Creati ve rock

Shaun Bax­ter shows how bridg­ing the gaps be­tween notes close to each other, and fur­ther apart, can help us to cre­ate so­phis­ti­cated lines.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Shaun Bax­ter bridges scale tones with chro­matic pass­ing notes for long, flow­ing lines.

Chro­matic notes are non-scale notes that can add in­ter­est­ing forms of spice and ten­sion to your play­ing. Sig­nif­i­cantly, you need to know how to re­solve such ten­sion if you are to ap­ply it with con­trol and avoid tune­less chaos. In the previous les­son, we learned how the eas­i­est ap­pli­ca­tion is to ap­proach a tar­get note (scale or chord tone) ei­ther from a semi-tone be­low or above (note that, of the two, ap­proach­ing from a semi-tone above is the most dis­so­nant-sound­ing op­tion). In this les­son, we’re go­ing to look at devel­op­ing things a bit fur­ther by see­ing how two notes can be linked via a chro­matic ‘bridge’.

The sim­plest form of chro­matic ‘bridg­ing’ is where a chro­matic note is used to link two notes a tone apart. For ex­am­ple, a B note

Bb could be linked to an A note via a note.

It’s also pos­si­ble to think in much big­ger terms whereby we take two notes quite a lot fur­ther apart and sim­ply fill in all of the gaps in be­tween. For ex­am­ple, if trav­el­ling from a B note down to a G note, we

Bb- Ab- could go B- A- G.

The mu­si­cal ex­am­ples from this les­son all demon­strate how this chro­matic bridg­ing tech­nique can be ap­plied, com­bined with the chro­matic ap­proach note tech­niques stud­ied in the previous les­son, to cre­ate some new line vo­cab­u­lary for each of the CAGED shapes of A Mixoly­dian ( see Di­a­gram 1).

Each CAGED shape pro­vides unique phys­i­cal op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­e­cute mu­si­cal ideas that are more dif­fi­cult to play in the other four and, for many prac­ti­cal rea­sons, it makes mu­si­cal sense to have a dif­fer­ent lick and line vo­cab­u­lary in each shape (as op­posed to trans­pos­ing and learn­ing the same idea in all five).

In the tran­scrip­tion of this month’s ex­am­ples, the chro­matic notes are shown in square brack­ets, just so that you can vis­ually dis­tin­guish them from the ‘cor­rect’ notes (in other words, that ones that be­long to A Mixoly­dian and are not ‘out­side’ it). How­ever, this does not mean that they should be played as a ‘ghost’ notes (no rhyth­mic value): each chro­matic note has a full note-value (usu­ally a 16th-note in th­ese ex­am­ples) and should be played as loud and proud as any other note within the line.

It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that speed is an is­sue when ap­ply­ing chro­matic notes. The longer you linger on a chro­matic note, the more it will pro­long the agony for the lis­tener; con­versely, the quicker you play, the more lib­er­ties can be taken as any ten­sions cre­ated are brief. The mu­si­cal ex­am­ples are gen­er­ally based on 16th-notes played at 120bpm, which is suit­ably fleet­ing. As you reap­ply th­ese same sorts of ideas at lower tem­pos, al­ways re­main mind­ful of the amount of ten­sion be­ing pro­duced and adapt your ap­proach ac­cord­ingly.

Fi­nally, also bear in mind that, due to the na­ture of the back­ing track, the ex­am­ples could have been writ­ten out in 2/4 at twice the tempo (240bpm). This means that there would have been be four times as many bars and all lines would be writ­ten as eighth-notes rather than 16ths; how­ever, each ex­am­ple is shown as be­ing in 4/4 at 120bpm, as it’s eas­ier to con­sider th­ese lines as 16th-note­based since this is how you will most likely use them in most other mu­si­cal set­tings.

Now get bridg­ing! I’ll see you next time!

it’s pos­si­ble to think in much big­ger terms, whereby we take two notes much fur­ther apart and fill in all the gaps

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