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"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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April 9, 2009 | New to JazzMando: Dorian/Minor FFcP!!!

We just added to our FFcP library something we hope you are very excited about. Since the release of "Getting Into Jazz Mandolin," we've come to the conclusion the mandolin world could use a supplementary FFcP studies book, and we'll register right now it's on a very short list of long term projects. Until then, take advantage of the exercises already in our FFcP section.

Today we introduce Dorian/Minor FFcP!

Why Dorian/Minor?...

The traditional study of the three minor scale modes (natural, harmonic, and melodic) betray contextual function in jazz. More often than not, you'll use some kind of Dorian, which offers the "minor-ness" of the lowered 3rd, but maintains a harmonic neutrality in the 6th and 7th scale degrees. We've inserted a taste of harmonic function in the 'i VI ii7b5 V7' patterns to lend your ear some familiarity within a chord context.

Reflect on some of the thoughts of Craig Schmoller, JazzMando mentor, genius software guru, and creator of the Mando ModeExplorer and recently released jazzCittern Explorer (see news release):

"Ah, Dorian. The Center of the Universe. Same intervals backwards and forwards. The D on the keyboard marks a mirror image of black and white keys in both directions. That symmetry manifests itself on the fifths-tuning as well... Seems like it should somehow be significant! Ooooo.... But it's not.

Not that way anyway. Nothing mystical, Dorian just seems to be one of the first two modes we learned as rock guitar players, born out of bluesy licks - The merge of Dorian and Mixolydian, raising and lowering the blue 3rd. Think that's one part of why folks ask about it so much? But like you said, it stands on its own in jazz as the minor with the raised 6th and the lowered 7th.

I studied the first page - Whoa, what a workout (on cittern). Especially the Fourths. Ouch. The contrary motion sounds cool, and does the 'approach tones'. (I could use a workout like this...)

What you did with the C harmonic minor move at measure 10 is nice. It's a familiar path to the ear leading to (possibly) a new place for the listener/player. Good stories are told that way, right? Familiar with a twist... A good way to demonstrate this 'other minor'.

Oh, and one more thing: While doing page 1, I fired up the jazzCittern ModeExplorer and plugged-in C harmonic minor just for fun. There are your C harmonic minor notes in 3rd FFcP, just like the tab would indicate, with those AbMa7/Dm7(b5)/G7 arpeggios nestled inside."

Click for Dorian/Minor FFcP PDF

Thanks for the thoughts, Craig. Readers, take the time to plow through this valuable exercise. You'll also want to make sure you're caught up on the other FFcP entries, some of them aren't in the GiJM book. If you haven't already, check out Craig's mandolin (Windows) software programs while you're at it.

Exercise PDF: Dorian/Minor FFcP
Explanation page: Dorian/Minor FFcP
More FFcP: FFcP Studies

Pentatonic FFcP
Some Minor Issues: 'Gravity' Notes in Minor
In the Mode: Easing into Modal Jazz.

Posted by Ted at April 9, 2009 12:35 PM

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