When processing scales, it’s a good idea to work on running through the scale using select intervallic leaps. This gives your lines a sense of melodic shape and also allows you to control a degree of dissonance, warmth and colour, depending upon the interval you select. So, for example the interval of a 3rd or a 6th sounds warm and consonant to the ear, as both of these intervals are easily found within the basic construction of chords. The 4th and 5th degrees are neutral and therefore hollow sounding, although they lend a certain hip-ness to your lines. Sevenths and 9ths can be angular and dissonant, but in the right place can be extremely musically effective, just ask John Scofield! Here we see a typical I-Iv-v progression in the key of C (C-F-G), utilising the
(r-2-3-4-5-6-b7) appropriate Mixolydian mode for each chord (so that’s C Mixolydian for C7, F Mixolydian for F7, etc). For our C7 we’re exploiting 3rds exclusively, switching the order about and stacking them one on top of the other whenever we wish, switching to 4ths for F7. next up it’s 6ths against G7, ending on 7ths against our C7 in the last two bars. If this idea tickles your fancy then you may wish to check out both our aforementioned intervallic maestro John Scofield, or the equally intervallically inclined Carl verheyen. After trying this, exploit the idea by amending some of your own licks.