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.
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