Monday, November 2, 2015

Chromatic Arpeggios (Part 3)

The Chromatic Barre Chord

Here's a chromatic arpeggio using an A major 6-string barre chord, using the half-step shifts explored in the two previous posts. 

Rather than treating the barre chord as a fixed shape, we can approach it as a fluid form which blends into the tonal matrix around it. 

If we're in the key of A major, our VII Zone is based on the 4th fret and the root of the A major chord is on the 5th fret. Thinking of the chord as a part of a 'Zone' enables you to smoothly transition between melodic and harmonic ideas. 

Play the arpeggio slowly with careful attention to the indicated fingering;

Here's the notation for the arpeggio above;

Notice that the scale pattern and the arpeggio share the same fingering position. You can transition from one to the other at any point along the way without any shift of hand position.

... Go to Part 2 ...

Chromatic Arpeggios (Part 2)

The previous post examined a simple triad arpeggio. Here are a set of arpeggiated Zone Patterns (box patterns). The basic Zone structure is there, but because of the leading halfsteps the shapes of the Zones indicated by the green cones. the shape of the Zones may be unclear at first.

If we look at the overall pattern, certain crucial features appear;

Green cones indicate the chromatic shifts in each arpeggio.
Red ellipses connect two positions on a string — always a wholestep
Yellow bands show the transitions between strings — always major or minor thirds.
The visual language of these diagrams is part of the Fretography® Method, which is detailed in this blog. The key to really understanding this approach is to see the guitar fretboard as an integrated musical matrix, rather than a blank grid on which dots are placed without reinforcing the connections between them. 

The shapes and colors are chosen to highlight various diatonic aspects of the patterns. This way you can learn the shapes along with their musical significance. Modes, scales, double-stops, chords, arpeggios – all connected. 

More to come.

... Go to Part 1 ...
... Go to Part 3 ...

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Chromatic Arpeggios (Part 1)

Here's a simple and effective technique for getting more out of chords.

In the diagram below you see a Major 7th chord  rooted in the tonic of its key (I). It can theoretically be any key, but for our purposes we'll place it on the 10th fret, making it a C Major 7th in the key of C.

The  green  cone shapes indicate the movement starting from a note one fret (half step) below each chord tone, within the  yellow  band — leading chromatically into the chord tones themselves, as shown in the notation.

Played note by note this creates a melodic structure which can be applied in lots of ways and can be a valuable part of your musical vocabulary.

Here are three different positions on the fretboard to play the same arpeggio;

This diagram is in the key of G (G=I).

You can treat any chord this way. Just take the shape of any chord and simply arpeggiate it with the chromatic leading notes preceding each of the chord tones.

I'll explore this subject more in future posts.

... Go to Part 2 ...

Monday, August 17, 2015

Play Along

You can jam along to a couple of simple chord patterns in any of the 12 keys ...

Blues Patterns - Play along with 3 minutes of 12 bar blues at 80 BPM with an 8-beat count-in.   

|  I  |  IV  |  I  |  I  |  IV  |  IV  |  I  |  I  |  V  |  IV  |  I  |  V  :|
Key of A

Basic Ballad - I VI II V patterns. Play along with 3 minutes of pop/folk ballad at 120 BPM with an 8-beat count-in.

|  I  |  vi  |  ii  |  V  :|
Key of A

For tracks in every key, go to the Practice Tracks page ...

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Treble Chain

(click for larger image)
This pattern is based on the same essential principle as the previous pattern; a set of arpeggios in X shapes combined with an underlying set of diamond patterns. The geometry yields a musical idea which follows a logical interval structure. Each X in this pattern is played as two arpeggios.

The diamonds are played; Root - 3rd - 7th - 9th. The green X is the exception, as it was in the previous pattern, consisting of a 10th and an Octave combined with a Tritone and a Whole Tone. 

Here are diagrams, notation and sound clips for each part of the pattern;
Dorian X
D minor 11th / F major 7th / E minor 7 (b9)

Lydian X
F major 9 / A minor 9th / G dom 9th

Aeolian X
A minor 11th / C major 7th / B minor 7 (b5 b9)

Ionian X
C major 10th / D Octave

The Big Picture
Here's the combined pattern covering the entire fret board in the key of C and as Roman numerals;
(click for larger image)
This is the same pattern featuring Roman numerals which apply to all keys.

All contents of this blog are © Mark Newstetter

Friday, June 26, 2015

Argyle Chops

(click for larger image)
The pattern of this exercise doesn't just look pretty, it expresses the innate symmetry of the diatonic system on the fretboard within the three low strings. The colored X shapes comprise a set of broken chords; the first half of each X is "Root, 5th, 7th" (no 3rd), the other half is "Root, 3rd, 7th" (no 5th), Each complete X is a type of 9th chord arpeggio, i.e.; EGBDF, GBDFA, etc. ... while the gray diamond shapes are 7th arpeggios; "Root, 3rd, 5th, 7th."

Each X can also be thought of as relating to the mode of its lowest note, so we can call the first (red) X the "Phrygian X" ... the central purple X is the "Mixolydian X" ... the orange X is the "Locrian X" and the green X is the "Dorian X." Each grey shape comprises a chord which is a step above the root of each X, with the exception of the small grey diamond within the green "Dorian X, which contains only two notes.

