How to Develop Your Phrasing #1

Phrasing1

How to Develop Your Phrasing #1

In this first of three phrasing lessons I start to look at how we can come with a framework in order to practice phrasing. Here I take you though the though process of determining “what note stays the same and what note changes” within a simple chord progression, and I start limiting you in terms of what direction you’re allowed to play when ascending or descending when choosing what note comes next.

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  1. john
    john06-03-2013

    Haven’t heard the term “void note” before. You mentioned the F is a void note since it is the 4th of C. Right around 6:10 on the video.

    • Chris
      Chris06-04-2013

      Hi John,

      I think it must be my Canadian accent whereby I take “A’s” out of words and add “Eh’s” everywhere else. What I meant to say was, “Avoid” note. In Major Scale Harmony every mode has an avoid note, the most common being the 4th degree of a major scale (or Ionian). If you play an “F” against a CMaj7 chord you’ll hear why. It’s very dissonant, so hence the term, avoid note. In fact, there’s a whole school of thought where some music theory(ologists?) believe it was a mistake to have based western harmony off of the major scale, and in fact suggest that what we currently think of as the “major scale” should have actually been the Lydian scale (a major scale with a #4), thereby replacing the avoid note with the #4 (which tension wise becomes the #11) and thus eliminates the dissonance. There’s a whole book about it, it’s called The Lydian Chromatic Concept, and it was big in the seventies. It spawned a whole harmonic movement for a time, but has kind of fallen out of favor. As a side note, one of the reason jazz players love Melodic Minor Harmony, is because there are no avoid notes. It frees one up to play any note they wish at any time.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avoid_note

  2. john
    john06-04-2013

    Thanks for the detailed response. Can’t say that reading a book about the Lydian scale would move to the top of my reading list anytime soon, but I will check out the Wikipedia info for more details. Now, I just have to reconcile avoid notes with what you were teaching on using 4ths in soloing: http://christarrylessons.com/soloing-in-fourths/.

    • Chris
      Chris06-04-2013

      Yeah, not exactly riveting narrative that Lydian scale! When I mention 4th’s in soloing, I’m talking more of the interval leap rather than the actual scale tone. So for example, if I were playing over a C Major7 chord I’d focus on the third (E) to the sixth (A), or the 5th (G) to the octave (C). Taken individually, those intervalic leaps consist of jumps of a 4th. It’s also why I talk a lot about pentatonics, because they “avoid” the use of the 4th degree of the C Major scale all together. In the example above, you would more or less be outlining a C Major Pentatonic scale. Also the “avoid” note for every scale is different (as in not always the 4th degree). The wikipedia page has a nice listing of the other most common avoid notes.

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