Thursday, July 20, 2017

Combining 'Sym-Ex.' Major 7th Arpeggios

The image above shows the two Symmetrically Extended Major 7th arpeggios, each in two different forms. On the left you see the IV/II in the middle voicing (purple) overlapping the upper I/VI (yellow). On the right the middle voicing I/VI (blue) overlaps the IV/II upper voicing (orange).

If you were playing this in the key of C, with "II" placed on the 5th fret of the 5th string, the form on the left could be written:

In the key of Eb, the form on the right would be positioned with "VI" on the 3rd fret of the 5th string:

Keep in mind that the Roman numerals in the diagrams indicate the key degrees of each arpeggio. These numerals remain the same for every key. Since there are two identical Extended Major 7th arpeggios (or minor 11ths) in each key, the only way to determine their relative positions is to decide which is the I/VI and which is the IV/II.

Also, notice that these arpeggios happen within specific "Zones" as detailed in my book "Fretography."

Another interesting combination is the lower forms with the upper forms of the same scale degree:
Here, you'll see that in the lower forms — rooted in the 6th string — both the I/VI and the IV/II are connected to the upper forms in the same geometry. 

We'll place the first grouping in the key of C as shown in the notation above. The next, we'll put in the key of G, as per the notation below:

Look carefully at the notes in both above examples. You'll notice they are the same. But their context it different within the key and will result in different possibilities in each depending on the additional chords and riffs in a particular piece of music.

Because this form can exist in an identical form within two different tonal contexts, it is a dynamic bit of riffage to have in your vocabulary.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Symmetrically Extended (Sym Extended) Major 7th Arpeggios

Before working on this exercise, I recommend you review the previous posts on "3rd Rail Chord Symmetries":

The concept of "Symmetrically Extended Arpeggios" is part of the Fretography Symmetry in which you can think of certain chords or arpeggios as starting with a central interval and extending both up and down equally. In the case of the Major 7th chord, the interval structure is:

Root <maj3rd> 3rd  <min3rd> 5th <maj3rd> 7th

Notice that the intervals themselves form a symmetrical sequnce; two major 3rds around a central minor 3rd. When this 7th chord is extended to the next 3rd above and below the structure is:

Root <min3rd> 3rd <maj3rd> 5th <min3rd> 7th <maj3rd> 9th <min3rd> 11th

In the above diagram the F maj7 chord is shown with the notes D below it and G above it. The D could be thought of as a 13th. So rather than the entire arpeggio being a D minor 11th, we could describe it as a F major 9th/D or a "major 9/13 chord." I prefer "Sym. Extended Maj7th."

As you can see, the symmetry continues as a minor 3rd is added at both ends of the original major 7th chord.  The major 7th is now formally a minor 11th. This chord occurs on the 2nd and 6th degree of any major key. For instance, in the key of C major the two minor 11th chords are D min 11th and A min 11th. The D min 11th contains the F maj7th, the A min 7th contains the C maj 7th. When this sequence is arranged on the fret board across four consecutive strings it forms an "S" shape as shown in the diagrams below. 

These diagrams apply to any key you choose. The Roman numerals indicate the key degrees: 

We will refer to these arpeggios as "Symmetrically Extended Major 7ths" because the central four notes remain the most accessible — as a group — on the fretboard all at once. In the upper four strings, as shown above, the shape is perfectly symmetrical and occurs within the VII zone and the III zone.
Moving to the four middle strings the shape changes to a less symmetrical geometry and aligns in the III zone and VI zone as shown below:
In the four low strings the shape is once again symmetrical, positioned within the VI zone and the II zone as shown below:
In the next post we'll examine ways of combining these forms with each other and with other musical structures.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The III Zone Arpeggio

Previously, we've looked at the Center Zone Arpeggio and the VII Zone Arpeggio. Now we'll look at the III zone.

In the Key of C, this zone is the first pattern on the fretboard anchored in the open strings. Of course, like all the other zone patterns, it can be shifted up the fretboard for each key. The shape of the pattern is the same no matter what fret position it's played. You only need to adjust your fingering from the open position to the moveable version.

