Overtone Series” The perfect octave and the perfect 5th. If you can think in terms of perfect 5ths then the LCC will be much easier to understand.

Overton Series

First we start with C Ionian [C Major in Classical western tradition].


Next George raises the 4th  forming C Lydian [Raised 4th or#11]

Jazz improvisation Raised 4th or #11 to create C Lydian

Below we see Stacked 3rds in C major [Ionian] and then in C LYDIAN [Hence the f sharp at the top below the a note]

C ionian                                                                 C Lydian [13TH]

Ionian to Lydian 13th example

Below we see George Russel’s TONAL GRAVITY of Stacked 5ths. Notice the flattened 5th in the first bar but the “Perfect 5th” in the second bar. [The second bar creating C Lydian].

Flattened fifth and Perfect With example

Below is the piano layout which one can easily hear tonal gravity across the long span of the piano keyboard. We have the #11 [F#] to create stacked “PERFECT” 5THS” [which again results in C Lydian]

Lydian tonal gravity piano

Below is a layout starting on the lowest F note in order to hear it all in full along the guitar fingerboard. There is also a version in the second bar that moves around with C as the tonic due to lack of span on the guitar fingerboard.

Tonal gravity on guitar fingerboard

If we take the C major 7th chord and look at the C major scale we can see the “Avoid” note. The E note clashes with the F note and the B natural and the F natural produce a Dominant sound. By adding the Perfect fifth  F# there isn’t any “Avoid” notes as displayed in the second bar below.

Major and Lydian and avoid note for sharp 11th

"The interval of a fifth is the building block of tonal gravity, a seven-tone scale created by successive fifths 
establishes the most vertically unified harmonic order whereby the gravity falls down each fifth back to the singular 
Lydian tonic". "Andy Wasserman"


“The Lydian Chromatic Scale” The ANSWER TO ANYONE CONFUSED!

 By stacking PERFECT 5ths George Russel creates a chromatic scale

[F] C, G, D, A, E, B, F,C, G, D(E), A(B), E(F), [B(C) = a 12 tone scale.

The Confusion?

But “why” does he skip the interval between the Seventh and Eighth notes in the diagram in his book with the outgoing tonal gravity?

2] The answer is because the outgoing tonal gravity level goes to C# next [not F# for perfect 5ths]. Hence the 1st “Lydian scale” then goes to the 2nd scale “Lydian Augmented” with the raised 5th.

F Lydian chromatic order of tonal gravity for jazz improvisation


Jazz improvisation  explanation and diagram of the Lydian chromatic concept of Tonal Organisation


Lydian chromatic concept 12 tonal order of tonal gravity

In the example diagram above we see George Russels “Tonal order” going from numbers 1 to 12.  Numbers 1 to 7 being the Lydian mode.

When we go beyond the 7 notes of the lydian scale and further up the cycle of 5ths things increase in terms of  dissonance.

George Russell terms the scales as”Ingoing” “Semi ingoing” “Semi outgoing”  and “Outgoing” . The more we move to the right of the diagram the more “Outgoing/Dissonant” the scale will sound.

In terms of scale substitution we see a C# and not a D flat as this would be a raised 5th [Augmented 5th] and it would make no sense reading it enharmonically as a D flat as we see in the diagram above and in Georges scales.


Basic Lydian  [#11]

F Lydian Scale jazz improvisation

This could also be seen as 3rd mode of Melodic Minor

Jazz improvisation Lydian Augmented scale

This could also be seen as 4th mode of the Harmonic Major

Lydian Diminished scale jazz improvisation

This could also be seen as the 4th mode of the Melodic Minor

lydian flat seventh jazz improvisation

This could also be seen as the Whole Tone Scale

Auxilary augmented scale [Whole tone scale]

This could also be seen as Octatonic Whole Half Diminished

Auxilary diminished scale

This could also be seen as Octatonic Half Whole Diminished

Jazz improvisation Auxilary diminished scale

Finally, Horizontal Scales. Notice the B FLAT hence the Major.

