S E S S I O N S

THIS ASTONISHING CHORD SEQUENCE
comes from composer Frédéric Chopin, who
wrote almost exclusively for the piano. As is of-
ten the case with piano music, this passage is
fairly easy to play on the keyboard but is ab-
solute murder on the guitar. It’s worth soldiering
through because: (1) it’s a superb finger-stretch-
ing exercise, (2) it’s beautiful, and (3) the lurch-
ing yet logical harmonic leaps are likely to in-
spire new composition and arranging ideas.
This progression is easier to hear and play
if you eyeball its patterns first. Check it out:
There’s an unbroken chain of four-note chords.
The lowest voice—the one with the stems point-
ing down—simply descends chromatically.
Through the first four chords, the highest voice
rises chromatically in mirror reflection of the
low voice, while the middle two voices don’t
move at all. But, starting at the beginning of bar
2, the secondvoice from the top starts to ascend,
while the ones above and below it stay put. In
bar 3, the third voice from the top gets going,
while the two above it hold steady. The motion
returns to the top voice in bar 4, and so on.
Next, inspect the chord symbols. Each mea-
sure is based around a single dominant 7th
chord. Beats one and three always host different
inversions of the same harmony, while the mi-
nor chord in between is a fleeting by-product
of the chromatic motion. The main roots of
each measure—G, E, Db, Bb, and then G
again—spell out a diminished 7th chord. In true
diminished-chord fashion, progressions de-
rived from this sequence are great for sneaky
key changes. Like augmented or whole-tone
passages, they are eager to help you pull off
reckless modulation stunts.
Now, play the sequence and try to make the
voices sound as connected as possible, despite
the fact that some of the fingerings are rather
sadistic. In fact, bar 5 may be impossible unless
you tap some of the bass notes with the tip of
a picking-hand finger. But it doesn’t really mat-
ter whether you make it that far, since this pro-
gression has no real beginning or end. I’ve only
stopped at bar 6 because we’ve hit the guitar’s
lowest note.
You can jump off the merry-go-round any-
where—just think of a measure’s principal
chord as V7 of a new key. Try slipping into A
minor after the end of bar 2, Gb minor after bar
3, Eb minor after bar 4, or Cminor after bar 5.
It’s the harmonic equivalent of a wormhole
in the space/time continuum (if I have my
sci-fi jargon straight).
Chopin died almost 150 years ago, but his
harmonies still dazzle. Want more? Start with
his nocturnes, preludes, and mazurkas. Even
though these are his shortest and easiest
works, they contain some of his most breath-
taking leaps of imagination. Seekers will be
rewarded. g
Consulting editor Joe Gore performs on re-
cent and upcoming releases by PJ Harvey, Tom
Waits, Oranj Symphonette, Action Plus+, Bomb
the Bass, and Meat Beat Manifesto.

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B Y J O E G O R E
Chopin’sWormhole
Sinister grooves:
Gore and sparkle
G&L ASAT on tour
with PJ Harvey.
IN THE ’60S, THE DOMI-
nant-7 sus4 chord played a promi-
nent role in the pioneering modal
jazz of McCoy Tyner, Wayne Short-
er, and Herbie Hancock. Today, its
sound is integral to modern jazz
guitar. But to groove with the
dom7sus4 you need to be familiar
with its voicings and related sin-
gle-note lines. We’ll cover both in
this lesson.
Here’s a simple approach to
improvising on a dom7sus4: Play
a minor-7th arpeggio starting a
fifth above the chord root. For ex-
ample, Em7 (E, G, B, D) sounds like
an upper structure of A7sus4 (A, D,
E, G) with an added 9 (B).
Let’s try it. In Ex. 1, first cali-
brate your ears with the A7sus4
voicing (which you can also think
of as Em7/A), then play the three-
bar line. The line ascends as an
Em7 arpeggio and descends as an
E minor-pentatonic scale.
Built in fourths, Ex. 2’s A7sus4
evokes a modal sound reminiscent
of Tyner. Use this voicing to record
a vamp, then work out the E mi-
nor-pentatonic line above, which
also features fourths. Such penta-
tonic lines are especially useful for
modal tunes in minor keys. Check
out George Benson on “So What”
from Beyond the Blue Horizon.
You’ll hear exactly what I mean.
Now try your own melodic
variations over Ex. 2’s A7sus4.
Shifting to a Bm7 arpeggio (B,
D, F#, A) adds color to your lines
by accenting A7’s 13—F#. Also fea-
turing F#, Gmaj7 (G, B, D, F#) has
a similar effect. Using Ex. 3’s ex-
tended voicing, record a repeating
two-bar vamp, and then play the
jazzy line. Notice how it links both
Bm7 and Gmaj7 arpeggios.
Preceded by yet another cool,
extended A7sus4 voicing, the next
two examples feature lines forged
from a B minor-pentatonic scale.
Ex. 4 is a fourths-based pattern,
S E S S I O N S

