Tag Archives: harmony

Modern Jazz Reharmonization Techniques: Tritone sub, Coltrane Changes and Modal

Reharmonization techniques are useful in many ways in Jazz both in improvising and arranging. In this video I will go over 5 reharmonizations of a part of All The Things You Are. The different versions will illustrate several techniques and options for reharmonizing the standard. Some of the concepts are tonal and functional others are in the modal or atonal end of the spectrum.

I mostly hope to give you some ideas on how to think about the progressions that are not really functional and tonal, but that you can still percieve and mold as musical phrases.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:53 Basic All The Things You Are Chords

1:09 How the lessons is build

1:34 Reharmonization of the Melody!!

2:17 Don’t reduce it to chords and go from there

2:51 Reharmonization 1 – Triton Subs and Dom7th Chains

3:07 Analyzing Reharm 1 – Techniques used

3:35 Basic analysis of ATTYA progression

4:03 Understanding the movement and modulation of All The Things

4:32 Analysis of the Reharmonization

5:52 Leave the Cmaj7 alone (here’s why…)

6:45 Using this type of reharm in solos, Metheny does.

6:57 Reharm 2 – Moving a chord sound around

7:39 Breaking down Reharm2

9:56 It’s maj 3rds but not Coltrane

10:05 Reharm3: Coltrane Changes on All The Things You Are

10:19 Reharm: 4 – Logical bass movement

10:34 Making unconnected chords sound like a logical progression

11:07 Ascending bass lines

11:26 Analysis of Reharm 4 – bass

12:01 Adding chords to the bassline

13:19 The effect of this type of reharmonization

14:15 Why Amaj7 is a great sub for Cmaj7 with an E in the melody

14:49 Reharm 5 – SPACE-CAKE – Faster harmonic rhythm, more sentences in the progression.

15:41 More chords means shorter phrase length in the chord progression

16:03 Analysis of Reharm 5

16:58 Second phrase of Reharm 5

17:47 Some of the things to keep in mind when harmonizing with modal sounds like this

18:14 Tools for this type of reharmonization

18:41 Think in phrases with the chords

19:19 Reharmonizing the melody? How do you use reharmonization?

20:21 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

Learning Jazz Standards – What you need to Know and Be Able to Do With It

Playing Jazz Guitar should mostly be about playing songs. It is the goal and also the way we practice to get to the goal. In this video I will go over what it is to learn a jazz standard, give you some ideas on things you can work on and want to try to be able to do. The Idea is that you get the most out of the standard, and that you also train your skills as a jazz guitarist and improviser at the same time.

The video should give you some useful exercises and ways of thinking about learning melodies and chord progressions. Most Jazz Standards are great compositions and vehicles for improvisation and interpretation, and keeping that in mind helps when it comes to learning them.

Content of the video:

 0:00 Chord Melody excerpt of Days Of Wine And Roses 

0:05 Intro — Learning and studying songs 

0:46 Building a check list and suggesting some exercises 

1:21 The Melody — The Foundation of everything 

1:51Practice the melody — All positions, using your ear 

2:28 Demonstration with Days of W melody 

3:22 Using the melody to hear the changes 

3:42 Chord melody — Harmonizing the melody 

3:53 Basic Chord Melody excerpt 

4:04 Keep your harmonizations open ended for phrasing 

4:39 Low Chord Melody 

5:38 Learning and studying the chord progression 

6:02 2 Versions of Days of Wine and roses 

6:13 Bill Evans and the modulation arrangement 

6:32 Oscar Peterson Changes 

7:43 The art of harmonizing a Standard 

8:19 Improvising — some simple exercises 

8:57 Solo with just Arpeggios (in all positions) 

9:38 Demonstration of a chord tone solo on Days Of Wine And Roses 

10:28 Learning reharmonizations for solos 

11:00 Playing the reharmonizations as chords in the song to get it into your ear 

11:48 Do you have things you always check out on a Song or Jazz Standard? 

12:57 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Vlog: Analyzing a Standard – Stella By Starlight – Functional Harmony in Jazz

Understanding the chords

Since I was not around last week I didn’t have time to make a Q&A video. Instead here’s a little video about analyzing the standard Stella By Starlight.

I guess Stella by Starlight is in many ways one of the most mysterious chord progressions among the jazz standards. At the same time it is so beautiful that everybody just keeps at it until they can play it 🙂 I know I did it like that at least.

