In this video I’m practicing a simple melody derived from a Dominant Pentatonic scale (1,2,3,5,b7,1). I play the melody over concert C7 chord and ascend by half steps through the keys. I play the melody slowly over concert C7 at first, so you can figure out the line by ear, just pause and rewind if needed. This is a nice scale for use over a dominant 7th chord with a natural 9.
If you use the scale a tri-tone away (F# Dominant Pentatonic over C7) it implies an altered dominant sound (#11, #5 b7, b9, 3).
During the melody I try to stay relaxed and balanced as well as using some space or rest between keys. I often try to remove my left hand from the horn between phrases to help me develop a physical habit which leads to using a little more space.
Working on triads is something I do frequently as I find it good for my ears, my mind, my technique and my basic understanding of one of the fundamental structures found in both melody and harmony. Strong melodies and voicings are often an embellishment of a triad, often times a triad with one added note. In this video I’m working with a metronome on 4 simple 2nd inversion triad phrases from my book Major Triad Mastery. Each triad is in 2nd inversion but the notes are played in 4 different orders thus creating 4 distinct triadic melodies. These are the note orders in 2nd inversion: 1). 1,5,3 alternating with 3,5,1 – 2). 1,3,5 alternating with 5,3,1 – 3). 3,5,1 alternating with 1,5,3 – 4). 5,3,1 alternating with 1,3,5 . The triads are played with a metronome descending by half step from concert Bb major down through the keys.
I finished a new book recently which is a very in depth study of the major triad.
The major triad, built off the naturally occurring overtone series, is one of the most common melodic and harmonic structures found in nearly all types of music. A strong grasp of the major triad, in all of its inversions (root, 1st and 2nd), in all 6 orders of notes (1-3-5, 1-5-3, 3-1-5, 3-5-1, 5-1-3, 5-3-1) and in both spread and closed position will give the improvising artist, the composer and the performer a undeniable leverage point to help improve his or her musical abilities and ear.
Strong melodies and harmonic voicing are often simple embellishments of major triads and through a detailed study of triadic shapes one of basic schematics of melody harmony can be strengthened and expanded upon.
By playing through this book of studies and by singing, visualizing, memorizing and otherwise fully grasping the major triad in it’s many forms, one should see steady and marked improvement in ones ear, musical skills and freedom on their instrument. I believe that the study of the basic melodic and harmonic building blocks of music represent a fulcrum which allows for general improvement in all other musical areas.
This book is designed to help facilitate a mastery of all major triads in both closed and spread positions, in all inversions, in all keys and all 6 orders of notes or arpeggiations. The triadic shapes either ascend or descend chromatically making each melodic sound easier to hear and transpose through all 12 keys. I hope the material helps to transform your playing, hearing and theoretical knowledge in a positive direction. You can purchase the PDF for $4.99 below:
Here I work on the same material from Daily Practice 10 but only in one key (concert A major 7 #5). Using space, focusing on posture, balance and breath will allow you to cultivate many good habits while repeating a phrase in order to help develop your technique. I believe that one very real danger in repetition lies in the habits you are unaware of that you bring into your process. If you are unaware that while repeating a phrase over and over you are also may be practicing mistakes, playing with tension, playing with a wondering (thinking) mind, poor time, non-listening, poor posture, shallow breathing, lack of space etc. you will inadvertently be sabotaging your ability to perform and play well with others even though you are spending hours working on the art form.