Example SOLO STUDY
[ General] Be aware of the scale ( non- chord tones) and non- scale ( chromatic) notes that are used as a means of approaching ( targeting) various chord tones; these are also indicated ( square brackets) within the transcription. [ Bar 3] When using a note to target a chord tone, it will often appear on an ‘ up’ or ‘ off’ beat. This re- enforces its role as leading to something more important – a chord tone, that will occur on a strong beat. In this bar, the D note is used as a means of passing, on a weak beat, between the previous C note ( b3rd of Am – on a strong GT beat), 2 3 3 to the following E note ( 5th of Am – also on a strong beat). [ Bar 9] Although the prevailing rhythmic denomination in this bar is half as fast as in bar 3 ( eighth- notes instead of 16ths), the G# passing note ( in brackets) still leads from a weak beat to a chord tone ( A, the root of Am) on a strong beat. Remember, ‘ chroma’ is the Greek term for colour, and that’s what this type of note adds to your melody. The musical tension created is tolerable, because it appears on a weak beat, leads to a stronger note, and doesn’t last too long. [ Bar 13] The main function of the E note ( in brackets) is to pass, again from a weak beat, to a chord tone on a strong one ( F, the root of the underlying F chord).
[ Bar 14] Placing a non- chord tone on a strong beat toys with the sense of tension and relief in your melody, but often the results depend on note duration. The quicker you leave a chromatic note, the less tension it creates. In this bar, there is a momentary sidestep to a D# note, which appears on a strong beat and clashes with the 2 underlying xxxxxxxxxx E7 chord; but the tension is released quickly to the root, E. [ Bar 16] 2 This xxxxxxxxxx bar features several examples of targeting. The Ab in beat 2 is used as a chromatic bridge between A and G; here, a scale- note is being targeted. The second instance involves the G notes shown in brackets ( 17th fret, fourth string) in the middle of the D7 chord. Again, whether viewed as chromatic or as the 4th degree of the D Phrygian Dominant scale, it is basically a non- chord tone; it always appears on a weak beat, and is used as a means of passing towards a chord tone on a stronger beat: F# ( 3rd of D7), then A ( 5th of D7). Finally, Bb is used to pass towards the B note at the start of the following bar. [ Bar 17] In relation to the underlying E7 chord, the two A notes ( in brackets) function like the two G notes from the previous bar did against the D7. Note how the final note ( C) anticipates the Am chord at the start of the following bar.
[ Bar 18] The melody sidesteps each note of the underlying Am; from C ( b3rd of Am) down to B and back; then E ( 5th of Am) down to Eb and back; then A ( root of Am) down to G# and back, all bringing tension and release) against the Am chord. [ Bar 24] A similar sidestep motion occurs here, from A ( root of Am, on a strong beat) down to G# ( weak beat) and back to A again ( strong beat). [ Bars 25- 3 26] Sometimes it’s good to place chromatic notes on strong beats; here we have 3 several. The tension is bearable because each chromatic note is followed by a chord tone; and, because we are playing 16th- notes, any tension is fleeting. [ Bar 27] As in bar 3, we’re back to using a D scale- note as a passing tone leading to both an E ( 5th of Am) and a C ( b3rd of Am). Also, notice how the D note is always on a weak beat, and each of the chord tones it leads to are on strong beats. [ Bar 30] Finally, note how in this penultimate bar, the chord progression has been changed in order to bring everything to a happy conclusion: here, an E7 ( V of Am) is played instead of C7 ( V of F) in order to set us up ( in other words prime the listener’s ear) to conclude on an Am chord ( which sounds resolved), instead of the chord of F ( which would sound unresolved).