Jazz improvisation Horizontal Scales Major,flat 7th,augmented,African American

Finding a parent scale,

From E Flat 7 going to A Flat major 7th we would employ the D Flat Lydian mode due to the G natural or #11 of the D FLAT LYDIAN to modulate to A flat major 7th.

PART 2 Final Analysis

The Lydian Chromatic Scale and best explanation from “Wikipedia”

Russell builds a prototype chromatic scale starting on the Lydian Tonic by stacking fifths, skipping the interval between the seventh and eighth tones. Using C as the Lydian Tonic yields the following 12-note scale with enharmonic respellings:

C, G, D, A, E, B, F♯,C♯, G♯, D♯(E♭), A♯(B♭), E♯(F), B♯(C). Thus the Lydian Chromatic Scale and all its derivatives contain only Pythagorean intervals.


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As an “Afterthought” for any guitarists here is my fingering always leading with the 1st finger on George Russell “Vertical” scales.

Jazz improviser F Lydian Guitar fingering

Lydian Augmented guitar fingering scale

Lydian Diminished scale guitar fingering

F Lydian falt 7th scale guitar fingering example

Whole tone scale guitar fingering [Auxilary augmented]

Auxilary diminished scale guitar fingering

Auxilary Diminished scale mode Blues

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It is a good idea to read George Russels most up to date book either from a reference library or purchase. It is a very expensive book to buy though so be warned.
Wiki LCC


Book Cover Picture

My Top 5 music educational books I use!

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When it comes to learning music I still love to lean into the old dusty trusted paper. Man, I still really love paper!  

The smell of candle fragrance, coffee and paper makes me want to enter into that private world of knowledge and digest!

I love the feel of a book. the allure and all that awaits like a beautiful women. To enter that secret world where magic happily appears and all that was old and grey is transformed into the fresh and colourful.

Paper always brings with it a sense of peace and stress relief from the distractions of computer learning. A book is a place where texts and messengers and news feeds have no place.

A book is a place where the mind is still and childlike filled with curiosity but all the time knowing  that it will eventually absorb the magic that is presented before it and turn the pages of stardust into living breathing art. Man, I love paper! 

Here are the top 5 music education text books and scores I use at the moment,

5] Twentieth Century Harmony -Vincent Persichetti



4] John Mclaughlin Improvisations [Transcriptions]-Mediastarz



3] Exploring Jazz Piano Book 2- Tim Richards



2] Jazz composition theory and practice-Ted Pease [Berklee press]



1] A chromatic approach to jazz harmony and melody-Dave Liebman



Arnold Schoenberg 12 tone “Concepts” for Jazz Fusion


Arnold Schoenberg created a system using all 12 tones in a row. Below is the 12 tone row from OP 25.

Schoenberg 12 tone row suite OP 25

The next idea is to use the notes in reverse order. This is called “Retrograde”

Retrograde 12 tone row Schoenberg

We can also take the original tone row and “Invert” it. This is called “Inversion”. We do this by inverting each interval. For instance if a note goes up a perfect 4th in the original set then it is inverted by coming down a perfect 4th, if it goes up a minor 3rd then it comes down a minor 3rd, etc

Inversion 12 tone row schoenberg

We can also take the Inversion of the original tone row and play the notes in reverse order. This is called “Retrograde Inversion”

Retrograde Inversion schoenberg 12 tone row

These ideas from 12 tone serialism are excellent for Jazz riffs, Composition and Improvisational ideas and concepts.

We will start with a few basic Jazz applications/Ideas


Jazz application moving in minor 3rds in schoenberg 12 tone rows


jazz application using 12 tone rows of Schoenberg


Jazz application in 4ths to 12 tone Schoenberg tone row


jazz improvisation applied to Schoenberg's 12 tone rows


Combined 12 tone rows applied to jazz fusion improvisation

combining 12 tone Schoenberg rows to Jazz as heads

Triplets and semiquavers 16ths applied to Schoenberg's 12 tone row musical system


For other ideas on 12 tone concepts it is a good idea to visit John O’ Gallagher’s website. There is a really interesting book on 12 tone improv.


