The Augmented Triad

I have been making edits so I can have short previews of the songs that will be on my Mountain, Move. album and heard something that I thought would be great to talk about. So, in this week’s post we will look at the augmented triad and how we can use it to creatively target notes in our improvisations. I love using the augmented triad because it does not have the typical triad sound. To many listeners it causes an unexpected, “whoa…what was that?” response. This makes it a great tool to have in your improv arsenal.

I know there are a number of beginner visitors, so we will take a brief look at the augmented triad itself. An augmented triad is simply a major triad with a raised 5th (see example below):

 

The augmented triad is a great candidate to use as a tool for targeting. I invite you to check out some of the many different previous posts on targeting on this site as well as my book, Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose to get a better understanding of how to fully utilize this concept. But, we will take a look at a few different ways you can use the augmented triad to target. The augmented triad is symmetrical. That means no matter which inversion you start on you will have an augmented triad. The examples below will be using the G (or B, or Eb) augmented triad over a V7-I pattern.

The first example takes the augmented triad in a descending order (starting on the “B”) and resolves up a half step to land on the root of the I chord (Cmaj9):

The second example is an infamous lick that you will hear many great improvisers using in their solos. In this case, the augmented triad doesn’t directly lead into the targeted note (D). Instead of continuing down to the Eb (continuing the triad), the line resolves up to the D (which is the targeted note of the line…the 2nd/9th of the Cmaj9):

 

Our final example uses the augmented triad with another targeting concept (the chromatic target) to target the 5th of the I chord (Cmaj9):

 

One of my favorite ways to use the augmented triad to target notes is over the V7-I harmonic movement. There are other ways to implement the augmented triad, but I wanted to share my favorite. For the V7-I movement you can think about it a number of different ways. For instance, you could think about using an augmented triad on the 5th of the I chord or the root of the V7 chord. You can think about using an augmented triad a half-step below the root of the I chord or the 3rd of the V7 chord. Or you can think about using an augmented triad a flat third from I chord or the b13 of the V7 chord. Whatever works best for you. One goal I try to reach with my students is to narrow things down so you have less to think about while playing.

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s tip and that it has added value and benefit to your and/or your students playing in some way!

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Improv Tip Week #25-Intervalic Series-Triad Pairs 2

Welcome back to week #25 where we’re going to continue with our Intervalic Series and giving some more insight into triad pairs. If this is your first time visiting this site…welcome! I’d like to invite you to check out this week’s tip as well as other tips (1-24) that have been posted and take a look around. Also, if you’re a returning visitor…thank you and welcome back! I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and find them beneficial to your playing! Let’s dive in to our second week of triad pairs

Last week we opened up the discussion of triad pairs and I want to continue this week by giving you another practical way we can use them through the lens of targeting and give you a great exercise to work on to help get this sound deep in your ear.

First, let’s expand on the exercise that I gave last week. Last week’s exercise was simply playing up and down the triad pairs in their inversions. This week’s exercise is the same exercise (in a different key), but adding a chromatic half step (either above or below) to connect the different triad pair inversions. This exercise will get the sound of these triad pairs under your fingers and in your ears. If necessary, I suggest writing these out in the key areas that are not familiar to you. However, the best route is to play this exercise in all keys without writing them out.

Last week we looked at how we can use triad pairs over the ii-V-I progression. This week, we’re going to look at them over a different harmonic structure. We’re going to use the triad pair (F/G) over a Fmaj7(#11) chord. Triad pairs on the 4th and 5th scale degrees of a major scale/key area are great for using over diatonic chords. A Fmaj7(#11) chord is in the “key” of C, so we can use the F and G triads because they help define that chord’s harmonic structure. Below is a musical example mixed with the exercise above over a Fmaj7(#11). Notice how we’re targeting the “B” (or #11) in the second measure and how the added chromatic note helps us land on that note on beat 1:

