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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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November 11, 2010 | Pete Martin: Bebop Mandolin; Target Notes and Chromatic Approaches

New from the brilliant mind of Pacific northwest multi-instrumentalist and mandolin theory pedagogue Pete Martin, "Bebop Mandolin: Target Notes and Chromatic Approaches." We mentioned his splendid Jazz Chording for Mandolin" book recently, and are pleased to see him cover in quite exhaustive detail, linear concepts that can help you construct more effective melodies in soloing.

Pete introduces the strategies, "Any strong melody, composed or improvised, needs good structure and a look to what is happening next. It is also important in music to have places we look forward to going. The act of moving toward these places gives the music more logic to the players and the listeners. It keeps interest by hearing how the music gets that point, then moves to the next of these points in time progressively. In a melody or improvised solo, there needs to be notes that connect that melody to the chords being played. This helps bond the melody and chords together in a logical way that sounds pleasing to most listeners."

His 153 page dissertation not only covers these concepts, but introduces through examples and transposable exercises how to implement them on the mandolin fretboard. He starts with Target Notes: Thirds, Sevenths, Alterations and Others, developing the notion of "meat" tones in the harmonic structure of the music. To get to them, the next step is Approach Notes: Diatonic, Chromatic, How To Practice Targets and Chromatic Approaches. Outlining specific examples, including material by Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, and other players, you get the opportunity to see and hear on your own fingerboard the way these ideas work in the real world, and of course, develop your own fertile ground of melodic construction.


Pete takes a different approach to marketing his materials than the traditional publishing route. Through a sort of "honors system," you actually download the book in a PDF format online, have the chance to thoroughly peruse his lessons, and then pay for it if you use it. Especially in the newly ordained era of eBooks and online resources, this is an effective way to get materials, and the $10 cost is one of the best bargains you'll find in getting a grip on these ideas.

Highly recommended!


Download book: pdf_sm.gif Bebop Mandolin: Target Notes and Chromatic Approaches

Other books available online: Petimar Press

Moving Forward; Melodic Progression
Axis of the 3rd & 7ths
More fretboard geometry--Maj7 arpeggios
Some Minor issues: Seeking Resolutions

Posted by Ted at November 11, 2010 8:27 AM

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