#1
WARNING: THIS IS AWFULLY DEEP INTO MUSIC THEORY! SHOULD YOU NOT HAVE A DECENT GRASP OF IT, DON'T TRY TO READ IT AND THINK YOU CAN FULLY UNDERSTAND IT. OF COURSE, THERE ARE SOME IDEAS THAT YOU CAN CLEARLY SEE, BUT TO UNDERSTAND THEM, YOU'D HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THE WHOLE PIECE! IT'S A LONG READ AND I RESPECT EVERYONE WHO READS IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH. I'LL BE PATIENT WITH WAITING FOR ANSWERS.

While thinking a bit about music theory and how to spice up my blues playing, I stumbled upon the following thoughts. It all came from a jazz lick I find myself playing a lot.

|7---|6---|5---|~---|
|----|----|----|----|
|----|----|----|----|
|----|----|----|----|
|----|----|----|----|
|----|----|----|----|
|Bm7 |E7  |Amaj7    |


In a very basic way, one can see that as a chromatically descending sequence. It's a simple sequence, so I've started playing with the phrasing a bit. After that, I started adding notes to it. One can clearly see the sequence here.

|7-9-10-|6-8-9-|5---|---|
|-------|------|----|---|
|-------|------|----|---|
|-------|------|----|---|
|-------|------|----|---|
|-------|------|----|---|
|Bm7    |E7    |Amaj7   |


The b5 and #5 of E7 are both in the sequence, and it doesn't sound bad. I already knew you could move sequences around to almost every place you can think of, so that made me think even more! It 'basically' boils down to this: In a blues in A, one can play the A Blues scale. Also, you can play the Mixolydian scales over the respective chords: A Mixo over A7, D Mixo over D7, E Mixo over E7. If you combine the A Mixo with the A Blues scale, you get a very weird, but very cool thing, consisting of the following notes:

A B C  C# D Eb E F# G
1 2 b3 3  4 b5 5 6  b7


The main thing that jumped right at me, was the fact that there's a complete A Dorian scale in there! So, that's one more option to add to the scale options over an A7 chord. The next natural thought in my head was: 'If I can play Dorian over dominant chord, why shouldn't I do that over every chord in the blues?' That led to the following addition to the scale choices in an A Blues: A Dorian over A7, D Dorian over D7, E Dorian over E7.

That's basically the first thing. What's your input on the playing of Dorian and Mixolydian over dominant chords? It's pretty cool imo, because it's essentially just a regular dominant scale, but with an added #9. Let me know what you think!


The next thing goes a little bit further into the depth of my mind. It involves the use of sequences, arpeggios and whatnot.

For the sake of simplicity and keeping myself from mental breakdown, I'll just use m7 chords here! Other chords will be thought out in the near future.

Over an A7 chord, one can play A Dorian and A Mixolydian (and more, but I'll get to those). Since I was thinking of sequencing arpeggios, I thought: In A Dorian, what are the other arpeggios in the scale? Am7, Bm7 and Em7 were the ones I thought of, and those are the only m7 arpeggios in there. In A Mixolydian, the m7 arpeggios are Bm7, Em7 and F#m7! Combining those yields into Am7, Bm7, Em7 and F#m7. This alone creates awesome sequencing abilities!

Analysing the m7 pattern results in: Over a dominant chord, one can play m7 arpeggios of i7, ii7, v7 and vi7. The small letters make it minor, so don't complain about me leaving out an - or m sign after it.

Following that result, playable arpeggios over..
D7: Dm7, Em7, Am7 and Bm7
E7: Em7, F#m7, Bm7 and C#m7

Creating a total of Am7, Bm7, C#m7, Dm7, Em7 and F#m7! Of course, not all arpeggios can be played over the same chords, but if we carry out sequences over multiple bars (and thus, multiple chords) the possibilities continue to grow! I should've really stopped thinking about this right here, because this is something I should try for at least a month to let it flow naturally.

But the ideas just kept jumping right to me. The next thing I was thinking of, was: 'what the hell would the wicked outcome be if I added the Altered scale to the scale possibilities!' So, A Altered, A Dorian and A Mixolydian over A7 leads to:

A Bb B C  C# D Eb E F  F# G  A
1 b2 2 b3 3  4 b5 5 b6 6  b7 1


As far as I can see, that's every note except the G#. Logical, because the G# is the 7 in A and that would clash REAL bad with the b7.

Taking this into account, I just continued the process of m7 arpeggios! I found every m7 arpeggio without a G# in there!

