Clark JM Jazz Mandolin
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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 14, 2013 | Applying minor chord blocks--Black Orpheus

We've gone through the theory and we showed several different ways to grip the chords that comprise the most basic sentence of Western European music, the 'ii V7 I' and it's dark sister 'ii7b5 V7 i' the last few Tips and Tricks columns. It's one thing to have the vocabulary, quite another to use it in context. Knowing a few words in Spanish will only be beneficial if you know how to string them in a sentence, "Perdone, ¿d ónde estáel baño?"

We want to take some of our most recent blocks and apply them to a favorite Louis Bonfi jazz standard, Black Orpheus. Hopefully, you've had the chance to play through some of last week's minor 'ii7b5 V7 i' progressions, and of course we encouraged you to experiment with the fingerings in different keys. By the way, we did address an incorrect spelling of the Dm7b5 chord, so if you already printed it, you'll want to change to the recent version. This time, we'll extract two tonal centers and map them out for you, A minor and D minor.


We've highlighted them with two different colors. All four grips are mapped out for you below. Of course a couple may not be that practical because of the their stratospheric position on the fretboard, but you can get the idea of how versatile these basic positions are.

Pink=A minor

Now we'll do the same for the D minor tonal center. Note a lot of jazzers with use a V7b9 instead of a straight V7 in this tune, but we wanted to keep this basic for now. We left off the b9 extension. Enjoy:

Green=D minor

Here's a link for listening to the tune and playing along with it. Repetition will help you learn them, and you can try applying them to other minor songs.

Black Orpheus Fakebook sound.gif

m7b5 Chords
Major 'ii V7 I' 3-note Mandolin Chord Blocks
'ii V7 I' and 'ii7b5 V7 i' Home Positions
Vamps. Minor modal
ii7b5 V7 i Minor Patterns

Posted by Ted at March 14, 2013 2:33 PM

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