Notice that there are two arpeggios shown in the diagram, one delineated in green, one in the background in grey (the "shadow arpeggio"). Play them both all the way through, then use the notation below to play each as a "coil" — three notes at a time, returning to the 2nd note of the previous 3 note sequence, etc. There are sound files below the diagram for reference.

The green pattern begins on the 3rd scale degree (E in the key of C Major) and finishes on the 5th scale degree (G in C Major). The grey pattern begins and ends on F, the 4th scale degree of C Major. 
(The fingering shown is for the open position. Since this pattern has a 4-fret-span, when playing it anywhere but the open position, just use one-finger-per-fret alignment and don't shift your hand within the pattern.)

(III Zone Arpeggio - ascending and descending)

(III Zone Shadow Arpeggio - ascending and descending)

(III Zone Arpeggio Coil - 
ascending and descending)

(III Zone Shadow Arpeggio Coil 
 - ascending and descending)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Center SuperZone Arpeggio

This big pattern straddles the center of the fretboard and is the primary arpeggio form of a major key in the Fretography method. It is rooted in the Dominant degree; the V of the key, and ends on the VII.

It is shown here in the key of C, but as with all the Fretography patterns, is the same geometry for any key.  

The shadow arpeggio (running from A on the 6th string to A on the 1st string in the background) is shown for reference. As an exercise, try playing the primary (green) arpeggio form ascending and the shadow descending, then reverse the sequence. 

The note sequence is:

Ascending:  G B D F A C E G B   ... Descending:  A F D B G E C A 


Ascending: C E G B D F A    ... Descending:  B G E C A F D B G 

This pattern requires several hand shifts and so it is difficult to play fast, but that makes it a great exercise to develop your control and precision.  Follow the indicated fingering (black numbers for the primary shape, white numbers apply to the shadow).
Here's how it sounds:

(Ascending Center Arpeggio)

(Descending Shadow Arpeggio)

(Ascending Shadow Arpeggio)

(Descending Center Arpeggio)

And here's a related arpeggio pattern in an earlier post: "The VII Zone Arpeggio"

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

5ths and 3rds in the 3rd Rail

Here's an exercise which will give you some useful raw material for riffing. The pattern is a sequence of 5ths and 3rds played sequentially on the 3rds and 2nd strings, otherwise known as the "3rd rail."

The diagram below shows the Perfect-5ths in blue, Diminished-5th in purpleMinor-3rds in orange, and, Major-3rds in green ...

Below you see the notation for the pattern with corresponding fingering ...

And here is how it sounds ...

(5ths and 3rds in the 3rd rail)

... and played note by note, each of the 5ths are played high note first, each 3rd is played low to high ...

(Arpeggiated 5ths and 3rds in the 3rd rail)

Here's a phrase based on the pattern in the key of D minor ...

(Key of D minor: 5ths and 3rds in the 3rd rail)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Lessons in Fretography

 I offer one on one guitar lessons for all levels in San Francisco. The Fretography® method is an integral part of the lessons. The beginner learns to find their way around the Fretboard from day one. The more experienced player will find new pathways to explore any range of musical possibilities.

What you get from Fretography® that you won't get from other methods is a full awareness of the entire fretboard rather than just a piecemeal approach to chords and scales. You can apply this to any style of music instantly. You don't need any prior musical knowledge, it's all in the method.

Go to my Lesson Page 

Contact Mark Newstetter > 

Beginning students learn the basics of theory, technique and fingerboard navigation. Starting with simple chords and rhythms, then adding melodic and harmonic ideas, you'll make rapid progress toward your musical goals. A six or ten lesson series also includes my 181 page textbook 'Fretography®' - a $21 value - at no extra cost.

More advanced students further develop their understanding of improvisation, composition and accompaniment by studying such things as chord inversions, contrary motion, hybrid picking styles and more.

If you'd like to schedule lessons or have any questions contact me by phone at (415) 221-3920 or email.

If you prefer, you can pay for lessons through PayPal by selecting the lesson and clicking the Buy Now buttons below, or you can pay when you arrive for your scheduled lesson.