       1   b3   5   b7

Am7  : A   C    E   G
Bm7  : B   D    F#  A
Cm7  : C   Eb   G   Bb
Dm7  : D   F    A   C
Ebm7 : Eb  Gb   Bb  Db
Em7  : E   G    B   D
F#m7 : F#  A    C#  E
Gm7  : G   Bb   D   F


So.. Over A7, one can play the m7 arpeggios of A, B, C, D, Eb, E, F# and G! Or, in general:

Over a dominant chord, one can play the arpeggios of i7, ii7, biii7, iv7, bv7, v7, vi7 and bvii7!

And.. All of the sudden a tear literally came rolling out of my eye because of joyment! The m7 arpeggios that you can play, they form together something! A combination of the Dorian and Blues scale!

By taking the 'play the arpeggios of i7, ii7, biii7, iv7, bv7, v7, vi7 and bvii7'-thing over to the other chords in a blues, I believe that one can play all m7 arpeggios there are! Let me check on that:

Playable m7 arpeggios over A: A B  C D Eb E F# G
Playable m7 arpeggios over D: D E  F G Ab A B  C
Playable m7 arpeggios over E: E F# G A Bb B C# D

A Bb B C C# D Eb E F F# G Ab


Awesome sequencing abilities! But not nearly as awesome as the fact that Over a dominant chord, one can play the m7 arpeggios of every note in the Blues and Dominant scale!

This entire concept can, of course, also be taken towards other types of chords (like playing maj7 arpeggios over m7 chords) or out of the blues context I put most of it in. Most of it'll probably be good in jazz sequencing phrasing things, but it's something I have to test thoroughly. I'll bookmark this page and update every once in a while! Perhaps it's an idea to make lessons out of this, or do you guys think this is going too far in the theory aspect?

This concept took me many months to truely finish! I want everybody in here, to take a look at this and tell me what you think of it. My gratitude is immense if I can have a true discussion with somebody over this! If you reply, please be specific, use arguments and whatnot. Thanks in advance!
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Last edited by elvenkindje at Sep 16, 2006,
#2
wow. ive been playing for a almost a year and i get wot youre on about. although i havent read through it thoroughly it looks like you have done some great logical thinking. have u been taught or are you self taught. cos if its the second then, firstly, awesome and secondly, i think its part of the fun when you start to understand the complexities of music. great work. hope u make some cool stuff.
#3
oo, nice stuff. I think i understood most of it, but playing for only 3 years, i couldnt comprehend it well enough to be able to pick up my guitar and apply it right away, it would take a while to figure out.

Thanks for the lesson
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#4
I've been playing for three years now. The first two years without teaching, the last one with. My teacher tought me the basics of scales, which I found highly interesting. The UG lessons/forum helped me expand my knowledge, because my teacher thinks I'm being to technical about music. Not to talk bad about him, but he'll probably say 'that's just another way of thinking with many accidentals, but keep your eye on the current mode'. There's something to say about that, too, but I like to go outside!

Thanks for the responses, both of you
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#5
don't use standard 7ths add some #9ths .
also kudos i found it appealing
#6
The blues is very elastic. You can bend and stretch alot of the chord tones yet they will still fit within context. I use a C7#5 as V7 substitution all the time. What ever gives you the blue note affect. In single line playing sometimes just hitting the 7 before the b7 gives you a nice effect. All functional harmony can be thought of as stable or unstable. Dominant chords are the most unstable of all the different categories of chord. They probably have the most room for experimentation out of every chord out there. Never over think music to much either, your teacher may be right. If you think about it so hard that your brain starts to ache just stop, relax and come back to it later. Thats what I did when I learned about key area reharmonization and Freddie Greene.
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Last edited by Steve Cropper at Sep 17, 2006,
#7
Regardless of if this is practical or not, it's great to think about. After thinking about it for a bit, I finally get what you are saying. Unfortunately, like those before me, I don't have much to argue or say. It appears to be a solid theory, and a really interesting thought process and mashing of scales.

I'd like to see this on the lessons page, but be careful about those who lurk there. Most of them play with 'feeling' and 'soul'. They don't take kindly to thought

Anyways, I'd love to see you post more things like this. It's quite a keen observation. Hopefully next time my band practises, I can try and use some of this.
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#8
It seems to me that you have spent a great deal of time and effort on this, and I applaud your absolute devotion to the study of music. I can't stand those who insult people who do this because they claim that toying to much with theory incorporates playing "with your head rather than your ears." However, it also seems that when this theory you've created is applied to a compostion, the only ones who will appreciate this are seasoned musicians themselves, i.e. Jazz players. To me, Jazz is a type of style that one more respects than actually enjoys. To quote the movie 24 Hour Party People, "Jazz musicians are having a lot more fun on stage than anybody in the audience is." That said, post this immedietely in the lessons page, because I, and any other theory nut, will commend you on your brilliance. You sir are the Isaac Newton of music.

p.s.: I'm gonne have to steal that whole Dorian/Mix./Blues mashup thing. Cheers.
#9
*tag!*

Really interesting stuff, definitely gonna try it when I get back from work...
#11
Interesting, probably not applicable for me, though. It's a different thought process than I would use.