A Method for using tone rows in jazz book cover


In this lesson we are going to look at sweep picking and variations on Frank Gambale’s sweep picking guitar technique/method. I also employ alternate picking guitar technique with this method for smoothness when improvising.

The key to “Rhythmic Phrases” and smooth sweep picking is to practice a rhythmic line, sweep arpeggio and then rhythmic line again. This is essential for flowing improvisational lines. Otherwise sweep picking can become , blip, blip,blip. Which will sound very un-rhythmical and un-musical.

I only employ simple sweep picking patterns so that I can make rapid flowing musical phrases when I am improvising.

Simple basic sweep arpeggio Pattern.

sa Am 1st

Extended simple sweep picking arpeggio pattern

Am ext

Below is how I set up the sweep picking with rapid alternate picking guitar technique so that the improvised jazz/fusion line flows as a “Rhythmical phrase” as opposed to ,blip.blip,blip.


sa f sharp 11

Lastly, is an extension of a full sweep arpeggio and how easy it is to connect different shapes/arpeggios [superimpositions] together.


Melodic “Jazz” Minor Scale Lesson

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In this blog we will look at the Jazz Melodic Minor scale and its harmony and how to exploit it for jazz/fusion and melodic pop/rock usage. The melodic minor is an exotic and beautiful sounding scale that compliments its corresponding harmony.

If we take the basic C Major scale and play through it we can create a new scale by changing just one note. This is the 3rd note E.

C major Scale

If we flatten this E natural to an E flat note we have the C melodic “Jazz” Minor scale.

C Melodic minor scale how to

Here are the arpeggios for the C melodic “jazz” minor scale in 7ths

Arpeggios of the C Melodic Minor Scale for jazz improvisation


Arpeggios of the C Melodic "Jazz" Minor Scale

Upper Extensions: We can add a “triad” above the arpeggios and create an upper extension on each of the melodic minor’s arpeggios.

C melodic minor UPPER EXTENSIONS for jazz improvisation

C melodic minor UPPER EXTENSIONS for jazz improvisation

Jazz improvisation. C melodic minor UPPER EXTENSIONS

It is a good idea to extend the tonic C minor/maj7 Arpeggio to get a good fluid fingering for it as it is a really beautiful exotic sound and can also be used over an altered dominant chord.

C melodic minor arpeggio

Another important point is to get a good fingering by using easier fingerings like the example below. [The easier the fingering the better the intervals sound on the guitar].

Guitar Fingering for C melodic jazz minor scale

It is also a good idea to employ “triad pairs” that exist within the melodic minor scale. Here we have E flat augmented,  F major, Cmin/maj7, and Dm7

Triad pairs for C melodic Minor jazz improviser lesson

We can also make Pentatonic’s from the melodic minor scale which fit easily in the guitarists fretting hand. Below is an example that could be played over an A minor 7 flat 5 chord [Chord 6 in C melodic “jazz’ minor scale].

How to make pentatonics from the C melodic minor Scale

Lastly, we have the dominant chord of the C melodic minor scale being G major [Chord 5]. This would normally make G seventh but due to the E flat note in the scale we can now make an “Altered” Dominant chord [G9 Augmented]. We have the note of A for the ninth and the Eb  flat note for the sharpened 5th.

How to create altered dominant improvised lines from C melodic minor scale




John Mclauhglin Shakti Indian Raga lesson “How to” do it!

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This little exercise works on the development of another basic guitar fingering idea. This fingering [as you will find out when playing through the notation/tab] lends itself well to the rhythmic development of John Mclaughlin’s alternate picking guitar technique. This in turn makes Indian Raga style of music very playable and gives way to creating your own raga’s!

John Mclaughlin SHAKTI Indian Raga Guitar EXERCISE/FINGERING LESSON Music and Tab


As always keep the alternate picking rhythmical and count in groups of four 16th notes called “Tetrachords”. Or, count in the Indian   Konokol rhythm system “Ta Ka Di Me”. Accent the first beat of each 4 note grouping with the guitar pick. Alternate picking will then give a fluid consistency  to this raga phrase/lick. Thanks for watching and please Subscribe to our youtube channel CLICK FOR YOUTUBE