In this month’s instalment Martin Goulding continues exploring harmony with extensions based on the minor7 chord. Let’s go Dorian!
Martin Goulding looks at how to extend chords and runs using minor 7ths, 9ths and 13ths.
Welcome to this month’s column on developing fretboard fluency, with the second part in our series exploring extended harmony. Continuing from last month’s lesson where we looked at the extensions of the tonic (I) major 7 chord, along with concepts for building extended arpeggios, this month we’ll move on to extensions based around the supertonic (ii) minor 7 chord. These will include minor 9, minor 11 and minor 13 voicings arranged in five shapes. We’ll then study two approaches for creating extended arpeggios, the first – simply adding the triad from the next consecutive scale degree to our basic minor 7 arpeggio to cover all three extensions up to the 13th - and the second; superimposing the diatonic arpeggios from the b3rd, 5th and b7th degrees of our ‘home’ minor 7 chord, which as we’ll see gives us a range of extended and rather sophisticated sounds.
In addition to our extended chords and arpeggios, we’ll also be looking at other common four-note forms such as the minor add 9, which we can use to add colour to the basic minor 7 chord tonality. On all arpeggio-based examples, we’ll be using our usual legato approach, which combines hammerons and pull-offs with sweep strokes for a smooth and even tone. As well as picking lightly and hammering down firmly and from a height, the quality of your execution will also depend on effective use of muting techniques with both hands, so follow the rule that the first finger on the fretting hand mutes the lower adjacent string with its tip, as well as laying flat over the higher strings underneath, and in conjunction with the picking hand palm, which mutes off any unattended lower strings as you ascend the neck.
The minor 9 and minor 11 chords can be heard in many contemporary styles including pop, funk, jazz and rock, whereas the minor 13 is predominantly used in jazz, due to its fully extended and more dissonant sound (it has a semitone between the b7th and 13th degrees). Many of these voicings are used in the context of static vamps, as well as within progressions such as the IIm-V-I, which forms the backbone of many jazz standards, such as Autumn Leaves, Tea For Two, and many others.
Make sure you listen to the audio examples as they give a far better idea of the sounds and techniques on offer this month.
NEXT MONTH Martin looks at extending more chords, this time the IV Maj7/Lydian
Andy Summers played many extended chords on his Tele Custom
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