Shades of mi­nor

Char­lie Grif­fiths con­tin­ues his mu­sic read­ing se­ries with a piece in the style of toto’s Steve Lukather – one of the most in­nately mu­si­cal gui­tarists with an ar­se­nal of tal­ents, not least those all-im­por­tant read­ing skills.

Guitar Techniques - - LESSON: ROCKSCHOOL -

When writ­ing a piece in c Ae­o­lian mode, the c mi­nor key sig­na­ture is all that is re­quired, since this mode is ac­tu­ally the same as the Nat­u­ral Mi­nor scale

When writ­ing a piece in Do­rian we also use the mi­nor key sig­na­ture, but the raised (ma­jor) 6th in­ter­val is cor­rected us­ing ac­ci­den­tals, which ap­pear im­me­di­ately to the left of the af­fected note through­out the score. Take a look at the first four bars of the score and no­tice that the only note with an ac­ci­den­tal is G# which, when ap­plied to the B mi­nor key cre­ates the Do­rian sound – in short, those bars are in B Do­rian mode. in fact, the Do­rian tonal­ity is used through­out the piece and trans­poses up a tone to c# Do­rian for the mid­dle sec­tion.

For an ex­tra chal­lenge we have filled the c# Do­rian sec­tion with lots of chro­matic pass­ing notes, which pro­duces a jazzy, fu­sion type of sound. When read­ing through these chro­matic sec­tions you’ll find there are a lot of sharp, flat and nat­u­ral sym­bols in quick suc­ces­sion, so try just nam­ing the notes first be­fore at­tempt­ing to play it. When you do ap­ply it to the guitar, it is a good idea to keep your fin­gers within the Do­rian scale frame­work as much as pos­si­ble so you don’t get too lost in the fret­board.

The time sig­na­ture of our piece is 12/8, which tells us that each bar con­tains the equiv­a­lent of 12 ‘eighth-notes’. in pop, blues and rock-based mu­sic, these 12 eighth-notes are al­most al­ways phrased in four groups of three notes, which nat­u­rally has an un­der­ly­ing triplet feel and is counted as fol­lows: ‘1 & a, 2 & a, 3 & a, 4 & a’.

in 12/8 time the note lengths we usu­ally think of as quar­ter-notes are dot­ted in or­der to give them the same value as three eighth notes. in other words, the dot­ted quar­ter­notes are the same length as one beat at the given tempo and this, in fact, is spec­i­fied at the top of the score with the tempo mark­ing. play through the piece a few bars at a time un­til you have iden­ti­fied the most prob­lem­atic ar­eas and work on them slowly be­fore play­ing along with the back­ing track, which is at the tar­get tempo of 90bpm.

You’ll find lots of sharp, flat and nat­u­ral sym­bols in this piece

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