Example1 Blues cho­rus #1

Guitar Techniques - - LEARNING ZONE -

Bars 1 and 2 are based around A ma­jor Blues scale, the notes of which ex­ist within A Mixoly­dian: A-B-C-C#-E-F#

1- 2- 3- 5- 6 Con­sis­tent with our pre­vi­ous se­ries, bar 3 sees the in­tro­duc­tion of a bluesy C note (mi­nor 3rd of A) be­fore com­mit­ting to a full-blooded A mi­nor Blues scale line in bar 4. At the end of this bar, we see notes that do not re­late to A7, but are, in­stead, played in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the D7 chord in the fol­low­ing bar. ‘Go­ing early’ like this is a very com­mon de­vice when im­pro­vis­ing over chord changes, and is a great way of avoid­ing melodic and rhyth­mic pre­dictabil­ity, as well as adding a sense of ur­gency to your phras­ing.

Prin­ci­pally, the dou­ble-stops in this sec­tion are based around the chord tones of D7. Look at the first and fifth dou­ble-stops in bar 5. The first com­prises F# and D (3rd and root of D7), and the fifth one com­prises A and D (5th and root of D7). Here, we are merely scrolling our way chro­mat­i­cally back and forth from F# to A while hold­ing down the D root as a pedal or pivot point.

These two bars of A7 pro­vide some the­matic devel­op­ment due to the rep­e­ti­tion of the same phrase; how­ever, note that the sec­ond-time phrase is rhyth­mi­cally dis­placed (it starts in a dif­fer­ent part of the bar), which helps to avoid pre­dictabil­ity while still re­tain­ing the co­he­sion and mu­si­cal logic that re­sults from us­ing the same phrase more than once. The ‘curls’ in each bar are ba­si­cally mi­cro­tonal bends from C (mi­nor 3rd of A) to­wards C# (ma­jor 3rd of A) that never quite make it, and are cut off at the top (they are not al­lowed to de­scend back to­wards the orig­i­nal pitch). Note how the fi­nal note of bar 8 (G, the of A7) is bent el­e­gantly and eco­nom­i­cally up a semi­tone to tar­get the ma­jor 3rd (G#) of the E7 chord in the fol­low­ing bar. Striv­ing for semi­tone res­o­lu­tions be­tween chord tones like this is a good pol­icy: for ex­am­ple, when shift­ing from A7 to D7 you could move from a G note ( of A) down a semi­tone to an F# (ma­jor 3rd of D7) etc.

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