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Lemos This article is excerpted from my forthcoming book, A Pentatonic Modal Approach Jazz Guitar Improvisation.1 This book (32 chapters) provides the first comprehensive pentatonic approach to jazz guitar improvisation that is designed specifically to take advantage of the unique “pattern” characteristics of the guitar. Modal pentatonic scales are applied to simple/complex chords and to standard jazz chord progressions. As demonstrated in the following example on the Dorian Pentatonic Scale (Chapter 3), pentatonic scales for each chord mode are built using the 2-notesper-string approach, in five positions, across the entire fretboard. The advantages of the pentatonic modal approach include the following: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
It will work with ANY chord progression—from simple to complex. The strict 2-notes-per-string convention works particularly well for guitar. Unlike other scale systems, there are NO avoid notes. Solos can start or stop on any note and sound good. Any note can be sustained. The system works best with jazz but can be used for Latin, pop, funk, rock, etc. The system works on ANY chord extensions. The system works on ANY chord substitutions. Solos are inherently melodic because each note in the scale is “right” and the emphasis is on the relationship of the scale to the “sweet notes” of the associated chords. Complex chords can be covered with basic or substitute pentatonic scales. The system will work for a beginner as well as for intermediate and even advanced players. The system will work at any tempo. The system will work using any desired note patterns. The system will work no matter how many beats there are for each chord. The system can be used exclusively, selectively or in combination with any other system of playing solos. The system can seamlessly augment, complement, or even transform your current soloing style. Pentatonic modal scales can be used with different degrees of consonance/dissonance. Different scales can be used for different chord types or extensions. All pentatonic modal scales/modes are in proximity to basic chords. The system fits perfectly with other pattern-based soloing devices such as: arpeggios, 12-3 or 4-note patterns/sequences, 6 note (blues/whole tone) scales, 7 note (major/minor) scales, 8 note (bebop) scales, 9 note (diminished) scales, or 12-note (chromatic) scales. Chromatic notes can be used freely to connect notes in the pentatonic modal scales.
From the forthcoming book, A Pentatonic Modal Approach Jazz Guitar Improvisation (Chapter 3), Hal Leonard, 2007.
Many well-known guitarists are successful using only 2 positions of the blues scale. Finally. the Dorian scale is: DEFGABC The IIm7 chord is built on the following degrees of the Dorian scale: 1. Each set of five scales per chord covers the entire fretboard. It is not mandatory that scales be changed for every chord change. it has a sound that suggests the playing of Carlos Santana. For example. As a stand-alone chord. these progressions are focused upon in Chapter 26 (IIV Progressions) and Chapter 27 (II-V-I Progressions). F. subject to desired bass leading and chord voicing movements. one pentatonic scale can be used for an entire progression. Dm11). you can add positions at your own speed and based on your own interests and needs. For jazz. In fact. b7 In the key of C. Dm7 Chord Description The sound of the Dorian minor seventh (IIm7) chord very important. Finger movement is minimized once all scale inversions are learned. They can be substituted freely. The Dorian scale is built on the second degree of the major scale. A. 9ths and 11ths (e. The IIm7 chord is notated in several different ways. you can get by only learning one or two modes. In this system. it has a Miles Davis/John Coltrane sound over static minor seventh chords. Other related minor chords are 6ths. C Almost any IIm7chord voicing or inversion that you use will sound good. Latin and popular music. below are several ways that a IIm7 chord might be notated (sometimes the 7th is incorrectly omitted): Dm7 D-7 Dmin7 Dmi7 DDm Dmin Dmi . while learning all 5 modes for each scale would be best. if desired. the notes for a Dm7 are: D. In the key of C.g. Even more importantly. Dm6/9 Dm6.. 5. Virtually any chord progression/song can be played in one position. b3. it has a signature minor sound that is very modern. the Dorian minor seventh chord is a basic component of the IIm7-V7 and IIm7-V7-Imaj7 chord progressions that form the basis for all jazz. Mastering these chord progressions is absolutely critical and essential in soloing effectively over jazz songs and chord progressions.• • • • • • • The system works equally well in major or minor tonalities. Dm9. For Latin Rock music. In some cases.
and -clearly distinguishing a modal center contrast to any other modal minor or non-modal chords in a chord sequence (sounds good with any chord sequence). This becomes even more evident when the IIm7 chord is used in conjunction with the V7 chord.2 presents the scale as a fingerboard chart. See Figure 3. -the versatility of the scale in playing different Dorian min7 chords in a measure/song and always sounding “right” (try playing different combinations of IIm7 chords and the related scale to see how nicely they sound together). However. Dorian Pentatonic Scale Minor Pentatonic Scale Dorian Minor Scale D D D E E F F F G G A A A B C C C The common suggestion for pentatonic soloing over the IIm7 chord is to use the minor pentatonic scale (1 b3 4 5 7). as will be discussed in a later chapter. Figure 3. The E note (9th) in the Dorian Pentatonic Scale is much stronger than the G note (4th) in the regular Minor Pentatonic scale in terms of the sound of the chord.1 presents the scale in music and tab notation. . Figure 3. The scale consists of the following 5 scale tones (notes): 1 2 b3 5 b7 (D E F A C) Soloing with the Dorian Pentatonic Scale gives a very jazzy minor ninth sound that is very different from the usual scale choices of either the regular minor pentatonic scale or the 7-note Dorian minor scale.3 for some examples of applying this scale to soloing ideas. This pattern can work.1 and 3. Each pattern follows the 2-notes-per-string rule. the subtle change of the one note (E instead of G) makes a big difference in: -the sound of the scale (it sounds more “jazzy” than rock).D Dorian Pentatonic Scale Description Figure 3.2 show the five fingerings for the D Dorian (IIm7) Pentatonic Scale. The Dorian (IIm7) Pentatonic Scale creates a much better voice leading transition to the V7 Dominant Seventh chord and should be used for all IIm7 chords. The three scales are compared below for a Dm7 chord. The initial chord is a suggested voicing that is a good fit for each of the five patterns in terms of sound and proximity to the pattern.
2 D Dorian Pentatonic Scale Mode V 3rd fret Mode bVII 5th fret 7th fret 9th fret 12th fret 3rd fret 5th fret 7th fret 9th fret 12th fret .Figure 3.
Mode I 3rd fret 5th fret 7th fret 9th fret 12th fret Mode II 9th fret Mode bIII 12th fret 15th fret 3rd fret 5th fret 7th fret 9th fret 12th fret .
and a new system for using arpeggios for jazz improvisation. Lemos (Ph. Lemos is also working on forthcoming books including: solo chord melody arrangements (with Dean Lemos). Los Angeles. Ronald S. and jazz. Lemos has played guitar professionally since 1967. Dr. Lemos can be contacted at: rlemos@calstatela. .D.edu. He performs with various musical groups playing a wide range of styles including pop. In addition to teaching and publications in information systems. Latin. in Information Systems from the UCLA Graduate School of Management) is a Professor of Information Systems at California State University. Two co-authored articles with brother Dean Lemos have appeared in Just Jazz Guitar (November 2005 & February 2006).About the Author Dr. Dr. Dr. chord comping arrangements (with Dean Lemos).