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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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February 10, 2012 | Using the Chord Tone Scale

In our studies on "intentional" improvisation, we've looked at scales, arpeggios, licks, and something elusive we just call the "Muse." As the old saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat, and we think it's a combination of all these resources that makes for great soloing. There's a balance between the intellect and intuition; that this is so unquantifiable makes this study both fascinating and frustrating at the same time.

We're on record as no fan of the Pentatonic scale, although there are some more advanced opportunities even in this simple scale as suggested by columnist Mark Wilson. (See article: Going outside with Pentatonics ). The Major scale and all its related modes are the most common, and we've made a case for the Augmented 11th scale (AKA Altered Scale and Melodic Minor in other inversions) being the 2nd most important scale.

We just put a plug for Emerald City multi-instrumentalist and teaching wizard Pete Martin's innovative approach to exploiting chord tones through his CTS or Chord Tone Scale approach in our Tips and Tricks column. This is gold for the novice improviser, an excellent jumping off point. We highly recommend a look at this and some of his other books at the Petimar Press website.

Read Tips and Tricks article: Pete Martin; Fast track to improvising with CTS

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Posted by Ted at February 10, 2012 5:13 AM


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