This week, on our way back from 1-2-5 St., we'll take a little detour to the tiny town of Giant Steppes, where, thirsting for knowledge, we'll descend the stairs to a local establishment known as "The Cycle of Major Thirds" to get a taste of some "fluid" voice leading.Are ya with me?As in a previous "Coltrane Changes" exercise posted here, this line resolves to the Maj. 3rd of each of the 3 tonic Major chords in the cycle, from the b7th of each of it's preceding V7s (ie., C7 - C-E-G-Bb resolves to F Maj. - F-A-C
Last time, in Part 1, on our little trip to "1-2-5 St." we got acquainted with a pair of 3 note groupings from scale steps 1-2-5, spaced a minor 3rd apart which formed a min7 (11).This time, we meet some of their relatives, namely two more groups of "1-2-5's", spaced a Major 3rd apart. Together, these 2 groups (in C: C-D-G & E-F#-B) form a Maj.7#11 chord
.Again, these 6 notes form a hexatonic scale (in C: C-D-E-F#-G-B), as well as the triad pairs C Maj & B min.
This week, we hop on the subway of your mind and get off at 1-2-5 St., where we'll hang out with a couple of three note groups, co-mingling to form a min7 (11) chord. We don't even need a token, except possibly, a token of your appreciation.
Specifically, we're talking C-D-G (1-2-5 in C), as the first basic group; then Bb-F-Eb (5-2-1 in Eb). Together, they form a C-7 11, six note chord (C-Eb-G-Bb-D-F).
These two groups were chosen because there are no repeating notes, which means they form a hexatonic (6 note) scale (C-D-Eb-F-G-Bb), which can also be viewed as the triad pair of C min. and Bb Maj.
The Augmented Scale is a symmetrical six note (hexatonic) scale.
It can best be described as being formed by two augmented triads a minor 3rd apart (C aug & Eb aug) or, with different inversions, a half step apart. (C aug & C# aug).
It can also be viewed as being made up of three Major triads, a Major 3rd apart. From C, the resulting hexatonic scales would be:
C - Eb - E - G - G# - B (stepwise: -3, 1/2, -3, 1/2, -3), or C - C# - E - F - G# - A (1/2, -3, 1/2, -3, 1/2).
The Augmented Scale can have three tonal centers and divides the octave into three equal parts. Therefore, there are really only 4 mutually exclusive Augmented Scales.
This pattern / exercise is based on the VI7 to V7 movement found in the 9th & 10th bars of a typical minor "Mr. P. C." type blues. It dawned on me recently that this is really just a ii-V7 in disguise.
As the VI7 could normally be given a #11, that would infer a Lydian Dominant (fourth mode of Melodic Minor), which would be an excellent scale choice.
The V7 could be given the full altered treatment, and will for the purposes of this example.
Translating that into C minor, we get:
VI7: Ab7#11 / V7: G7alt / I: C min / C min /
If we examine the Ab7#11 a little closer, we see that this dominant chord / scale is interchangeable as a tritone substitution with the other Melodic Minor dominant chord / scale, namely D7alt and the D altered scale. Both are derived from the Eb Melodic Minor scale system, and as we all know too well (don't we?): Any Melodic Minor chord or scale can be substituted for any other Melodic Minor chord or scale.
Check out my recent guest post on X-Centric Pentatonics on the Best.Saxophone.Website.Ever for an explanation of the concept, as well as the Bergonzi formula.The Pentatonic b6 is derived from the 5-6-7-9-(b)10 scale steps of the Melodic Minor Scale (i.e. C Pentatonic b6 = C-D-E-G-Ab, is derived from F Melodic Minor). It can be used, in theory, in any situation which utilizes Melodic Minor Scale harmony. It contains a tritone which means can be used as any dominant chord containing that same tritone.It's sound might take a bit of getting used to. Four of it's notes are from the whole tone scale, as well as the augmented triad, plus the minor second, giving it an added pinch of dissonance.But this ugly duckling is truly beauty-ful!!Have Fun! Gotta run!
