First off…attack it….now the meat:
I adapted this idea from a concept talked about on this website: http://www.fundamental-changes.com/chromatic-approach-notes-minor-ii-v/
Here’s the idea:
Take a ii-V-I progression and use dominant 7th arpeggio’s for the chords..just the 1-3-5-7 of the chords.
No matter where you start or end, you are only 1 whole tone (step) away from an appropriate tone of the next chord. The website talks about the first 3 notes of the arpeggio setting you up for using a chromatic note to get you to the next chord, but I am challenging the idea by saying that any chord tone of the chord you’re on is just 1 whole tone away from an appropriate tone of the next chord.
What do you think?
Here is an example of how my screwed up brain works:
For simplicity of explanation, lets refer to these tones by their ascending order (not their tonal relation to the chord): 1st tone, E (7), 2nd tone, G (5), 3rd tone B (4), 4th tone D (7) etc…
Relating these tones to A (the next chord in the ii-V-I):
1st tone is a whole step away from the 6 or 11, of A.
2nd tone is a whole step away from the 7 or 9, of A
3rd tone is a whole step away from the 3 or 1, of A
4th tone is a whole step away from the 9 or 5, of A
5th tone is a whole step away from the 6 or 11, or A
Relating to D7:
1st tone is a whole step away from the 6 or 11, of D
2nd tone is a whole step away from the 6 or b9, of D (b9 is an acceptable jazz tone)
3rd tone is a whole step away from the 1 or 3, of D
4th tone is a whole step away from the 5 or #9, or D (#9 is an acceptable jazz tone (and using the b9 and #9 is talked about on the linked website as “boxing in.))
5th tone is a whole step away from the 6 or 11, of D
Relating to E
1st tone, 6 or 1, of E
2nd tone, 1 or 3, of E
3rd tone, #9 or 5, of E
4th tone, 3 or b7, of E
5th tone, 6 or 1, or E
So what do y’ll think?
On the last arpeggio, D7, I know that it is ambiguous as to whether or not I’m relating it to the ii (minor) (the #9) or II (dominant) (the III). This may be a point of contention–I am only smart enough to recognize this, not solve the issue…
Thanks for this post. You are correct in what you are saying, and I have found the best approach to music is to always play the changes. (play the arpeggio to the chord you are on at the time.) If you do this you will always sound cool and hip. It is funny because music is that simple, but it is not. What I mean is music is simple in that you are always one note away, and you can play any note you want because it is how you start it and resolve it that makes it sound right. However it is difficult because it takes a lot of years of practice and patience to make the mind able to execute all of this, and learn the techniques to make it sound hip. I personally believe knowing arpeggios will take you farther than knowing scales. I have a friend that teaches jazz, and he has always told me that scales/modes are a result of playing the changes. The modes came as a way to explain the lines people played, because a lot of people started to think solely in the concepts of scales. If you teach yourself how to hear, and play the changes, you can play over anything.
Another thing that has helped me more than anything is this piece of advice. Concentrate on comping behind the music, because the better you get at this the better your lead playing will be. As before playing leads is as simple as playing the arpeggios that fit the changes, and any concept that works playing back up will work out front in a lead. So if you know as a backing player you can sub this type of chord for that chord playing rhythm, you can sub in that same arpeggio while playing lead in that same spot. Also we all know you can approach a chord a half step above, or below your chord to spice up a comping pattern, so you can approach that same target note the same way in a lead line. That is what Christian, Jennings, and Grimes did when you break down what they play. All of their lines can be tied to this concept, an arpeggio, or a chord sub arpeggio. Back to the previous paragraph, Music is really that simple it is mastering it that is hard. Tommy and I talk about this all of the time. There is a million different ways to describe what these guys did, this scale over this chord or this mode for the chorus. And they are all right, but it can all be simplified down to arpeggios. I hope this made sense and was helpful.
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