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Jayesskerr

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Reply with quote  #1 
So hey, some thoughts on iimin7 - v7 and Imaj7; Hopefully it helps. Take a good look at it, this will remove a LOT of the ambiguity surrounding getting startedplaying changes and maybe allow you to use stuff you already know to be able to leverage existing knowledge and get to playing music as opposed to doing exercises… Again, I hope this helps, and I hope it enables you to demystify the stuff you are working on. These concepts are the starting point so maybe think of it as a sort of basic cheat sheet.
 
1) The key signature is crucial. When first working on your improvising you are probably NOT going to have the reaction time to be playing note for note arpeggios and scales per chord over this (I mean - you CAN, but it's a lot of work...) it's much easier to be playing key signatures. That is, how many sharps and flats there are in that moment. This series of chord changes, if we look at it in the key of C major gives us Dmin Gmaj Cmaj or, with 7th extensions = Dmin7 G7 Cmaj7. So yeah, looking for key centres in a tune...
 
2) You can play geometry if you want, but familiarity is the key. Great improvisers train to be a) rhythmically fluid/solid and b) extremely familiar with what they are playing over. Knowing what you are playing over gives you options, not knowing equals frustration, confusion and a feeling of “I went over it, but I don’t know it…” 
 
 Some crucial knowledge;
 
Dmin = DFA Gmaj = GBD and Cmaj = CEG. Mush them all together and you have DFAGBDCEG. Put them in order and you have CDEFGABC. Notice how many sharps and flats? None. All white keys on a piano...That is the key of C major. 
 
Yes, D Dorian goes over the iimin7 chord (Dmin) D Dorian = DEFGABC Notice how many sharps or flats? None. All white keys on a piano...That is the key of C major. D Dorian IS C major, but doesn’t really happen until it is played over a Dminor chord in the context of a chord change WITH NO SHARPS OR FLATS. C major. 

Yes, G Mixolydian goes over the v7 chord (Gmaj) G Mixolydian = GABCDEF Notice how many sharps or flats? None. All white keys on a piano...That is the key of C major. G Mixolydian IS C major, but doesn’t really happen until it is played over a G7 in the context of a chord change WITH NO SHARPS OR FLATS. C major once again…
 
So wait a sec, what about 7th chords? Okay. The extensions of these chords is Dmin7 G7 and Cmaj7. DFAC and GBDF and CEGB. See any sharps or flats? Didn’t think so. Mush ‘em all together and you have DFACGBDFCEGB. Still all white keys… put them in order, and CDEFGABC - C major! 
 
SO wait a sec, what about pentatonic scales Scott Kerr you lazy Bum?!!?!
 
Okay. D minor pentatonic. That’s for Dmin or Dmin7. G Major Pentatonic - That will be for G or G7. And C Major Pentatonic, that will be for Cmaj or Cmaj7.
 
D minor pentatonic = DFGABC (Technically a Dmin7 with an added 11 - But look no sharps or flats, effing perfect!) And hey, G Major Pentatonic = GABDE (Technically a Gmaj6 with an added 9, but again - NO DARNED SHARPS OR FLATS!!! Awesome…Coincidentally these are also the same notes as our open strings…) And C Major Pentatonic = CDEAG (Technically a Gmaj6 with an added 9, but again - NO BLOODY SHARPS OR FLATS!!!)
 
All this major to minor bs is confusing. Relative major to minor; 
D minor = F Major 
E minor = G Major
A minor = C Major
 
ADE = minor 145 in this key
CFG = major 145 in this key
 
Mush them all together and… DFGABCGABDECDEAG  O… m…. g… no sharps or flats….
Some, or all of these scales, at any point of the progression will work well depending on your rhythmic intent.
 
Open strings = EADGBE barred at 12th fret = EADGBE. Barre strings at 10th fret = DGCFAD barre strings at 5th or 17th fret = ADGCEA HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, NO SHARPS OR FLATS!!! KEY OF C MAJOR!!!
 
Major Triads = Cmaj Fmaj Gmaj = CEG FAC GBD = HOLY SHIT!!! You could play any of these arpeggios at any point over top of the whole progression, and be outlining the changes and sounding semi-hip!
Mush ‘em all together and what do you have…? CEGACGBD put ‘em in order, and what is it…? The key signature of no sharps or flats; C Major.
 
Minor Triads = Amin Dmin Emin = ACE FDFA EGB = HOLY SHIT!!! You could play any of these arpeggios at any point over top of the whole progression, and be outlining the changes and still sounding semi-hip!
Mush ‘em all together and what do you have…? ACEFDFAEGB put ‘em in order, and what is it…? The key signature of no sharps or flats; C Major.
 
OK, put all of it together and you have every chord in C major. Except one. Cmaj Fmaj Gmaj Amin Dmin Emin We are missing Bdiminished triad, and Bmin7b5 as an extended chord. NOT B Diminished 7. An important distinction.
 