One of the first jazz solos I could play was Ulf Wakenius solo over this on a NHØP album that I since lost.

 

Check out my Solo guitar rendition of Stella by Starlight:

 

Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings part 3

In this 3rd lesson on Drop2 voicings I am going to go over altered dominants and show some more versions of how you add extensions to chords. I will of course also give some example of how you put it to use in cadences and on a standard.

The examples in this lesson are all in the key of G major (except the last example which is an excerpt from a standard in Gm). I chose to keep it simple and only work with the top set of strings. In the long run it can be very useful to also check out the middle set of strings and possibly the lowest set. A complete overview of the drop2 voicings can be found here: Scale charts and chord voicings

Adding more extensions

The first we are going to go over is how to create an m7(9,11) voicing that we can use as for example a II chord in a cadence.

From the 2nd lesson: Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings – Part 2 we have a list that I now want to add a rule to:

  • 9th (or b9 or #9) can replace the root
  • 11, #11, 13th, b13th, b5 and #5 can replace the 5th
  • 6th can replace the 7th
  • 4th or 2nd can replace the 3rd

There is one more rule that we can use to make some more voicings, but I’ll save that for a later lesson, it is also making things a bit spacy and hard to play..

In example 1 I have first listed the basic Am7 voicings on the top four strings and then how I construct an Am7(9,11) by substituting the 5th(E) witht the 11th(D) and the root(A) with the 9th(B).

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 1

So now we have constructed a 7(9,11) chord, let’s have a look at altered dominants!

Altered dominants

There are of course many ways to construct or think about an altered dominant, since I started out with demonstrating 4 basic chord types (m7,dom7th,maj7th and m7b5) I want to show how you can use one of these as a voicing for altered dominants.

The reasoning is similar to a lot of other lessons.

If we have an Ab7(9) chord we would play that with the m7b5 voicing from the 3rd of the chord, so that would be Cm7b5.

As you may know the tritone substitue of Ab7 is D7, so the share the 3rd and 7th.

If I write out a Cm7b5 in a not entirely enharmonical correct way it looks like this:

Cm7b5 – C Eb F# Bb

Relative to D that would be a 7, b9, 3, b13 so it’s a very good candidate for a D7alt chord.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 2

Example 2 is showing how D7alt and Ab7 are also very similar as voicings and how that is visible on the neck by only changing the root.

In example 3 I am first using Cm7b5 voicings as D7b9b13 and then showing how we can substitute the Eb with an F to create D7b13#9 chords.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 3

The rule that you should remember (for now) is that you can play an altered dominant by using the m7b5 chord on the 7th of that dominant (so Cm7b5 for D7alt, Fm7b5 for G7alt etc…) When you start using it you will probably quickly start to just think of it as a altered dom7th chord, which is of course also the idea.

Maj7 #11 chords

To also have a bit of variation available on the tonic chord in the cadence I have  aplied the same rule to the Gmaj7(9) chords. As you may remember I used a Bm7 drop2 voicing to play these and in this voicing we can replace the 5th(D) with a #11(C#). This gives us a lydian sound on the tonic chord which is maybe not strictly in the key but it is a bit a nice and fairly common variation.

The voicings are shown in example 4, first the standard Gmaj7(9) and then the derived #11 voicings.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 4

The II Valt I cadences

With the 3 new voicing types we can make a new set of 4 cadences as shown in example 5.
Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 5

It might be wise to also practice these just resolving to the maj7(9) chords because the #11 doesn’t always fit the with what is going on in the song.

Autumn Leaves example

As I did in the previous 2 lessons I applied some of the voicings that I discussed on the first 16 bars of Autumn Leaves. This is shown in example 6:

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 6

I start out with a Cm7(11). In this vocing I chose not to add the 9th instead of the root. This is because it would be as the lowest note in the chord and in this place I don’t think that sounds too good. The F7alt is played using an Ebm7(b5) voicing this resolves to aBbmaj7th(9,#11) voicing constructed as in example 4. The Ebmaj7 is a straight Ebmaj7(9) (or what you might call a Gm7) voicing.

The Am7b5 is also just using that voicing. The D7 is played with a D7(#9,b13) voicing  out of the second half of example 3. The two bars of Gm are played with first a Gm6/9 voicing and then the same voicing but without the 9th.