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Bm7 Gmaj7
Sus4 & More
B Y G A R R I S O N F E WE L L

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Ex. 2
Ex. 1
Ex. 3
while Ex. 5 is a string-skipping
line based on larger intervals of
sevenths and sixths. To hear
these phrases in context, play
them over rhythm tracks featur-
ing the companion A7sus4.
The voicing in Ex. 6 is a G
triad sandwiched between a
pair of As. Based on a Gmaj7
arpeggio, the winding line spans
15 frets and throws in a couple
of string-skipping seventh in-
tervals as it descends. You know
the drill: Track a rhythm, then
jam on it.
Now develop your own
ideas, using your backup tracks
to keep things musical. But first,
let’s recap our dom7sus4 solo-
ing formulas:
• From the chord’s 5, work
around a minor-7th arpeggio or
minor-pentatonic scale.
• From the chord’s 2, play off
a minor-7th arpeggio or minor-
pentatonic scale.
• From the chord’s b7, play
off a major-7th arpeggio.
• Here’s a final tip: From the
chord’s 5, try playing blues licks,
for example, E blues against
A7sus4. Your licks will sound
fresh, yet feel familiar. g
Garrison Fewell juggles
touring and teaching at Berklee
College of Music. Hear his intro-
spective lines and round, dusky
tone on A Blue Deeper Than
Blue, Are You Afraid of the
Dark?, and Reflection of a Clear
Moon (all on Accurate, Box
390115, Cambridge, MA 02139).
Send us your candidate for Lick of the Month (preferably notated and
on cassette), along with a brief explanation of why it’s cool and how to play
it. If we select your offering, you’ll get a funky custom T-shirt that’s available
only to Lick of the Month club members. Mail your entry to Lick of the Month,
Guitar Player, 411 Borel Ave. #100, San Mateo, CA 94402. Include your name,
address, and phone number. Materials won’t be returned, and please don’t
call the office to check the status of your submission. You’ll get your shirt
if your lick is chosen. g

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let ring - - - - -
let ring - - - -
Swampy blues A7 D7
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R I N G O U T ! L i c k o f t h e M o n t h
PORTLAND, OREGON’S DREW
Bearse scored this month’s lick. “What
makes this lick so cool are the ringing
arpeggios in beats one and two of each bar,”
he says. “Both arpeggios span five frets, so
your fingers get some exercise. To hear the
twangy chord that sets up each measure,
be sure to sustain the three notes in each
arpeggio as marked. Pull bar 2’s bend to-
ward your feet—yeah, that’s it. Try some
throbbing tremolo, a snappy bridge-pickup
tone, and a pick-and-fingers grip.” g

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Ex. 4
Ex. 5
Ex. 6
S E S S I O N S
Hijaz for Guitar
B Y L E V O N I C H K H A N I A N

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0 1 5 7 8 10 12 4
MUSICIANS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AT THE
forefront of global integration. The combination
of jazz and Middle Eastern music is an example
of such integration, using improvisation (which
plays a key role in both idioms) to unite the two.
In honor of this mix, let’s explore one of the
most common Middle Eastern scales—the
hijaz—in relation to Ex. 1’s EPhrygian (1, b2, b3,
4, 5, b6, b7). Hijaz is the same mode with a raised
3 (G#)—essentially a major Phrygian (Ex. 2).
Examples 3 and 4 are ascending and de-
scending exercises that feature a slurring tech-
nique derived from such instruments as the oud
(an ancestor of the lute). Practice these using
downstrokes with a tonic E drone. The goal is
to produce a smooth, even sound playing on
only one string. Once you can do this at 120
bpm, move the exercises to other strings.
Examples 5 and 6 are melodic ideas using
the hijaz scale. To add more color, experiment
with adding the b3 (Gn) and n6 (C#) as passing
tones. Have a good trip. g
A recipient of the Canadian All Star Jazz
Award, guitarist/composer Levon Ichkhanian
has studied with Pat Martino and Steve Khan.
His latest releases are Kick-in’ Jazz with Bernard
Purdie and After Hours. The latter blends Armen-
ian/Middle Eastern melodies with contemporary
jazz and is available from www.ours.com/levon.
Ex. 1
Ex. 3
Ex. 4
Ex. 2
Surrounded by traditional
Middle Eastern instruments
and a pair of PRS electrics,
Ichkhanian frets his
acoustic-electric Wechter.