My rates are as follows;

At my location - 3942 Balboa Street (2 blocks south of Geary near 41st Avenue, San Francisco)

Single lesson rate: $50 per hr/lesson.
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($45 per hr/lesson, also includes my 181 page textbook 'Fretography®' - a $21 value - at no extra cost.) 

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($40 per hr/lesson, includes 'Fretography®' book)

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Master Arpeggios

Seven extreme arpeggio forms can be played starting on the 6th string with the 1st finger and finishing on the 1st string with the 4th finger and each comprising 11 notes. They are presented here with Roman numerals so they may be played in any key. The fret positions are variable depending on the particular key you choose to play in. They are described in the key of G, in which they can be played on an electric guitar or acoustic steel string with a cutaway.

A classical guitar fretboard joins the body at the 12th fret and lacks a cutaway making it impossible to play all of these patterns in one key, though they are each playable in a small range of keys.

The layout of the diagrams is based on the potential to play any of the patterns in any key, however because the patterns span 11 or 12 fret spaces. If you are playing a cutaway guitar with 22 or more frets, you can play all the patterns in every key.

Notice that in each case, the lower pattern spans the three lower strings (Lower String Group) and the higher pattern covers the upper four (Upper String Group). The green shapes of the arpeggio patterns which are connected by red or orange ellipse shapes. The ellipses represent hand position shifts, which are either minor 3rds (red) or major 3rds (orange). Remember that these are all series of 3rds, so you will not play the note in the center of each ellipse.

Finally, an important detail is that these arpeggios span one note short of 3 full octaves, each one ending on the 7th of its root note. Adding the root at the high end competes the 3 octave run.

Starting with the tonic pattern, lets play the first pattern in the key of G. It will run from the 3rd fret of the 6th string to the 14th fret on the 1st.

(More about the underlying symmetry of these arpeggios HERE - HERE - HERE - HERE and HERE.)

The notes are:  I (G) - III (B) - V (D) - VII (F#) - II (A) - SHIFT - IV (C) - VI (E) - I (G) - III (B)  V (D) - VII (F#). 
Tonic and Subdominant
(In the key of G, the lower form is G Major 9th, the upper form is C Major #11.)

(key of G)

Once you've gotten the hang of playing it in G, try it in other practical keys.

The next pattern can be played in the key of G as well. In that key it will run from the 5th fret to the 16th fret at its highest fret position on the 4th string, but the last note will be the tonic on the 15th fret of the 1st string.

Supertonic and Dominant
(In the key of G the lower form is A minor 9, the upper form is D Dominant 11th.)

(key of G)

If you stay in the key of G, you will play the next pattern starting on the 7th fret. (In the key of C, it begins on the open 6th string) ...

Mediant and Submediant
(In the key of G the lower form is B minor 7 (b9), the upper form is E minor 11th.)

(key of G)

In the key of G, the next arpeggio begins on the 8th fret and reaches to the 19th ... continue in the key of C if you have an acoustic guitar ...

Subdominant and Leading Tone
(In the key of G the lower form is C Major 9th, the upper form is F# minor 11th (b5 b9).)

(key of G)

Dominant and Tonic
(In the key of G the lower form is D Dominant 9, the upper form is G Major 11th.)

(key of G)
... now we shift back down to the open position, where the open E string is VI ...

Submediant and Supertonic
(In the key of G the lower form is E minor 9, the upper form is A minor 11th.)

(key of G)
... and finishing with the 7th degree (F#) on the 2nd fret ...
Leading Tone and Mediant
(In the key of G the lower form is F# minor b9 (b5), the upper form is B minor 11 (b9).

(key of G)
Helpful hints:

1) Play slowly and with rhythm. Give all the notes equal time.

2) Be aware of your picking pattern. If you're using a pick, try alternating the pick direction on each note. Also, "sweeps" may be preferable when crossing strings.

3) Be consistent with your left hand fingering and play the patterns using the same fingering ascending and descending. Ideally, the first note of each form is played with the 1st finger (except where the first note is an open string) ... and the last note of each form is played with the 4th finger.

4) Remember which patterns are most effective in a particular key.

5) Name the notes out loud as you play them. Staying aware of the note names in any pattern is always a good idea.

6) Write down the patterns in standard notation. Start with the key of C.