The 2nd 8 bars start with a Cm7(9,11) voicing in the 8th fret. It then continues to an F7alt voicing and a Bbmaj7(9,#11) voicing. This cadence is a Bb version of the first bars of example 5. The Ebmaj7 is played with a Gm7 voicing, but I substituted the Bb with a C so that the sound is an Ebmaj7(13) sound.

This moves nicely up to an Am7b5(11). This voicing is with the 11th replaceing the 3rd, but in the context you still have the sound of the chord. The D7alt is again played with a D7(#)b13) voicing now in the 8th fret, and this resolves to a Gm6 and Gm6/9 voicings in the final bars.

I hope you can use the exercises to expand your Drop2 voicing repertoire and come up with some nice new chord voicings for the music you play.

As always you can download the examples as a PDF here:

Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings part 3

Check out how I use Drop2 voicings in this 3 chorus transcription/lesson:

Drop2 voicings on There will never be another you

I hope that you liked the lesson. If you have any questions or comments then feel free to leave them here or on the video. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Facebook, Google+ or Twitter to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.

Endless new ways to play the same II V I voicings

I made this lesson to bring an aspect of playing chords to your attention that there is a big chance you don’t think too much about, and which can give you a huge number of new ways to play progressions with the voicings you already know.

The progression and the voicings

What I will try to demonstrate here is how many different ways you can play the same set of voicings by arpegiating the voicings and not just playing them all together as a block.

In the lesson I will use this II V I and only these voicings:

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 1

As you might notice they are all Drop2 voicings. A subject I’ve already covered in previous lessons. You can check out the series here:  Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings – Part 1

If you are used to drop2 voicings you will probably agree that my choice is fairly straight forward.

Arpeggiate you voicings!

So usually we are trying to create melodies and use certain types of voicings to extend the range of sounds we have available while comping, but as I mentioned we can do really a lot by just arpegiating the voicings we already use.

 

Here are 5 examples to illustrate how easily you can vary the sound of one set of voicings.

The first example is quite simple, for each chord I play the voicing spread in two string sets so that you emphasize the sound of two of the contained intervals. On the Fm7 and Ebmaj7 chord that gives us a diatonic 7th and a diatonic 6th. On the Bb7 there are two 7th intervals.

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 2

Another way to split the voicing is to have an inner and an outer interval set, which with the drop2 voicings gives us an inner 3rd and an outer 10th or 11th.

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 3

So after a few systematical approaches we can also try to make more of a melodic statement by freeing up how each voicing is arpeggiated. In example four I am using the outer voices on the Fm7 and making a short melody with the inner 3rd. On the Bb7alt the chord is arpeggiated in a spread out pattern that almost suspends the sound of it. On the Ebmaj7 voicing I am splitting in strings sets in the same way as in Variation 1

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 4

The Fm7 line in variation 4 is first introducing the whole chord and then a melody with the inner voices. On the Bb7 the first part is the 2nd and 4th voice followed by an arpeggiation of the Dmaj7 shell voicing that is the top of the Bb7alt chord. The Ebmaj7 is played by first the lower 3 strings and then as an added melody later the top note.

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 5

The final example is using a more traditional way of arpeggiating a chord on the guitar, followed by 2 string sets, which is another way to draw out more sounds within the voicing. Something that is often used in Brazilian guitar music. On the Bb7 the entire chord is first played before a string skipping arpeggio pattern is played. The line resolves to Ebmaj7 with a pattern that is first the Bb melody note and then the rest of the chord.

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 6

As you can see there are a lot of possiblities to play even a simple three chord progression. If you are used to arpeggiating chords in different ways then you probably do not need to work on anything in a systematical way, but you can better just try to apply it while playing with others or when practicing a tune.

As always you can download the examples I used as a pdf here:

Endless ways to play the same II V I voicings

I hope that you liked the lesson. If you have any questions or comments then feel free to leave them here or on the video. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Instagram, Twitter Google+ or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.

 

Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop2 voicings – Part 2

In this lesson I want to continue with exploring the Drop2 voicings that I introduced in the 1st part: Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings – Part 1. Mainly I want to talk about how you make voicings with extensions and what sort of voicings you end up with.

Adding extensions to chords

Let’s look at how we can add more colors to the voicings we already have and a few tricks that will help you use and expand what you already know.

