Arpeggios and scales are often reduced to the notes they contain against a chord, but by doing that you throw away other information that is more important for the sound of your jazz solo, and this is something you want to be aware of and not miss.
It is a way to get so much more out of scales and even pentatonic scales that you already know because you can use them in a different way.
What is the difference?
If you listen to how quartal arpeggios sound on a II V I:
Compared to a more traditional bop line:
Of course, you can mix the two as well, but I think this makes the difference quite clear.
There are a few ways to approach this, and I am going to go over both diatonic and pentatonic options using the II V I in G major: Am7 D7alt Gmaj7
The Scale and a Diatonic Arpeggio exercise
For the Am7 and Gmaj7, you can use the G major scale, and it is fairly easy to play a G major scale in diatonic quartal arpeggios:
The construction of a diatonic quartal arpeggio is really simple:
G A B C D E F# G A B C D
if you want to find the quartal arpeggio on B you just stack 4th intervals: B E A:
or for C: C F# B, but notice here that you get an augmented 4th between C and F#:
Using this on the Am7 chord
It is easy to make some lines using these arpeggios on Am7, especially if you avoid using the ones with the F# in there (for now anyway)
That gives us these:
Example using Quartal Arpeggios on Am7
Here I am using two quartal arpeggios on Am7, the one from B and the one from A. I actually continue with quartals on the D7 altered, but I am going to cover those a little later. First, let’s try to come at this from a pentatonic scale instead of a major scale.
Am pentatonic scale and an important exercise
You all know the Am pentatonic scale:
And if you play this exercise in that scale:
A lot of these are quartal arpeggios (high light and explain) also the C and Am triads
Example using the Pentatonic scale
You can use this as a way to get to this sound in a lick like this
Quartal Arpeggios on an Altered Dominant
Now let’s look at how you can also use quartal harmony on an altered dominant:
Here I am using quartal harmony on all 3 chords and it is constructed so that I am moving two quartal arpeggios on each chord as a motif.
You can practice the quartal arpeggios in the Eb melodic minor
See this in use on a song:
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