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Ex. 6

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Ex. 5

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Ex. 4 (continued)
S E S S I O N S
DO YOU EVER GET
bored constructing solos
from scales? One way to
generate non-scalar melod-
ic material is to link related
triad arpeggios in different
combinations and se-
quences.
For instance, Ex. 1 con-
sists of alternating Gand D
arpeggios. Connected this
way, these triads generate a
Gmaj9 sound. To re-create
this formula in other keys,
think I+V.
Similarly, Ex. 2 shows
how alternating Gand Dm
arpeggios sets up a G9 vibe.
This is a I+Vm formula.
The sequence in Ex. 3
weaves Gand Db (I+bV) tri-
ads into a G7 altered-dom-
inant line. Ex. 4 creates an
Am9 by combining Amand
Em(Im+Vm).
Finally, Ex. 5 shows how
to use inversions for
smoother transitions. Here,
we zip together G and Ab
arpeggios (I+bII) to create a
tangy phrase.
Here are some other
useful combinations:
• G and Bm(I+IIIm)
• G and Em(I+VIm)
• G and C (I+IV)
• G and Bb (I+ bIII)
• G and F (I+bVII)
Sequence these triad
pairs in different positions,
inversions, and keys until
you begin to hear the magic.
Soon you’ll be able to incor-
porate summed triads into
your solos. g
Robert Stanton teaches
guitar, theory, and improvi-
sation at Music Tech in
Minneapolis.

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Summing Triads
B Y R O B E R T S T A N T O N
Ex. 1
Ex. 2
Ex. 3
Ex. 4
Ex. 5
ACCESSING NOTES ON CALL
To sample or record any lesson in
this month’s Sessions, call 1-900-370-
0020 and enter the appropriate four-
digit code. It costs 75¢ per minute.
You’ll need a touch-tone phone and
parental permission if you’re under 18.
To better control your phone time, use
these touch-tone commands: 7 = for-
ward ten seconds; 8 = rewind ten sec-
onds; 9 = pause ten seconds; # = skip
to end;
*
= repeat lesson.
This month’s lessons are also
available on CD for only $6.95 (plus
$3.95 s/h). For credit card orders call
1-800-222-5544, or send check or
money order to Notes On Call, July ’98
Lessons, 146 2nd St. N., Ste. 201, St.
Petersburg, FL 33701.
Joe Pass said, “Play, play, play!” So what are you going to do? Get inspired
with GP’s Sessions sampler CD and its 11 cool lessons. Hey—it’s a measly $5.00.
You paid more for ABBA’s Greatest Hits! Call 1-800-222-5544.
Net-heads: For the lowdown on GP’s music notation symbols—
and to hear Sessions sound samples—visit www.guitarplayer.com.
N O T E S O N C A L L
July ’98 Guitar Player lessons:
1640 - Chord Connections: ROBERT BROWN
1641 - Sus4 & More: GARRISON FEWELL
1642 - Chopin’s Wormhole: JOE GORE
1643 - Hijaz for Guitar: LEVON ICHKHANIAN
1644 - Stretching Out: JOE PASS
1645 - Summing Triads: ROBERT STANTON
1646 - Lick of the Month: RING OUT!
1647 & 1648 - Pete Anderson lesson: ANDY ELLIS
IN SEPT. ’84, THE LATEJOE
Pass gave GP readers a private
chord-melody lesson that in-
cluded this finger- and ear-
stretching progression. “It’s
commonly used for intros and
endings,” he explained. “The
chords descend chromatically
while keeping a common tone
in the melody.”
For a true Virtuoso-era
sound, play this fingerstyle—
thumb on the A string, and in-
dex, middle, and ring fingers
on the G, B, and E strings. As
you play through the chord se-
quence, imagine that each
string is a separate instrument,
and you’re simultaneously
playing four seven-note lines.
Transposition. “Learn
everything you play in all keys,”
Joe advised. “If I don’t confuse
myself by thinking about what
I’m doing, on a good night I can
spontaneously play just about
every tune I know in any key.
There’s no substitute for expe-
rience, so play, play, play.”
Attitude. “I don’t like all the
bullshit that people try to attach
to jazz,” Joe said. “On one hand,
some players try to pass their
music off as having mystical
qualities. On the other hand, you
have polls that try to determine
who’s the fastest and the world’s
greatest. While you shouldn’t be-
little playing guitar, don’t make
so much out of it. I play because
I like it. Improvisation isn’t any-
thing magical. It’s usually just
putting things together that you
already know. When you do
happen to play something
you’ve never done before, those
are the joyous times that make
the journey worthwhile.” g
S T R E T C H I N G O U T W I T H J O E P A S S

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“The music has
to be in your
head, not just in
your hands.”
—Joe Pass

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