So far we’ve been concerned with the basic chords so Am7 was simply root, third, fifth and seventh, but as I explained in the first lesson you can use Am9 or Am11 instead of Am7. Instead of making 5 or more note voicings we can use these rules to exapand the sounds:

  • 9th (or b9 or #9) can replace the root
  • 13th, b13th, b5, #5 can replace the 5th
  • 6th can replace the 7th
  • 4th or 2nd can replace the 3rd

This means that if we want to make an Am9 voicing you take the Am7 voicing and change A to B. You might notice that this means that you’ll be playing the notes B C E G which is a Cmaj7, so you can use Maj7 voicings to play minor 9 voicings. If you use the same approach to D7, you have D F# A C and that becomes E F# A C which is F#m7(b5). On Gmaj7 you have G B D F# and get  A B D F# which is Bm7.

These are vocings you already know, but you still need to get used to thinking of them as another type of chord. While playing you don’t have time to think of a voicing as a Bm7 inversion when the chord is a Gmaj7.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 2 ex 1

To get used to how the chords sound with 9s I have made II V I cadences in all positions:

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 2 ex 2

You’ll notice that I prefer just using the “category” Chord symbols Am7 even though I am playing the 9th. Think of it as part of the process of not having a one to one combination from chord symbol to voicing, something you probably already had to abandon with several ways to play a C or a G chord.

In example 3 I employ some more of the rules I listed above to make some more common voicings.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 2 ex 3

One of the ways I’d suggest you work on this is that you experiment with the voicings in a context, so that you can hear what they sound like. Learning inversions up and down the neck out of context is probably not very useful, and often you will not be practicing associating the voicing with the chord you need to use it for.

Example 4 is demonstrating a few variations of how a Gmaj7 chord can be played using Maj7, 9ths and 6th chords.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 2 ex 4

To give an example of how this works on a song I made a demonstration of it on the first 16 bars of Autumn Leaves. You could go check out how it compares with the exercise in the first lesson.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 2 ex 5

In the etude you’ll notice that I used mostly 9 chords through out. I did not add a 9 to the Am7b5 because I think the natural 9  does not fit the context here (it is of course possible, but I’d consider it a departure from the song). On the D7 I added a b9 since that is the most natural sound for a dominant resolving to a minor chord. I chose to use Gm6 and Gm6/9 on the tonic minor chords because I think that is a beautiful sound and it is often done in jazz.

I hope you can use the exercises to expand your Drop2 voicing repertoire and come up with some nice new chord voicings for the music you play.

In the 3rd lesson on Drop2 voicings I will talk more about alterations and give some examples of some more modern or advanced sounding harmonic choices.

As always you can download the examples as a PDF here:

Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings part 2

Check out how I use Drop2 voicings in this 3 chorus transcription/lesson:

Drop2 voicings on There will never be another you

I hope that you liked the lesson. If you have any questions or comments then feel free to leave them here or on the video. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Facebook, Google+ or Twitter to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.

 

How to make 10 II V I licks with a Gm7 arpeggio

This lesson came about from a conversation I had on twitter. I wanted to try to demonstrate how it is more important to be able to use simple arpeggios and other structures than knowing a lot of exotic scales or arpeggios. Because the good a lot of goods melodies can be made with very simple structures. This is why I took one arpeggio and used that in 10 II V I licks.

The Arpeggio

So as I mentioned the point of this is to demonstrate how you can put a fairly basic structure like a Gm7 arpeggio over a Gm7 chord to use and make a lot of melodies without substitutions or exotic scales. What I set out to do was to use this arpeggio in 10 II V I licks in F and not repeat myself. Here’s the arpeggio:

How to make 10 II V I licks with a Gm7 arpeggio - the arp

The II V I licks

The first line is trying to show a very basic way of using the root position arpeggio in a line. The Gm7 transitions into the C7 with a chromatic approach of the third of C(E). From there it continues in a melody mae with the Em7b5 arpeggio before it with a chromatic passing note resolves to the 3rd of F(A).

How to make 10 II V I licks with a Gm7 arpeggio - ex 1

In the 2nd line the arpeggio is played in a sequence and from the 7th is linked to a descending Dm7 arpeggio. On the C7 I used the altered scale and the line is based around a Bbm7b5 arpeggio with some diatonic passing notes. You can filter out the Bbm7b5 by looking at the notes on the beat. It resolves via the #9 and b9 of C to the 5th of F(C).

