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THE INTERVALLIC APPROACH Last time around, we discussed different ways of playing the major scale in an effort to train

our ears to recognize and incorporate more interesting shapes and phrases in our playing. I stressed how important it is to learn the sound of each pattern in addition to the pattern, itself. The goal in all of this is to promote a higher level of familiarity with the sound of different shapes so that we may ultimately play what we hear. Remember: It is not enough to simply memorize the pattern, itself. We need to learn the SOUND of each pattern. This article will focus on the application of intervals when working with scale forms. An interval is the distance between 2 notes. Most every musical component containing more than a single note can be looked at as a series of intervals. For example, the major scale can be looked at as a series of whole step and half step intervals, as shown in Figs. 1a and 1b: Fig. 1a

Fig. 1b

Similarly, a major 7 chord can be looked at as being built using major third and minor third intervals, as shown in Figs. 2a and 2b: Fig. 2a

Fig. 2b

One of the problems that some players face when learning to solo is the challenge of how to make their ideas sound less scalar and more melodic. This is one of the symptoms that accompanies an exclusively pattern based approach to improvising that I have talked about in previous columns. Although it still requires a pattern style workout at first to learn the sound of each shape, practicing these less familiar shapes can get us out of a rut and influence our phrasing in fresher ways. For example, there are a variety of intervallic patterns that can be applied to scales to make them sound more interesting. A practice regimen that includes a variety of intervallic approaches can make our basic ideas sound much less contrived and subsequently train our ears to incorporate these new ideas into our playing. For the following examples, we will refer again to our trusty major scale pattern. Each

individual exercise will take a chosen interval and apply it to each note of the major scale within a particular position. I suggest starting with the 3 note per string positions for the major scale, as demonstrated in previous columns. (See figs. 3a.-3c.) Fig. 3a

Fig. 3b

Fig. 3c

To keep the exercises concise, I will use the range of a 4 string bass, utilizing a G major scale starting on the 3rd fret E string. Remember to keep your hand in position as shown, using only the fingerings specified for the duration of each exercise. Intervallic 2nds Each successive note in the scale is followed by the note a diatonic 2nd higher. The exercise written in scale degrees would look like this: Ascending: 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 4-5, 5-6, 6-7, 7-8, 8-9, 9-10, 10-11, 11-12 Descending: 12-11, 11-10, 10-9, 9-8, 8-7, 7-6, 6-5, 5-4, 4-3, 3-2, 2-1 Ex. 1

Intervallic 3rds Each successive note in the scale is followed by the note a diatonic 3rd higher. The exercise written in scale degrees would look like this: Ascending: 1-3, 2-4, 3-5, 4-6, 5-7, 6-8, 7-9, 8-10, 9-11, 10-12 Descending: 12-10, 11-9, 10-8, 9-7, 8-6, 7-5, 6-4, 5-3, 4-2, 3-1 Ex. 2

Intervallic 4ths Ascending: 1-4, 2-5, 3-6, 4-7, 5-8, 6-9, 7-10, 8-11, 9-12 Descending: 12-9, 11-8, 10-7, 9-6, 8-5, 7-4, 6-3, 5-2, 4-1 Ex. 3

Intervallic 5ths Ascending: 1-5, 2-6, 3-7, 4-8, 5-9, 6-10, 7-11, 8-12 Descending: 12-8, 11-7, 10-6, 9-5, 8-4, 7-3, 6-2, 5-1 Ex. 4

Intervallic 6ths Ascending: 1-6, 2-7, 3-8, 4-9, 5-10, 6-11, 7-12 Descending: 12-7, 11-6, 10-5, 9-4, 8-3, 7-2, 6-1 Ex. 5

Intervallic 7ths Ascending: 1-7, 2-8, 3-9, 4-10, 5-11, 6-12 Descending: 12-6, 11-5, 10-4, 9-3, 8-2, 7-1 Ex. 6

Practice these exercises using other modes and scale types over the full range of your neck. Be very disciplined with your technique and timing as you practice. Soon, you will hear these ideas work their way into your playing as their sounds become more familiar to you. Until next time-