In this blog we will look at improvising over one chord. This will be D minor [D Dorian].
The key is to use chromaticism, tertian harmony, superimposition and outside harmonic content in order to create interesting improvised lines and move away from the cliches of scales and modes to create originality.
The key for smoothness is to be aware of where the 1/2 steps [Semitones]are in the “Connections”.
If we look below we can see where the 1/2 steps connect and how to play off of the tonic note with this. In this case we play off of the tonic D note resolving straight into the Eb note for Eb melodic minor. We can then resolve down a half step to C#m and back down into D Dorian
So as you can see it is easy to weave in and out of the harmony and get back to D Dorian via the 1/2 step.
Below is a line that beautifully weaves in and out of D minor
In this next example we will use tertian harmony and exploit superimposition. We will employ D melodic minor and and keep extending via C melodic minor.
Now we will extend the whole line:
As another idea, there are still useful concepts like “Target Tones”. These can be manipulated without resorting to cliches.
Lastly we will exploit the use flat 5 concepts. In this case there is an Abmaj7/D and a Cmaj7/F# with which we can be creative.
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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] [SAME AS 7TH TETRACHORD]
3rd Tetrachord=Minor scale fragment [#11 Lydian]
4th Tetrachord=Changing cell. [From flat 9 to C Jazz melodic minor] [SAME AS 9TH TETRACHORD]
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
FULL LENGTH “INDEPTH” VIDEO BELOW
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 solo down into“Hexatonic” scale application. You might find it really interesting!
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