How to make 10 II V I licks with a Gm7 arpeggio - ex 2

The 3rd example is using a descending Gm7 arpeggio from the 3rd and continues with a Bb major “Coltrane” pattern. The whole line on the Gm7 is contained in the Gm pentatonic scale. On the C7alt chord the line is using the Ebm pentatonic scale and basically repeating the pattern on the Gm7, before resolving to the 5th of F(C).

How to make 10 II V I licks with a Gm7 arpeggio - ex 3

Now that we have had both ascending, descending and a sequence of the Gm7 arpeggio the 4th example is using a more freely moving melody with the arpeggio. The line moves from the 5th via the 7th and down to the root. From there it ascends up the sale and continues into a C7alt line that is based on a DbmMaj9 arpeggio. As you probably know Dbm Melodic is the same scale as C7 altered. The altered line is resolved via a smalle scale run with a chromatic passing note, and ends on the 5th(C) of F.

How to make 10 II V I licks with a Gm7 arpeggio - ex 4

In example 5 a similar melody is made with the Gm arpeggio, this time using it as a Gm7 shell voicing and then down the arpeggio to the 3rd(Bb). From there the melody skips up a major 7th to an A and descends down the scale. On the dominant the line is first two 3rds in the altered scale and then a line around the Dbm triad that resolves to the 5th of F.

How to make 10 II V I licks with a Gm7 arpeggio - ex 5

Example 6 demonstrates a very common way to use arpeggios in bebop is to place a chromatic leading note before the root and play the arpeggio as an 8th note triplet with the 7th as target. From there the line descends down the scale which somehow resolves the tension of the fast moving triplet. On the dominant the line is build around a sequence of the Gb7 dominant arpeggio that resolves to the 5th(C) of F.

How to make 10 II V I licks with a Gm7 arpeggio - ex 6

The 7th example is using the basic four note arpeggio descending from 7th to root. This is followed by a Dsus4 triad arpeggio which then moves to a a very clean sounding mixolydian line over the C7, consisting of two scale runs. The line resolves to the 7th(E) of Fmaj7.

How to make 10 II V I licks with a Gm7 arpeggio - ex 7

In example 8 the Gm7 line emphasizes the Bb major triad for the first part of the bar, but after that it is a descending Gm7 arpeggio ending in an encircling of the 3rd(E) of C7. On the C7 the line is using the diminished scale. First a C7 arpeggio and then an Amajor triad, which together spells out a C7(13b9) sound.

How to make 10 II V I licks with a Gm7 arpeggio - ex 8

Using an arpeggio is not only just playing the notes of the arpeggio, it can also be a emphasizing those notes within another melody. Example 9 is doing just that where it starts whith a scale run from G to D with the arpeggio notes on beats 1 to 3. The melody on the C7 is made using the triad pair Gb and Ab diatonic to the C7alt scale.This way of using two triads with no common notes to make lines is something I plan to make lessons on in the future. It can   be used quite effectively to make some nice lines. In this example the line is using Ab, Gb and then two notes of an Ab triad before resolving to the 5th of F.

How to make 10 II V I licks with a Gm7 arpeggio - ex 9

The final example is starting out with a sequence in the higher octave of the arpeggio. After that it is strictly descending from the 5th to the 3rd an octave lower. The line on the C7alt is infact the exact same movement but then with a Gb7 arpeggio, which is the tritone sub of C7. The line resolves to the 5th of Fmaj7.

How to make 10 II V I licks with a Gm7 arpeggio - ex 10

I hope that by demonstrating a few different approaches for making melodies with the Gm7 arpeggio you get some new ideas to expand your own vocabulary. Working on stuff like this is for me often a good way to get some new melodic ideas. I think it’s possible that I get more from lifting concepts like these of a transcription than actually studying the solo that is transcribed.

As always you can download the examples as a PDF here:

How to make 10 II V I licks with a Gm7 arpeggio

I hope that you liked the lesson. If you have any questions or comments then feel free to leave them here or on the video. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Facebook, Google+ or Twitter to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.