BDF = B diminished triad, and BDFA = Bminor7b5 See any sharps or flats? No? Guess what key it is in? Yes. You guessed it. No sharps or flats.
 
HERE IS THE COOL THING
 
Every one of these chords, when played over a different root note that is STILL from the same key signature ends up becoming a different chord.
 
For example. 
Eminor triad over top of the C chord = C played by the bass, and EGB played by you = Cmaj7. 
Aminor triad over top of the C chord = C played by the bass, and ACE played by you = Cmaj6. 
Dminor triad over top of the C chord = C played by the bass, and DFA played by you = Cmaj6add9add11. 
B Diminished triad over top of the C chord = C played by the bass, and BDF played by you = Cmaj7add9add11. 
 
Eminor triad over top of the Dmin chord = D played by the bass, and EGB played by you = Dmin9add11add13. 
Aminor triad over top of the Dmin chord = D played by the bass, and ACE played by you = Dmin7add9.
 
C Major triad over top of the Dmin chord = D played by the bass, and CEG played by you = Dmin9add11
F Major triad over top of the Dmin chord = D played by the bass, and FAC played by you = Dmin7
G Major triad over top of the Dmin chord = D played by the bass, and GBD played by you = Dmin9add11add13
 
Etc etc -
 
The main takeaway:  you don’t need to know all of the names, but know this; you can superimpose any of the notes FROM a key signature, OVER a chord progression FROM the same key signature. You can organize it however you want, choose to use, or not use whatever notes you want but fundamentally - the gist of playing the right notes over this chord progression hinges on recognizing what notes are in the chord progression, and playing those. 
 
So really, with this information, to truly make use of it;
1) Knowing the chord progression you are playing over down cold.
2) Knowing many, many variations of the same chord progression (songs - eek!)
3) In jazz, its 251 blues 145 pop 1645 Same concept prevails... tons of variations and overlap of course, but these make for a good starting point...
4) Know your intervals. Here 'em, write 'em, name 'em...
5) Know your chords.(That means knowing what notes are in each chord)
6) Know your scales/key signatures. Understand relative minor, and then modality. Then it's about the harmony of these 3 scales really; Major, Harmonic Minor, Melodic Minor, and Blues. Of course, there are others, but most western music is easily covered by these 4.
7)Transpose to all 12 keys.
8) All about rhythm. Rhythm is the one element of music that is infinite. Melody is just a noise without rhythm. Harmony is just a bunch of noises together without rhythm. Rhythm is what enables you to listen to the dryer and kind of enjoy it. Rhythm stands on it’s own...

More to come... (I will check it over in case I made any typos)

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rcneville

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Reply with quote  #2 
Yoicks! What a blast of info! I really appreciate both the impulse and all the work it takes to produce a post like that one. It is just the kind of help I need at this point. More is welcome if you have the strength :-). I hope that dumb questions are welcome. Thanks, R
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rclere

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Reply with quote  #3 
Most Excellent! thanks for this!

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Titan Uranus

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Reply with quote  #4 

i always knew this as Polychords....basically, sticking two triads together to form one giant chord........works great in soloing.........

oh, btw, im a n00b....found out about this place on TalkBass....I play 10-string Stick, Matched Reciprocol tuning

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Jayesskerr

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Reply with quote  #5 
Wow, what a name. "Titan Uranus" - It's a bit like "Leave a Tip" Definitely says something lol

A couple of other ideas - hopefully they help somewhat? I know that on Stick, Greg Howard Emmett Chapman and Bob Culbertson make extensive use of chord inversions and in Emmett's tunings the geometry for chord inversion is extremely efficient - Even so in mirrored 4ths...
 
1) Nearest inversion. That means that whatever chord you are playing as either a chord, or an arpeggio, you will want the nearest inversion available so as to utterly simplify your hand movement.
For instance, in the key of ‘C’ in ii-v-I land, using 145 triads CEG FAC GBD doesn’t make sense to always start from the ‘root note’; so something like this would make a lot more sense and sound a lot less video gamey -  CEG CFA DGB.   The relative minor 145 in the same key  would be ACE DFA EGB nearest inversion being ACE ADF BEG. If you wanted to get really fussy and have the exact “chord-to-chord” relationship, 251 triads might look like this; (Root InversionDFA GBD CEG (Nearest InversionDFA DGB EGC. Just ideas...
 
2) Getting “ready” to play the notes. 3 things (There are many more in my opinion) that I think are valuable for working on helping develop improvisational abilities...
  • Transcription learning someone’s solo by ear and writing it down, and no - no tablature allowed.
  • Constant readthroughs and analysis of “great” solos - or musical works that you deem important. Really, it can be anything from Bach to Django to Kurt Cobain. No right or wrong, we are all different. 
  • Writing your own solos. Write ‘em down, commit to it and play it in class and then prepared to be judged by yourself (harshly hahaha). This means creating your own vocabulary of things you like the sound of, prepared for use in varied musical situations. 

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