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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."



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March 17, 2010 | Pentatonic revisited

We used to be very critical of Pentatonic scales around here, and for a very good reason. We knew many rock, blues, and folk musicians who could bleed the harmonic complexity out of their soloing, using the Pentatonic scales as singular improvisatory fodder, their bland vanilla structure leaving us longing for aesthetic direction and purpose.

Sure, you have your elemental 1, 3, and 5, the basic ingredients of the triad, and a couple benign neighboring tones 2 and 6, but nothing there pushes and pulls. No 4, no 7. It's the melodic equivalent of a song based on one chord.

Where Pentatonics CAN get fun is following the trail of some of the jazz greats, Coltrane, Parker, Tyner, enabling yourself to communicate poly-tonalities, grabbing the upper extensions of more complex chords; we go into more detail in our article Jazzed Pentatonics, if you're interested.

But to get there, you need to be facile, and able to move up the fretboard, across strings, and into all 12 keys--nothing out there better to get you there on a mandolin fretboard than the approach through our Pentatonic FFcP exercises, and the price is right.

How about free?

Check 'em out: Pentatonic FFcP

PentFFcP4.jpg

Posted by Ted at March 17, 2010 5:45 AM


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