How to use the “CHROMATIC SCALE” in Jazz Improvisation

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How to use the “CHROMATIC SCALE” in Jazz Improvisation

Please watch video above for in depth analysis:

Hi Guys,

Today we will look at applying the simple half step chromatic scale to jazz improvisation. This in turn will be reflected in the alternate picking guitar technique:

So, we will look at two parts,

1] Harmonic Aspect-Set-UP-Theory

2] Technical Execution-Set-Up-Instrument

The analysis will be detailed through this 2 5 1

Hot-to-use-the-chromatic-scale-jazz
How to use the “CHROMATIC SCALE” in Jazz Improvisation

MUSIC THEORY: Chromatic Scale:

how-to-use-the-chromatic-scale
How to use the “CHROMATIC SCALE” in Jazz Improvisation

If we look at the first bar we will see 4 note groupings “Tetrachords”. These groupings are made of semitones [chromatic scale].

outlining-chords-with-chromatic-scale
Outlining chord with the chromatic scale for jazz improvisation

What you will notice is that they “Outline” the Chord DmMaj7. This makes the ear follow the direction of the line in relation to the harmony so that it is not just aimless semitones strung together, but a connected line with a definite direction that resolves into an arpeggio.

how-to-use-the-chromatic-scale
Outlining chords with the chromatic scale

These chromatic semitones in groups of 4 are “Even” Patterns and hence easy to alternate pick as the are all the same “Down Up Down Up”.

how-to-use-the-chromatic-scale-alternate-picking
4 note chromatic grouping for alternate picking guitar technique

In the next bar we see the same technique: The chord is outlined again with 4 note chromatic scale groupings.

how-to-use-the-chromatic-scale
Outlining chords with the chromatic scale

Finally we come to the last bar. This time we employ outlining by moving the chromatic scale up in minor 3rds [Diminished 7th].

outlining-chords-with-chromatic-scale
Outlining chords in minor 3rds [Diminished 7th] with the chromatic scale

In order to execute this type of playing it is essential to accent the 1st and the 3rd notes of each 4 note grouping. This will create a fluid rhythmic sound and hold the tempo tight.

alternate-picking-accents-jazz-guitar
Alternate Picking jazz guitar technique

If you watch the video at the top of the page you will see how the fretting hand works:

Here is the fretting technique that I employ in the video that sync’s the left hand with the right hand alternate picking:

I use GRIP, PLAY

alternate-picking-fretting-hand-technique
Alternate Picking Guitar Technique Fretting Explained

RELEASE, MOVE HAND

alternate-picking-fretting-hand-technique
Alternate Picking Guitar Technique Fretting Explained

GRIP, PLAY

alternate-picking-fretting-hand-technique
Alternate Picking Guitar Technique Fretting Explained

RELEASE, MOVE HAND etc.

alternate-picking-fretting-hand-technique
Alternate Picking Guitar Technique Fretting Explained

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MICHAEL BRECKER JAZZ IMPROVISATION Lick Quick Analysis

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CHROMATICS AND CELL [TETRACHORD] REPLICATION 

Michael brecker  jazz improvisation part 2 replicated cells

In this example can see how Michael Brecker weaves in and out of the harmony with a replicated cell that descends in minor 3rds.

4 note  cell

Michael brecker  jazz improvisation part 2 replicated cells

2 cells descending in minor 3rds replicated

replicated cells in minor 3rds for jazz improvisation

We can now look at the whole line and see and hear where the descending replicated  cells in minor 3rds start and how they serve their purpose.

Michael brecker  jazz improvisation part 2 replicated cells

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2 Guitar Licks Mclaughlin/Martino altered harmony and minor topic

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2 Guitar Licks from John Mclaughlin and Pat Martino-Altered Harmony and Minor Topic

PLEASE WATCH VIDEO ABOVE FOR EXAMPLES.

PDF DOWNLOAD [FREE]

Lick 1: Altered Harmony [John Mclaughlin] ii V7alt I

Mclaughlin-altered-scale-guitar-lesso-tab
Lick 1: Altered Harmony [John Mclaughlin]

Lick 2: Pat Martino “Minor Topic” Guitar Line played over Dm7:

Pat-Martino-Minor-Topic-Example-Lesson
Pat-Martino-Minor-Topic-Example-Lesson-Dm7-Lick

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