In this week’s post I wanted to talk about a scale that does not get a lot of mention in improvisation classes, but it one that is quite effective and easy to learn. That scale is the Harmonic Major scale. Some of you may be wondering, “Wait a second Jason…harmonic MAJOR? I have heard of the harmonic minor scale, but what is the harmonic major scale?” Well, I am glad you asked! Before we take a look at the harmonic major scale, let’s take a look at the more common harmonic minor scale.
The harmonic minor scale is a minor scale that has a lowered (flat) 6th scale degree and a major 7th scale degree as shown in the example below.
There has been quite a bit written about this scale and its uses. However, we are going to look at the harmonic major scale. The harmonic major scale is essentially a major scale with a lowered (flat) 6th scale degree. The C-harmonic major scale is shown below.
The harmonic major scale, like every other scale, can be used over various harmonies. One of my favorite uses is over V7(b9) chords. If you take the harmonic major scale and start on the 5th scale degree (if in C…that means you would start on the G), it fits perfectly over the V7(b9) chord. Another way to think about it is if you have a V7(b9) chord, you can use the harmonic major scale a perfect fourth up from the root of the V7(b9) chord. You get the b9 of the V7 chord, but none of the other alterations that are found/heard when you would use a diminished or altered scale.
The example below is a line based off of the C harmonic major scale played over the G7(b9) chord:
I personally like the sound between the flat-6th and major 7th. The scale still has an exotic texture to it-yet still has that familiar major feeling at the same time. I hope this tip has added some value or benefit to your playing!
For more information on how you can use the harmonic major OR harmonic minor scale to creatively target notes in your improvisations you can check out my book Targeting: Improvisation with Purpose or Breaking the Monotony at my Digital Store.
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In this week’s post I wanted to show you how you can enhance your jazz improv practice routine by using the Lick of the Day here on this site. I believe you should practice the tools necessary to be successful in improvisation on a regular basis (if not every day). One of those tools is adding vocabulary.
If you don’t have an improv practice routine I’d invite you to try this out for a few weeks. You will have a noticeable improvement in just a few weeks. On the right hand side of the homepage there is a different lick/riff/motif posted every day. The instructions below the Lick of the Day talk about the different things you can do to add that lick into your vocabulary. I know for some of you that you like to have things laid out so here is a sample practice routine you can use with the Lick of the Day:
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tip and that it has added value and benefit to your playing in some way. As most of you know-the Jason Klobnak Quintet was in the studio on March 14-15th and we finished the tracking session for our album Mountain, Move. We still need to finish mixing/mastering and then print the album. I need your help in getting us there. Every book sale, Skype Lesson, clinic and donation get us closer. Go to our Digital Store today to help us finish Mountain, Move!
Welcome to week #29, which is the last tip before Christmas! If you’re still looking for ideas for a musician’s Christmas (or other holiday) gift, then Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose would be an affordable and practical gift! The E-book version works great on mobile devices and the printed version is sturdy and sits nicely on a music stand. For more information, you can click on the link to the right or you can go to Jason Klobnak Music. If this is your first time here…welcome! If you’re a returning visitor, welcome back!
Last week we looked at how we can use major lines over minor harmony. This week, we’re going to continue with our similar theme of how we can use our current licks over other harmonies. We’re going to look at how we can use minor lines over minor 7 (b5) chords, or as some known them- half-diminished. To some, this may seem like a no-brainer, but I hope this opens up some new possibilities for some of you.
We’ve all seen this chord in a progression before (many times in a minor ii-V-i): Xmin7(b5). Some of you may wonder, “what can I do with that?” I want to share a quick, but effective tip that should help give you more melodic ideas over that chord (or progression). If you base your ideas off of the melodic minor starting on the flat 3rd of the Xmin7(b5)…you can now use your “minor” lines over the Xmin7(b5). For instance, if you have an Amin7(b5)…your ideas in C minor (more specifically, C-melodic minor) will work over the Amin7(b5).
Let’s take a look at this idea in three brief examples below over the minor ii-V-i progression. Over each of the Amin7(b5) examples below, you’ll see lines that I might construct in C-minor in place of the Amin7(b5).