By now, you should have a good grasp on how you can combine triad pairs and connect them with chromatic tones to land on notes that you’re targeting. You can use different triad pairs and types (major, minor, augmented, diminished, etc) that fit over various chords. Walt Weiskopf’s book, Intervalic Improvisation The Modern Sound: A Step Beyond Linear Improvisation has a great chart that shows different triad pairs and which one’s he feels best fit different harmonic structures. I highly suggest you check out his book. If you would like to add different chromatic targeting options and other targeting tools to your arsenal, I would suggest you check out my book, Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose by clicking on the link to the right or by going to Jason Klobnak Music.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tip and would appreciate your comments, thoughts or passing the info along to your friends and colleagues by using the buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ (or any other site you contribute to) below.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog/post. As a thank you I wanted to give you a FREE MP3 from the JKQ. Simply click the button below and fill out the short form and you’ll have it in just a few short moments!

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Improv Tip Week #24-Intervalic Series-Triad Pairs 1

Triad Pair

Triad Pairs 1

Welcome to week #24 where we’re going to start a new series on intervalic improvisation. We’ve covered a lot of linear topics the past 23 weeks, but I strongly believe that every improviser should use (or at least be somewhat familiar) every tool available to them. Intervalic improvisation is a tool that breaks away from the scalar (linear) approach and adds an additional dimension to the possibilities the improviser can choose. I’ve heard some musicians say that linear is more melodic then intervalic, but I believe that is not necessarily true as a blanket statement. I believe linear improvisation lends itself to greater melodic possibilities, but intervalic improvisation can be made melodic too.

The first week in this intervalic series we’re going to look at triad pairs. Triad pairs have been covered by a multitude of improvisation teachers (two that come to my mind first are Gary Campbell and Walt Weiskopf) and recommend that you check out other authors’ books and blogs to get their takes. However, those that have been following this blog or have read my book (Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose), know that I like to talk about how we can use whatever tool we’re using to get us to a specific target. So, we’ll be looking at how we can use triad pairs through the lens of targeting.

Triad pairs are simply two sets of triads paired together that do not share any notes. When you pair these triads together they can help define a chord or progression of the moment and be used to get an improviser to their targeted note. The pair can be used in any inversion, varying durations and can also be combined with other tools (i.e. chromatic targeting). When picking a triad pair, it’s best to pick two pairs that define the chord or progression. Most triad pairs are a half-step, whole step or minor third apart. This week, we’re going to look at a triad pair over the ii-V-I progression. The triads based off of the 4th and 5th scale degree of the Bb major scale are a whole step a part, help define the harmony of the ii-V-I progression and do not repeat the same notes. This makes for a great triad pairing.

Above, we mentioned that the pair can be used in any inversion, duration and combination. Below is a great exercise for taking two triad pairs (in our case, the Eb/F pair) and working through their inversions. Simply put, 1st inversion to 1st inversion then 2nd inversion to 2nd inversion and so on. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll look at some other exercises that can help get this sound under your fingers and in your ears.

Finally, let’s take our triad pair and combine it with another targeting principle and use the pair to target the 7th of the Bbmaj7 chord in the ii-V-I progression below. In the example below, we’ve kept the combination the same throughout (Eb/F alternation) but change up the duration and adding some chromatic targeting to some of the pairings. This gives the triad pair forward movement and melodic sense that goes beyond an exercise like the one above.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tip and continue to check out the remainder of the intervalic series. If this is your first time visiting this blog, I’d like to welcome you and invite you to check out some of the other posts as well as invite you to check out my book (Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose) by going to the link on the right or by going to Jason Klobnak Music. If you’ve enjoyed this tip or blog, be sure to share it with your friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other site you’re a contributor. Also, be sure to leave a note either by comment, email, the “like” buttons below or by adding this site to your RSS feed. Thanks again and have a wonderful week!

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog/post. As a thank you I wanted to give you a FREE MP3 from the JKQ. Simply click the button below and fill out the short form and you’ll have it in just a few short moments!

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