I would say try to isolate a few of your ideas and concentrate on them, giving time to see what you like and what you don't.
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#12
Quote by gamayshark
It seems to me that you have spent a great deal of time and effort on this, and I applaud your absolute devotion to the study of music. I can't stand those who insult people who do this because they claim that toying to much with theory incorporates playing "with your head rather than your ears." However, it also seems that when this theory you've created is applied to a compostion, the only ones who will appreciate this are seasoned musicians themselves, i.e. Jazz players. To me, Jazz is a type of style that one more respects than actually enjoys. To quote the movie 24 Hour Party People, "Jazz musicians are having a lot more fun on stage than anybody in the audience is." That said, post this immedietely in the lessons page, because I, and any other theory nut, will commend you on your brilliance. You sir are the Isaac Newton of music.

p.s.: I'm gonne have to steal that whole Dorian/Mix./Blues mashup thing. Cheers.

I agree, but definetly reword it so it sounds like a lesson. Don't treat it like he discovered it, since I'm sure there are musicians out there who already know this stuff.

That said, it's great that the threadstarter was able to figure this stuff out on his own. Kudos.
#13
Steve Cropper: I'll try the bIII7#5 as V7 sub when I get to it! Thanks for the ideas. Thanks for the other input, but I always think real hard to find something new and interesting to play. When I play that sort of thing about a month, it becomes second nature, so it isn't overthinking it anymore

Nightwind: When I get to it and finish the entire thing, including other chords, I might post it as a lesson. Not really sure about that, though, because I need to do some serious testing here.

Gamayshark: Lol@the jazz quote! Also, thanks for the compliments. That really gives me some motivation to continue researching these sort of things.

Wasp2020 and Mattyyy: Have you tried it yet? How's it like?

Psychodelia: Isolating ideas was the first thing I did with it, thanks for the suggestion

Scourge441: Of course there are other musicians that discovered this, but I've never heard of/read about anything that is specifically like this. I'm sure someone know about it, though.

Thank you all, for reading and commenting

"Analysing the m7 pattern results in: Over a dominant chord, one can play m7 arpeggios of i7, ii7, v7 and vi7. The small letters make it minor, so don't complain about me leaving out an - or m sign after it."

After a bit of testing, in all sorts of ways, I must say that this part works very nice! The rest has yet to be tested. If anyone is willing to try any part of this out (even the things I've already tried out) feel free to do so and please let me know what you think of it!

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#14
Quote by elvenkindje
Steve Cropper: I'll try the bIII7#5 as V7 sub when I get to it! Thanks for the ideas. Thanks for the other input, but I always think real hard to find something new and interesting to play. When I play that sort of thing about a month, it becomes second nature, so it isn't overthinking it anymore


Oh yeah... I read somewhere that if you take a dominant, you can subsitute dominants based on the notes of a diminished arpeggio built from the root. Obviously the b5 substitution is a tritone substitution, but I haven't gotten around to working with the other two.
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#15
Yes, that is something that I can add to the list! Just to make sure, you mean something like G7 = Bb7 = Db7 = E7?
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#16
Yes, something along those lines...

the main issue that I see is that the biii7 and bbvii7 (relative to G) do not contain the tritone which the other two contain (the one which would resolve nicely to the I(M7)). However, if you make them 7b9s, I think both will contain the tritone... then you could add other alterations to add more tension, I guess.
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#17
That would be correct

However, if I include soloing over dominant chord substitutions, the possibilities would differ greatly, so I'm not too sure whether or not I should add something about that.

I'll guess I just keep it in mind and finish the other sections I'm thinking of. Thanks again for the input!
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#19
So, concerning the arpeggios, you're basically saying that over a dominant chords you can play any arpeggio that contains the notes of the mode?
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#20
Modes. Multiple I'm applying some sort of polytonal aspect to this thing, so combining the arpeggios of both(Dorian and mixolydian) modes. Further on in the article, I add the altered scale, so every possible note becomes available, by mixing the modes.

But in the basic essence, yes, it's main idea is to play the mode arpeggios. I will expand on that idea in the near future, so don't think this is just basic stuff
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