Friday, February 21, 2014

Dorian b2

    Teaching at Musicians Institute certainly has its advantages.  Sharing knowledge with younger folks can be a hoot and I certainly love the enthusiam of students as they traverse the musical landscape and discoveries that awate them!  I too still am very much a student and am always looking for new musical ideas so sharing knowledge and ideas with other teachers is really great!  So having said that, while I would love to take full credit of the concept Im going to share with you, I must give full credit to the great Dave Hill!
    Dave is a killer musician and super great guy.  I never pass up an oppurtunity to poke my head into his open counciling.  One day I had a few minutes and grabbed my guitar and sat in on Dave's class and jammed a little.  Now Dave is much more of a jazz player and he has many more tricks up his sleeve in this genre than myself.  The idea he shared with me was using Dorian b2 over an altered 5 chord when resolving to a major 1 chord.  I was like huh??  Then he elegantly explain to me why it worked because after trying this with him over a 2-5-1 vamp, I was sold!
   Dorian b2 is the 2nd mode of Melodic Minor.  I have tried this mode on occasion jamming over a minor 7th chord vamp, but it really didn't tickle my ear enough to persue it.  Maybe a little more time with it let my ear except it but that is for future persuits.  However, when used in the context I described above, it is very melodic.  I encourage you to stop reading and go try it and hear how it sounds then come back and read on as I will explain how/why it works.
   Back?  Sounds nice doesn't it.  Of course good phrazing and some heart and soul can make just about everything sounds good but it doesn't hurt to know why it works.  So, let me explain... If you think about the extensions that can be added over a functioning 5 chord(b2/9, #2/9, b5 and #5), two of those will be represented in the Dorian b2 mode.  Let's spell out an A Dorian b2 mode... A(1), Bb(b2),
C(b3), D(4), E(5), F#(maj6/13), G(b7).  We have the b2(Bb) and the b3(C) which is the enharmonic equivilent of a #2/9(B#).  Thats 2 of the 4 altered extension we could apply to our dominant chord.  The cool thing is, the maj 6th in the Dorian b2 is the major 3rd of your 1 chord.  This is why this mode is so melodic when applied this way!
   So, grab a friend and vamp over a 2-5-1 lets say in the key of D.  Em7/A7/Dmaj7.  Over the A7 chord try Dorian b2.  I gaurentee it will surprise you and put a smile on your face.  In application you could just play Melodic Minor from the b7(G in this case) as Dorian b2 is the 2nd mode of Melodic Minor.  As Dave described, it also implies a minor 4chord which once he mentioned it, I heard it right away.  Very Cool!
   This one is a little long winded but I wanted to give credit where credit is due!  Check out Dave Hill!!  Amazing musician!!  Cheers!!