Here's a groovy little line, based on 3 note groupings of diatonic 4th intervals of the Melodic Minor scale, which morphed into being today as I waxed saxosophical.In my recent series of posts entitled "Melodic Minor: Major's Evil Twin", Pts. 1 -5, it was mentioned that
:1) The Melodic Minor scale system does not contain an unbroken row of 6 perfect fourths, as does Major (i.e. C Maj: B-E-A-D-G-C-F). As a result of altering the Maj. 3rd "E" to "Eb", the newly created C Melodic Minor scale now has 4 perfect fourths, 2 tritones (Eb-A, F-B) and a diminshed fourth (B-Eb, which sounds as a Maj. 3rd). This means that different finger patterns are created than if you were to play purely Maj. diatonic 4ths or lines based on perfect 4ths, a la Walter Bishop, jr's method. In fact, getting MM 4ths under your fingers will enhance your ability to create hybrid lines using all of these methods.2) Melodic Minor has no "avoid notes", as does Maj. (i.e. "F" in C Maj.), so that theoretically, nothing will sound "wrong", plus diatonic melodies, chords, and bass lines are all pretty much interchangeable.Each 2 bar phrase, one ascending & one descending, contains all 7 notes of the Melodic Minor scale.There are myriads of ways which you could harmonize this line, so knock yourself out. Thanks, I think I will.
Here's a transcription of John Coltrane's soprano saxophone solo on his composition "Big Nick", recorded April 11th, 1962 at Rudy Van Gelder's famed studio in Englewood Cliffs, NJ and was released as part of the album "Coltrane", on the Impulse! label.
This is the first of two versions of the tune recorded by Coltrane that year; the second, which appeared on the aptly titled Impulse! classic, "Duke Ellington and John Coltrane", was recorded in September.
The main difference between the two versions, is the form (and the intention). The "Ellington" version is a standard 32 bar, AABA classic American song form with a typical late 1940's, Rhythm & Bluesish chord progression on both the A sections and the bridge (in honor of former mentor, saxophonist Big Nick Nicholas, for whom Coltrane wrote the tune). Both 'Trane's and Ellington's solos are played over the complete form.
Here's an intriguing and suspenseful sounding exercise / pattern based on the whole tone / half tone diminished scale, broken down into the interval of a minor 6th, moving in minor 3rds. The diminished scale, as you may know (or maybe you don't), is an 8 note symmetrical scale. It's construction can be viewed as:
- alternating whole and half tones, a 2 note pattern which repeats itself 4 times per octave, thus dividing the octave into 4 equal parts, each consisting of a minor third. This division creates 3 distinct diminished scales (2 per note).
- e.g. Whole tone/ Half tone (C-D) (Eb-F) (F#-G#) (A-B). Half tone/ whole tone (Auxiliary diminished): (C-Db) (Eb-E) (F#-G) (A-Bb).
- 2 diminished seventh chords, a whole step or half step apart (C-Eb-Gb-A, D-F-Ab-B) or (C-Eb-Gb-A, C#-E-G-Bb).
- 4 minor or Major triads, a minor third apart (C, Eb, F#, A Maj. / min triads).
This is a basic, fundamental exercise dealing with Major Triads and their inversions. The triads are spaced a whole tone apart with the scheme being ascending / descending in an upwards direction for 2 octaves, then ascending / descending back down.Each inversion is presented in four groupings, as each measure is a Major Third apart, thus dividing the octave into 3 equal parts. Therefore, the triads repeat after the fourth grouping.Triads are one of the more basic tools in an improviser's arsenal. A good technical facility, as well as a basic theoretical understanding of their usage both in and of themselves as well as their use as chordal extensions or upper structures, is an important part of building vocabulary.Two Major triads a whole step apart are found diatonically in the Major and Melodic Minor scales (on the fourth and fifth degrees of each).
This exercise is but a starting point, as triad exercises can be built in half steps, thirds, etc., changing direction, Major, minor, mixed quality, etc., and all with inversions.That should keep us all out of trouble, at least for a while, anyway. Download PDFB. Stern