The following examples represent the original source material for what would become my book “A Chromatic Approach To Jazz Harmony and Melody” (Advance Music). When these lines were first published by Jazz Life Magazine in Japan, I was just beginning to formulate the concepts which lead to these kinds of lines as well as harmonies which could accompany them. The basic principle is superimposition. As the original progression, mode or pedal point is being played, the improviser is thinking, hearing and executing lines in a variety of different keys placed “on top” or “against” the original. Bi or poly-tonality would also be an accurate description. To be avoided are symmetrical patterns for the superimposition like whole steps, minor thirds, etc., because they are too predictable. The degrees of tension (and eventual release via a tonal type of line) are a consequence of the various methods described in the book. The main goal is to increase the dissonant-consonant scale and range of one’s improvisational language. The first three examples represent one each for different harmonic situations: diatonic, modal and pedal point. Example 1 representing diatonic, modulating progressions is a iii-VI-V of V-V- I progression and one possible superimposed progression against the original. Example 2: Using a D dorian tonality with accompanying ascending fourth voicings in the left hand, I superimpose other key centers in the melody line. The bass player could stay with D type notes or if he truly heard the superimposition, he could find other notes to compliment the line. Example 3 This example superimposes other key centers above an F# pedal point. The line player can think of these other key centers played against the pedal point, but devoid of a specific color such as minor, major, augmented, diminished, etc. Chord qualities may or may not become specific in the moment in pedal point playing as a result of what the players do together.

. As we know the ii-V is the most common diatonic progression found in standard tunes. though not included here. Also. your resolution to the original home key (C major in this case) is crucial. The degree of tension and release depends upon how far away the superimposed ii-Vs are from the original in terms of common tones between the new and the old.Examples 4 through 10 These are all ii-V lines with the superimposition material coming from other possible ii-V progressions.

in this case from the usual D dorian to D diminished in bar 1 and from G mixolydian to G Phrygian in bar 2. various D modes such as Phrygian. Examples 12 -18 In the following examples I use a mode as the stationary center. mixolydian. Ex. Possible left hand voicings (for a pianist playing the lines in his right hand) are suggested. etc. 12 In this case the “home” mode is a D dorian while the superimposed entities are dominant 7th chords a flat sixth and flat fifth away from the root. aeolian. very much in the fourth interval style of McCoy Tyner. . The chords in parenthesis are the basis for the superimpositions.Example 11 Another way to chromaticize a chord or scale without going to far away from the home key is to change the chord quality. Example 13 Over the D Phrygian the superimposed triads move in random motion above the root.

In this example the neighboring tones are also the “blue” notes (from the blues scale) and give the line that specific kind of atmosphere. by using neighboring tones a feeling of chromaticism is heard. note that for the sake of clarity for most of these examples.Ex 14 The home key here is D Lydian augmented. . it is advisable to begin and end in the first and last bar with a very tonal line clearly outlining the home key sound. ex 16 More superimposition over a D mixolydian scale. In essence this is a traditional bebop concept which Charlie Parker clearly enunciated in his work. ex 15 Using a D major scale as the established tonality.

The same kind of reasoning exists for all the following examples of pedal point harmonic situations. This is a more abstract level of modal playing since now. the superimpositions move in descending whole steps (up to the last bar). the bass line and the soloist. examples 19-24:Pedal point Pedal point playing means that the improviser plays without necessarily specifying a scale or chord color around the root. the choice of minor. In general as mentioned above.ex 17 Using D locrian as the home key. In the first example over a G pedal four bar phrase I use several different types of superimposed sounds. major. I try to avoid pattern or what we call “symmetrical” movement since the motion of the line becomes too predictable and takes interest away from the listening experience. another example of “random” superimposition. . dominant colors are up to the moment and interaction between the chordal player. diminished. augmented. ex 18 Over a D aeolian mode .


You will soon discover that each interval set has a certain color or feel. In these cases the thinking is completely intervallic. mode or even pedal point. no changes” (the Miles Davis group of the ’60s with Herbie Hancock. . One can use different interval sets in random sequences to invent lines. be it chord changes. By the way the principles described can work in an out of tempo or “rubato” situation also.Example 25 For these examples. I turn to a musical situation where there is no harmonic center. Ornette Coleman was the primary artist responsible for this style called “free bop” or “time. etc were the main proponents of this way of playing). Eventually each artist builds his or her own understanding of which intervals to use for expressive purposes.


Example 26-Free Form Lines These lines are free combinations that can be used in all sorts of chromatic situations. In the final result all lines are after all a combination of intervals. .



breath.FINAL NOTE: Obviously these examples do not consider the harmonic aspect of voicing which is a separate topic in itself.) The route is that the mind conceives. syncopation. art. use all the usual means of theme/variation techniques through rhythmic and expressive devices (augmentation. PA USA . Of course when going to play them. Sept 12 2007 Stroudsburg. the body executes (ear at first followed by fingers. neighboring tones. depending upon the instrument). grace notes. etc. ghost notes. finally the individual’s expressive needs dictates when and how the material will be translated into music and hopefully. etc. range. diminution. To review the process described here: invent examples using a specific thought pattern as described above followed by writing them out in normal eighth note rhythms. Have fun and please refer to my books on the subject.

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