Giant Steps

February 21, 2008

2/21 Music Lesson

Filed under: Music Theory, Music Video — B Ray @ 11:55 pm

Today’s lesson – no instruments, just conceptual ideas and building a sort of footprint for the near future.

2 main ideas.

The first is to really get down Tritone Substitution. We’ve worked on this concept before, but now it’s something to really focus on. I’ll be working on paralleling two keys of the tritone – basically combining two keys a tritone (3 whole steps) apart to form one “tritone key.”

For example take the dom V chord of the C scale – G7…the dominant chord up a tritone is the Db7. The chords share the same guide tones (b3 & b7 notes) but inverted (G7 – B, F Db7 – F, Cb). To create the “parallel keys” we can take the parent mode (I) of each of the dominant/mixolydian (V) modes and present them chromatically up the neck (alternating parent modes/keys)…I’ll upload an image later which will be easier to see:

F Lydian -> Gb Ionian -> G Mixolydian -> Ab Dorian -> A Aeolian -> Bb Phrygian -> B Locrian -> B Lydian -> C Ionian -> Db Mixolydian -> D Dorian -> Eb Aeolian -> E Phrygian -> F Locrian -> F Lydian

We also discussed noted guitar players using tritone…Jimmy Herring and Allan Holdsworth. Jimmy coming from more of a blues (huge Allman Brothers fan growing up and eventual member of the band) and country (huge Steve Morse/Dixie Dregs fan) style of fusion – and one of my top 2 or 3 favorite players…so his style appeals to me a lot. Allan comes more from the jazz side of fusion.

I’ll begin working on unconventional patterns like Holdsworth’s legato and 4 notes per string approach – the idea being that I break free from the conventional patterns.

Second main idea is to work on the whole harmony/melody-guide tone voice leading thing…pick different guide tone based melodies and view present harmonies…look for common tone voice leading as well as the guide tones.

I was told I need to work on the above stuff for an hour a day here on out if I wanna get what I want out of it…this being the first time he’s told me to practice x amount a day – so I’ll get on it. For the next month we’ll also be focusing on technical aspect of playing – with some b-bender (w/o the b-bender) type licks and some Hellecaster licks; learning Holdsworth’s solo to “Devil Takes the Hindmost” (off his Metal Fatigue CD) and back to learning Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” saxophone solo.

Just realized I’m going to miss the Bill Kirchen guitar clinic and concert in 4/19 since I’ll be in Baltimore for a bachelor party. The last guitar clinic with Bill was a treat – he did incredible versions of Sleepwalk and did his classic “Hot Rod Lincoln.” Derek did go into some detail of what Bill said playing with Danny Gatton was like. Bill said after playing with Danny – there was never anyone else quite like him.

Here’s Danny Gatton playing Sleepwalk:


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