The seven arpeggiated chords in this pattern are; E minor b9th, F major 7th, G dominant 9th, A minor 7th, B minor 9 (b5),  C major 7th and D minor 9th.

Use the notation, diagrams and sound clips below to play each part of the pattern;
Phrygian X
E minor 7 (b9) / F major 7th

Mixolydian X
G dominant 9th / A minor 7th

Locrian X
B minor 9 (b5) / C major 7th

Dorian X
D minor 9th

Repeat each form a few times before going on to the next.

All contents of this blog are © Mark Newstetter

Monday, March 2, 2015

Superzone 3rds

There are two "Superzones" on the fretboard; the Phrygian and the Aeolian. In any key, the Phrygian Superzone  runs from the Phrygian Axis to the Aeolian Axis – that is; the fret position on which the notes on the 1st and 6th string are the 3rd key degree (Phrygian) and the 6th key degree (Aeolian). In the key of E, for instance, the Phrygian Axis is the 4th fret because G# is the 3rd key degree of that key.

Below is a diagram of all of the 3rds within the Phrygian Superzone in the key of E ...
Major 3rds are shown as green, minor 3rds are amber. Notice the minor 3rds in the "3rd rail" (the 2nd and 3rd strings) are the same shape as the major 3rds everywhere else.

... Phrygian Superzone 3rds, ascending and descending

Now lets look at the Aeolian Superzone, this time we're in the key of B. In this key the Aeolian Superzone occupies the same fret span as the Phrygian Zone/Key of E in the above example. Compare the two patterns ...

... Aeolian Superzone 3rds, ascending and descending

You may want to focus on the positions of the major 3rds (I, IV, V) in each of the patterns. Notice in the Phrygian zone, that lower five major 3rds form a symmetrical sequence starting with A Major: IV - V - I - IV - V. See how central the V - I - IV grouping is.

In the Aeolian zone there are four major 3rds in the lower group, aligned in pairs starting with B Major: I - IV - V - I.

Look for the groupings of minor 3rds as well and practice them, and the major 3rds independently of one another. Be careful with your fingering so that you can feel the shapes of the double-stops as you play. Major 3rds may, at one time or another, be fingered 1-2, 2-3, or 3-4. Minor 3rds are fingered 1-3 or 2-4 outside the "3rd rail" (the 2nd and 3rd strings)  and 1-2 or 3-4 in the 3rd rail.

All contents of this blog are © Mark Newstetter

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Revisiting the VII Zone as an Arpeggio Zone

The VII Zone is one of two fretboard positions which require no hand shifts. It contains a full two octave range in the Locrian (VII), Ionian (I) and Dorian (II) modes. Shown below in the key of C, it is broken into two arpeggio paths, the blue-green path is treated as the primary line running from B on the 6th string to D on the 1st string. The secondary grey line runs from the Tonic (C) on the 6th string two octaves to the 1st string tonic. The C Major 7th (tonic) chord running from the 4th to the 1st string is the most prominent aspect of the overall pattern.

Notice that any three consecutive notes in each line comprise triads. The notation below the diagram shows how these extended arpeggios can be played as a series of triads.

The Leading tone rooted triad series (blue-green line) played two different speeds, ascending and descending.

... The Leading Tone (7th fret) Arpeggio

Next you see the same arpeggio pattern with the visual emphasis reversed;

The tonic arpeggio in the VII zone has one less note than the leading tone run; eight as opposed to nine. You may find that the different numbers of notes and the different fingering present different rhythmic possibilities. For instance, the Tonic 3rd sound clip below begins on an upstroke. Play these patterns using alternate direction flat-picking. Down/Up/Down/Up/ etc.
... The Tonic (8th fret) Arpeggio

Below are the two versions of the arpeggio pattern side by side;

VII Zone Arpeggio Scale

Ascending triads (root-3rd-5th); B dim, C maj, D min, E min, F maj, G maj, A min, B dim, C maj, D min, E min, F maj, G maj. Reverse to descend.

If you click on any image you will see full screen versions of the images in this post which you can compare by toggling using the arrow keys on your computer.

All contents of this blog are © Mark Newstetter

Monday, February 9, 2015

Moveable 3rds with Bass Drone

3rds riffs add a lot to any musical vocabulary. In this blog we've looked at a number of ways to approach 3rds on the fret board. This exercise comprises the first four 3rds in the key of E  (E Major, F# minor, G# minor, A Major) with the repetition of a fingered E in the bass.
Because there are no open string in this riff, you can move it to other keys, but it must be played using the same strings as shown. Notice that the bass note (5th string, 7th fret E) is played with the 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st fingers in consecutive order while the 3rds double stops begin with the 1st and 2nd fingers and end with the 3rd and 4th (E Major and A Major). The 1st and 4th fingers play both of the minor 3rds (F# and G# minor).

Play slowly and pay careful attention to the fingering.

It should sound something like this, played ascending and descending;

All contents of this blog are © Mark Newstetter