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tip and hope that many of you find it beneficial for you or your students! Please feel free to share this tip (or blog) with your friends, colleagues and students. For easy access, you can use the Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+ links below. Also, please feel free to share this on any site or blog that you’re a contributor for as I’d love to continue to see people benefiting from this. Merry Christmas!
Welcome to week #28! If this is your first time here…welcome! If you’re a returning visitor, welcome back! As I mentioned last week, we’re almost at the end of the 2011 calendar year. If you’re still looking for ideas for a musician’s Christmas (or other holiday) gift, then Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose would be an affordable and practical gift! The E-book version works great on mobile devices and the printed version is sturdy and sits nicely on a music stand. For more information, you can click on the link to the right or you can go to Jason Klobnak Music.
Last week we looked at how we can use minor lines over dominant chords/harmony. This week, we’re going to look at how we can use some of our major lines over minor chords/harmony. Due to the structure of how most major licks or lines are built, they fit nicely over minor chords (especially over dorian minor). The 1, 3, 5 & 7 of the major line become the b7, 9th, 11th and 13th over the minor chord. This approach works nicely when you play your “major” line a whole step below the minor chord. For example, playing a C-major line over a Dmin7 chord.
Below are three examples of taking a typical major line that I might play over a Dmin7 chord. Notice how the lines still have the targeting principles mentioned in past week posts (but the targeting employed is targeting the Dmin7 harmony and not necessarily the implied major).
Try experimenting with some of your favorite major licks/lines and putting them over minor chords/harmony. This is not something that will work 100% of the time and you need to use your ears to decide if it fits or not. If it doesn’t fit, ask yourself why and see if you can alter the line slightly to make it work over the changes.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tip! Please share this tip (& blog) with your friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, or any other site you’re a contributor. For your convenience, there are links below that will allow you to quickly share. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back as the last couple of tips of the year are one’s you wont want to miss!
Week #27 is here and we’re almost at the end of the 2011 calendar year. If you’re still looking for ideas for a musician’s Christmas (or other holiday) gift, then Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose would be an affordable and practical gift! The E-book version works great on mobile devices and the printed version is sturdy and sits nicely on a music stand. For more information, you can click on the link to the right or you can go to Jason Klobnak Music.
This week we’re going to talk about how you can use your minor lines over dominant chords. If you talk with those who use the bebop approach, many times they will take a ii-V-I progression and play the V7 sound over both the iimin7 and the V7. Blues players often times will do the opposite (play the iimin7 sound over both the iimin7 and the V7). Many players use this particular approach because it gives their lines more of a bluesy sound. One of my favorite guitar players, Pat Martino, has material that he has written where he goes in-depth on this approach (playing minor lines over X chords). Other great guitar teachers talk about this approach as well and is something I often find myself using to change the color of a progression.
One of the reasons that playing a minor line over a dominant chord sound bluesy is because the line often includes the 11th scale degree (or 4th). Many educators talk about the 4th scale degree as an “avoid” note, but I think the 4th doesn’t need to be omitted or avoided, but if you use it as a passing tone or half-step above targeting the 3rd…it gives a bluesy sound that you hear used A LOT by musicians we admire.
The first example below is a line that I might use over a Gmin7 chord. However, you’ll notice that the line also works great over a C7 chord. The arpeggio at the beginning outlines a Gmin7 chord, but over the C7 it outlines the 5th, flat 7th, 9th and 11th of the C7 chord (the 11th resolves to the 3rd on beat 3).
The next two examples are similar Gmin7 lines that also work over the C7 chord. The lines aren’t “blues” licks, but they do have a bluesy effect because of the minor over dominant sound.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tip! The remainder of 2011’s tips will be looking at how we can use some of our lines over different harmonies. You don’t want to miss the next couple of weeks. If you’ve enjoyed this week’s tip, please share it with your friends and colleagues via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, RSS feeds or any other site that you’re a contributor. I’m glad to hear this blog (and the book) has been helping countless numbers across the globe and hope to continue seeing others positively impacted!