 

Drop 2 voicings – Part 1 – Jazz Chord Essentials

In this lesson on Drop2 chords I want to demonstrate a set of voicings that are fairly easy to play on the guitar and very useful for playing chords with extensions. I also want to talk a bit about how you approach playing chords in terms of interpretation of chord extensions, substitutes, connecting or voice-leading the chords. Hopefully it can help you learn and construct some new chords, and I hope it also helps you find new ways to play songs you already know and expand your ability to play chords freely.

What is a drop2 voicing

You might have heard the term Drop2 voicings before, and it is more or less considered basic voicing knowledge for mainstream jazz guitar. Lot’s of Wes Montgomery solos use drop2 voicings and it is also a huge part of bebop piano and bigband arranging.

To explain why drop2 voicings are very handy on guitar try to play the first half of example 1.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 1 - ex 1

You should quickly notice that these basic inversions of an Am7 chord are very difficult to play and almost impossible to change a note in. Mainly because they are very stretchy to play.

The term Drop2 comes from taking the 2nd higest note in each one and drop it down an octave. This makes it possible to get the notes together in one position and yields the 4 voicings in the 2nd bar of example 1. As you can tell these voicings are much easier to play and much more flexible so that we can change notes in them (that will prove essential in later lessons..)

Basic Exercises

I chose to keep it simple and only work with the top set of strings. In the long run it can be very useful to also check out the middle set of strings and possibly the lowest set. A complete overview of the drop2 voicings can be found here: Scale charts and chord voicings

If you have checked out my lesson:  Jazz Chord Survival Kit  You know that in a major scale we have four basic types of 7th chords: m7, dom7, maj7 and m7b5. Here are the voicings for those 4 types of chords on the top string set:

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 1 - ex 2

To get used to the sound of these chords and to get the voicings in to your fingers you should of course practice example 2 in all keys, but it can also be very useful to check out all cadences like I’ve written out in example 3:

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 1 - ex 3

This way of grouping the chords together in the order you are very likely to use them is of course also very handy. And important part of the cadences is also that I chose vocings that have correct voiceleading which in this case means that you just stay in the neighbourhood whenever changing to the next chord. You could consider doing the minor cadences too.

Another very useful exercise is to take the different drop2 inversions through a major scale as I have done in example 4. I only did two of the inversions, maybe try to figure out the last 2 by yourself. It should help getting to know major scales on the strings besides training the voicings themselves.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 1 - ex 4

Putting it to use

As soon as you have a basic understanding and ability to play these voicings it is just as important to start working towards using them in real music. Below I’ve written out how I play the first 16 bars of Autumn Leaves with drop2 voicings. You should try to do this with a few songs as well. Autumn Leaves, Fly Me To The Moon and All The Things You Are could be good tunes to try because they cover a lot of chords from the same key(and some in more keys as well..)

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 1 - ex 5

You could with this exercise of course try starting with each of the Cm7 voicings and then work out how to play the whole song, it will present you with choices because the guitar (like all instruments) have certain limitations for how low or high you want to go and then you should just try to find a practical and musical solution, that is how it works in a playing situation so that is what you should practice too.

In the next part of the drop2 lessons I’ll start working on how to add extensions and alterations to the voicings. I’ll also give some more practical advice on how to use the voicings.

I hope you can use the exercises to get started working on Drop2 voicings and that you can get it into you playing.

As always you can download the examples as a PDF here:

Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings part 1

Check out how I use Drop2 voicings in this 3 chorus transcription/lesson:

Drop2 voicings on There will never be another you

I hope that you liked the lesson. If you have any questions or comments then feel free to leave them here or on the video. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Facebook, Google+ or Twitter to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.

 

Adding Chords to Single Note Lines – Part 1

In this lesson I’ll discuss a few strategies for adding chords to your solo lines and give you some exercises and ideas to help you practice and figuring out how and when to add chords to your solo lines.

I’ve never really had any lessons on this and have sort of worked it out along the way while improvising so I had to look analyze this and try to remember how I worked on it to try to make some exercises and guidelines for learning this.

Why do we add chords to solos.

  1. To clarify the harmonic sound of a melody note by adding the sound of the chord it’s played over. It gives us the ability to play harmonically vague because we can make the notes sound like the extension of the chord.
  2. Add an extra layer that fills up spaces, so you can use the chords to clarify the harmony between the lines and also convey the groove that is being played under the solo.
  3. Give certain notes an accent within a melody by making them the top note of a chord.

