Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dorian #4

  Ok so I mentioned how to "Jazz Up Your Blues" but what about other styles??  Well we all love to rock but after you have explored all of the diatonic modes where do you go from there?  Let suppose that you improvising over an Em chord using the E Dorian mode.  If your reading this I hope you understand the E Dorian is really the second mode of D major.  So in essence your playing a D major scale over an Em chord.  Well isn't D major also B minor(relative minor)?  So I guess you could say your playing a B minor scale over an E minor chord and that would also be correct.  
  Stay with me here.  Ok what about B harmonic minor?  That is really only one note away from B natural minor(minor scale with a major 7th) so there for if you played B harmonic minor of the Em chord you would only be one note away from E Dorian where we started.  In fact if you were to harmonize a B harmonic minor scale Em would indeed be the 4 chord of that scale!  So how would that effect my E Dorian mode?  Well the raised 7th of the B harmonic minor(A#) would be the #4 in relationship to the E Dorian giving you Dorian #4.  Ta da!
   The great thing about this is you have dipped into another resource because B harmonic minor, the parent scale of E Dorian #4, is indeed its own scale with it's own harmony that you can use to superimpose over the E minor chord!  For example if you were to harmonize a B harmonic minor scale the 7th chord would be A#dim7.  Try playing and A#dim7 arp over your E minor chord!  Delicious!  Of course dim7th arps are symmetrical in minor 3rds so you could repeat this process in minor 3rd up and down the neck!  Good times!  Now you can play your Yngwie licks in unsuspecting places implying a whole other sound!  Fantastic!!  Give it a try and let me know how you fare!!  Feel free to leave comments or subscribe.  I will try to put nuggets up every now and then!  Cheers!!!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jazzin Your Blues!

  I have to admit, when I was younger I didn't care much for Jazz.  I was way into rock and blues and such but couldn't get much into jazz.  I am a bit older now and must admit, I don't spend a lot of time listening to jazz but I certainly enjoy playing a realbook tune with a friend or a student and some of that knowledge has certainly spilled over into my blues and rock playing and that's just fine.
  A few tricks you can do to make your blues a bit more jazzy when you are improvising is to imply a 2-5-1 lick in the 4th measure of your 12 bar blues.  For example, if your in the key of A in the forth measure imply an Em7 and an A7alt in your lines and it will create nice tension as you traverse to to your 4 chord.  Of course there are many ways you can imply the A7alt sound.  An altered scale, whole tone, dominant diminished, b5 sub arp, are great devices for this sound.  The combinations are vast thus making this technique a fun and seemingly endless supply of fresh lines to jazz up your blues.  Robben Ford, Scott Henderson, John Scofield, Mike Stern, are some resources to hear this in context.  I think these guys are good examples of jazzy/blues guys maybe leaning a little towards jazz.
  Give it a try and let me know how you fare!  Cheers!

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