There's this technique that I notice that a lot of musicians (especially guitarists) that know what their doing use, but I can't find a name for this myself at the moment. (It's probably right under my nose, and I imagine is asked about a lot on here, but not knowing it's name kinda hurts searches.)

Any artist worth his/her salt, and even some who aren't use this, so I'll just use an example from something I personally like:

Steve Vai (love him or hate him, he knows his stuff) - Erotic Nightmares:

1:53 min. and 1:55 min. in, are 2 examples to start off with.

He's not using them between two chords like most musicians seem to like to do. But I notice it a lot in use between chords. And I DO know that it's all based on chord/key (or mode) combinations. This use of it between chords is what I'm referring to in general though. It's a movement that seems scalar in idea at first, till you notice that it isn't a move that goes directly down/up. It usually involves some sort of "roller coaster" motion, despite the situation. It can have all sorts of shapes, depending on the melody and rhythm, and all sorts of colours depending on the key/chord structures.

These usually appear as a short movement between a chord tone and it's counter point, as a method of creativly moving up or down.... and, as said, are VERY short usually. (though with vai and his fellow musicians... they can become entire sections of the music LOL)

The more I try to research this, the more I notice this may be several different techniques, but I'm also doubting this notion. As so much of what I do hear seems to vary so much, but maybe it's just the variances between the scores? I dunno.

I intend to add these to my practice regimen after I finish chords... or maybe before hehe, who knows. I do know I would LOVE to practice these quite musical quips.

-Sincerely Confusticated


I've also now noticed it's used a good bit in solos, but you do see it a LOT in fills and verses.
more examples:

The Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb : 2:59 - 3:02
Learning to Fly: 1:25 - 1:29

Rod Stewart - Country Comforts : 0:00 - 0.05 (between the chord tones) (in use a lot in this song... really builds the main theme in this piece. This is one of the best examples of it in use outside of the guitar solo that I can find atm. It's even in use in the guitar solo from 2:00 - 2:10 ... a GREAT example of a longer run or set of runs of this)
"grateful is he who plays with open fingers" - Me


Last edited by Outside Octaves at Oct 17, 2011,
Sounds like he's just doing a scale run with lots of legato between whammy pull-ups.

Also, learn the notes of the major and minor scales and learn the purpose and execution of accidentals. Modes for all intensive purpose do not exist, ignore their presence because they'll only trip you up until you have a firm understanding that shapes aren't scales and that modes are not present in the realm of tonal music, just like atonality.
modes are a social construct
Last edited by Hail at Oct 17, 2011,
Woops, looks like I forgot to add the other examples, lol. BRB with those to expand this lol.


Looks like I got some GREAT examples up now.
"grateful is he who plays with open fingers" - Me


Last edited by Outside Octaves at Oct 17, 2011,
I hear a few mistakes in that first post. The one that really sticks out is that you say "a chord tone and its counterpoint." Chord tones are notes within chords (you usually say "chord tone" when you melodically play a note that the rhythm section is including in their chord progression). "Counterpoint" is a technique used to create multiple melodies that sound at once, normally used in classical orchestral music but occasionally in modern styles like jazz and rock. There isn't a "note and it's counterpoint," there's a note, and then there are 11 other notes (and the same note) you can play at the same time. Counterpoint usually sort of limits that to the more consonant choices, but you could go the dissonant route as well.

edit: I didn't mean to make it sound like dissonance is 100% against the rules of counterpoint, but ancient composers typically stayed away from dissonant note-choice.
also it sounds like what you're describing is just a lick between chords, but i haven't listened to the example.
in Erotic Nightmares, Steve's doing a descending legato lick after doing a pinch harmonic. I really don't know what else you're asking. On the Comfortably Numb extract I don't really hear anything except rhythm guitar, drums, and synth. Nothing really that could be a lead guitar or similar to what Steve did. From 4:59 to 5:02 he's doing a descending lick in the pentatonic minor scale and ending with vibrato.

I don't know about them but I just use those kinds of things as fillers between chords during a solo to sort of create tension that will inevitably result in being resolved with another chord, or a simpler, more melodic lick. That's the easiest way I can describe it.
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Last edited by calebrocker at Oct 17, 2011,
Darn. I was hoping that somewhere there would be a name other than "lick" applied to this thing. lol.... something I didn't already know about, that's what I was looking for. Kinda depressing to see that it's not a specific technique or idea, but what I've already heard of a million times. Means I have to find my own ascending/descending licks with no real help outside of studying scores.

I had hoped there was some single technique behind the madness.

Guess I have to bite the bullet and find someone to help me study scores... figure this * out.

to Cale:

(and maybe this will clear up what I was asking and just possibly help me find the answer I'm looking for, but at this point it's doubtful for me)

"... but I just use those kinds of things as fillers between chords..."

That's exactly what I'm on about really. They use these "things" all the time as filler between chords. It's used both in Rhythm, and in Lead guitar. It's used on any instrument capable of more than a few pitches.

I was hoping in asking this question that I'd be able to find a specific name behind the idea. Ok, now I know it's a combination of such techniques as arps. and such, but I still hold out my faint and fading hope that there is some name for the idea of the ascending/descending lick used between the chords or on a solo.... beyond crashindo and decreshindo (wow, what is the proper spelling there lol?... that's just bad spelling) which is essentially the same as calling them an ascending/descending lick.
"grateful is he who plays with open fingers" - Me


Last edited by Outside Octaves at Oct 19, 2011,