How to practice

In this lesson I’ll be using an Am7 in the key of G major, what is also called A dorian and give you some exercises and ideas to help you practice adding chords and figuring out how and when to add chords to your solo lines.

When I was listening to how I place the chords I realized that for me the chords are mostly  at the end of lines because if they are at the beginning you probably have to mute them right away. If they are at the end of a line they can help reinforce the last note (and maybe the previous melody)

If you get used to knowing where the line you’re playing ends (the target note) then you’ll have an easier time being ready to put a chord under it. I already made a lesson on target notes that you can check out to get better at this.

THe first exercise is a demonstration of how you can put Am7 chords under the notes in A dorian around the 5th position. When you try to play like this you are probably better of not restricting yourself too rigidly to positions. I’ve started with the E on the D string, if you try to harmonize lower notes than that it might get too muddy.

Adding Chords to Single Note Lines - Part 1 - Ex 1

As you can see I us fewer notes the lower the melody this is also to get clear voicings since it can be difficult to get clarity with dense low voicings. The higher the melody is the more notes you can fit under it, but you should of course keep the voicings so easy to play that you can easily add them to the solo, so big stretches and huge voicings are often not too practical.

Another observation I made about my own playing is that I very often add the chord after the line has ended. This is probably for two reasons, it takes away the risk of the melody disappearing in the chord because the top note does not get enough emphasis. The other reason is that if you add the chord afterwards it gives a little more of the feeling that the chords are independent of the melody and therefore more polyhponic.

Adding Chords to Single Note Lines - Part 1 - Ex 2

When you start practicing you should probably just start in rubato and try to add a chord in the way it is done in example 2 at the end of the phrase. Then once that is starting to work try to play lines in a slow tempo and try to always add a chord at the end of the line.

Make sure to record yourself and check that the melody is clear when you start playing chords. The point is to use chords to empasize the solo line, not the other way around (in this lesson anyway…)

Solo Lines with chords

The first example is a fairly straight forward Am7 line. First an Am7 shell voicing as arpeggio and then an Em pentatonic descending scale fragment ending on the 13(F#) that is then harmonized as an Am7(13) chord. Here the chord on the last note makes the somewhat unclear extension clear as n Am7(13) chord and not a D7 or Gmaj7 resolution.

Adding Chords to Single Note Lines - Part 1 - Ex 3

In the 2nd example the chords are used more as accents, so they are there not only there to support the harmonic picture but also to add weight to some of the notes in the melody. The first movement is a scale run from D, via E to B where the first and the last note of the run is harmonized with an Am7(11) and Am9 respectibely. After that the line is resolved with another Am9 chord on the and of 4. This way of harmonizing the low 9 on an Am chord is something I find my self doing quite often.

Adding Chords to Single Note Lines - Part 1 - Ex 4

For the 3rd example I wanted to demonstrate a bit more of how you might add chords in a way that really emphasizes the 2 layes present in the solo. The first bar is quite straight forward. The A is harmonized with an Am triad and followed by a scale run down to the E which is harmonized as a major 3rd interval. In the 2nd bar I am using a part of the 2nd exercise to add chords right after the melody notes and then finally resolve to an Am7(11) chord on the and of 4.

Adding Chords to Single Note Lines - Part 1 - Ex 5

I hope that you can use the exercises and examples I made here to get started with using Adding chords to your solos. As always you will probably learn more from making you own lines than just copying mine, and you probably need to make your own versions of the voicing exercises too so that they fit the type of chords that you are used to working with.

Download a pdf of the examples for later study here:

Adding Chords to Single Note Lines – Part 1

I hope that you liked the lesson. If you have any questions or comments then feel free to leave them here or on the video. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Facebook, Google+ or Twitter to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.

 

Motif Exercises – F Jazz Blues

Creating melodies that connect and make sense across several chords and scales is a skill that you need to master if you want to be able to make solos that keep the listeners attention and is experineced as musical. In this lesson I am going to have a look at an important tool in achieving this skill: Motifs.

Once you can make your way throught the changes of a tune you are probably going to have to start working making the solo more of a coherent whole, which is a big part of what the listener will experience as a musical solo. Motifs and making variations on motifs is a fundamental tool that keeps the listeners attention by playing something that is recognize and at the same time by making variations is developed and sound surprising. If you want to hear examples of how this is used try to lesson to Beethoven’s 5th symphony, Gary Moore’s Still Got The Blues or practically any Keith Jarret solo.

I’ve chosen to use an F blues as a progression for this lesson because it’s a very common progression where you can harmonically do quite a lot to demonstrate what is needed and how it works.

Moving Motifs in a progression

There are a few ways we can work a motif over a progression. One way to do so is to transpose it so if a motiv start on the 5th of the first chord we’ll transpose it so that it is the 5th of the next chord where we play it. The melodies that we get when doing this are following the harmony in parallel and sometimes it works, but often it does not sound too great.

Another more useful way to move motifs is to keep them as close to the original and only change the notes that need to change to fit the next place in the harmony. This approach will in general sound a little less like an exercise in harmony and create a more varied melody.

The first skill we need to work on is probably to over see the notes of a melodic fragment and then to be able to alter notes to fit on other chords. In example 1 I have done this with a simple F major line. The example is quite simple and sounds a bit exercise like, but is still a good demonstration of how you could move this motif around an F Blues.

Motif Exercises - F Jazz Blues ex 1

As you can see the first 4 bars keeps the motif: First F major, then F minor over the Bb7, back to major and then an F#m as an F7 altered. In the second line it is againg the Fm version over the Bb7 which then gets an added blue note over the Bdim. After that it returns to F7, and becomes an F# dim like line over the D7(b9). On the Gm7 it is in fact the original motif transposed a whole step, and the C7alt is an F# major line. Then back to F and the final C7 line is a variation from the diminished scale.

There are not really any rules, you need to practice doing this so that it fits the chords, so sometimes that means moving the whole motif, sometimes you only change a single note. It is also a matter of taste as to how much it has to sound like the chord or just be a melodic statement of course. In Example 1 I think I managed to really spell out the harmony though.

Developing the motif

Once you can move a motif like this through the changes you probably need to work on ways to vary it so that you can get to the point where you actually create music without sounding like an exercise. There are numerous ways of molding a melodic statement, and maybe later I am going to go into a few more ways in detail. In this lesson I am going to give 3 fairly simple ways to work with it and a few more in the final example.

When you’re working on this it is probably useful to stick with the same chord in the beginning. In Example 2 I have taken the F statement from example 1 and then make variations by changing the 2nd note of the melody. When played one after the other it becomes clear how this will work as a way of creating melodies with this method:

Motif Exercises - F Jazz Blues ex 2

Another way is to change the order of the notes. In example 3 I am changing the ending of the line a few times. The fact that I change the ending works well because now when you listen you first hear a part of the statement that you already know, and then it ends in a new way everytime.
Motif Exercises - F Jazz Blues ex 3

The 3rd way to make variation is to change the rhythm of the original melody. Again a very powerful tool that is a very good way to get surprising melodies out of a single statement. In example 4 I am not really changing the rhythm, only putting the melody on another part of the bar. There are of course a lot of other ways to change the rhythm. There are a few in the last example.

Motif Exercises - F Jazz Blues ex 4

Putting it all together

Now that we talked a bit about how we can move a motif through changes and a few ways to vary the melodies you should be able to make solos not too far from example 5.

Motif Exercises - F Jazz Blues ex 5

The first bar is the original statement from the Example 1 again. In Bar 2 it is moved to the Fm version that fits the Bb7 very well. It is also moved to another part of the bar. The third time is back in F major with another ending. The F7alt motif has a doubled note which also yields a new rhythm. On the Bb7 I added an F as an upbeat and the Bdim version has two notes doubled. The F7 is back to the original and the D7 is again the original altered to fit a G harmonic minor scale (which is what is being used over that D7). On The Gm7 I am doubling the entire motif and playing it twice (crossing the barline into the C7) This moves the placement of the F# line that is used over the C7alt. In the last two I return to the original and use the C7(13b9) version as I do in example 1 (this is afterall a composed example).

I hope you can use the examples and guidelines that I presented here to start using motifs in your own solo and that it will help you get closer to really create new music and not just play what you already know in your solos.

As always you can download a PDF of the examples here for later study:

Motif Exercises – F Jazz Blues

If you want to check out an example solo that I wrote with three choruses on an F blues only using the arpeggio notes I have one available for sale in my store: F Jazz Blues Etude 1 – Basic Arpeggios

If you have any questions or comments then feel free to leave them here or on the video. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, Google+ or Twitter to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.