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Drop2More

PostedonAugust18,2014byJason8Comments

IwroteaboutDrop2lastyearhereandIvehadsomefeedback(afewpeople
reallylovedthepictureoftheGoldenRetrieverwithfourtennisballsinher
mouthsoheresheisforawelldeservedencore).

Inparticular,Ivebeenaskedvariationsonthefollowingquestion:Allvery
well,mate,anditworkswelloverstaticIchordsandturnarounds,butwhatdo
youdowhenthereareothersortsofchordsinvolved?

Well,IllfreelyadmitthatImnotthehottestdroptwoerontheplanet.Iregard
itasanoccasionaltool.Keepmeaningtogetroundtoputtingmoreworkinto
itandImsureImnotalone.

Mostly,myapproachtootherchordtypesandsituationswhenusingthis
approachistosortofbendandtwisteitherthemajororminor6thversionsto
fitasIgoalong.Whichisabithaphazard,tobehonest.Butyoucanbeabit
morescientificandtherearespecificwaysoftacklingdifferentchordtypesin Stilldoggedlyplayinginfour
droptwobyapplying6thstructuresondifferentroots.
wayclose

Warning:thiswillgettechnical.Donyoursafetygogglesnowandmakesure
youhaveatleastsevenpensandaslideruleinthetoppocketofyourwhite
coat.Preparealsotolearnhowtoplaysomebeautifulsounds,butnottomakeanymoneyorhavemuchsexasa
result.

WHATWEALREADYKNOW

IfyoureplayingoverapassagethatsbasicallyinCmajor(evenwithturnarounds),youplaythedroptwoset
thatcombinesC6andG7b9chordsyouareharmonisingtheCmajorbebopscale(CDEFGG#AB).

IfyourpassageisinCminor,youplaythesetthatcombinesCm6andG7b9chordssameasabove,justwith
theflat3rdofthekey.

Thisiswhatwealreadyknowanditcantakeusaverylongwayindeed.Atleastin
functionalharmony,everytuneis,atanygivenpoint,inacertainkey.Evensuch
devicesastritoneandColtranesubstitutionsaretemporarymodulations.Asthe
famousEcclesfromtheGoonShowusedtosay,whenaskedWhatareyoudoing
here?,Everybodygottobesomewhere.WithDrop2,youreeffectivelyjustplaying
thekeycentresandusingaseesawingofIandV7b9chordsoverthem.

Thequestionariseshowmuchofthisstuffshouldyouplay?Well,ifyoureplaying
solo,feelfreetogonuts.Duringacombopianosoloyoucanoftengetprettywildtoo
rememberthateveninabandcontext,whenthepianosolocomesyoureplayinga
minitriogig.
AnEccles
interviewedearlier AsforcompingMyexperiencehasbeenthatitsbesttorestrictthehardcoredrop
today. twoingtotheoccasionalfillwhenthesoloistrests(whichisessentiallyatinymomentof
triosituationagain).Youcanalsooccasionallyusedroptwounder(orwith)asoloist,
buttakecarenottoburytheirideasindenselushsound.Thisstuffcanbefartoorich
forcompingandwhatsworseitcanrestrictthesoloist.
Inparticular,whencompingyoucanusedroptwovoicingsasapproachestochordsjustslideupordownfrom
the7b9voicingintothetarget.Buttakegreatcare,becausethesoloistisoftenreharmonisingthechangesas
theygo,andtheymightpreferjustthefactsmaam.Somesoloistsdigareallyactive,evenreactivebacking,
otherswilljustfeellikepunchingyourlightsout.Ifindoubt,playless,andalwaysleavethemspaceitistheir
timetoshine.(Andyoucantaffordreconstructivesurgeryonamusicianswages.)

NOWONWARDSINTOTHETOPSECRETRESEARCHFACILITY

Cm7isoftenplayedasifitwereaminortonic(itsjustslightlybluesier).Butwhetheryourethinkingthatwayor
nimblychuckinginsomedroptwoeryoveraIIchordinaIIVI,youjustplaythesetthatcombinesEb6and
Bb7b9.YoureharmonisingtheEbbebopscale(EbFGAbBbBCD).StrictlyspeakingthisscaleisAeolianor
classicalminor,buttheflat6thisplayedasapassingtone.

IfyouspecificallywantaC#4(Lydian)soundplaythesetcombiningAm6andE7b9.

C7issometimesplayedasifitwereamajortonic(itsjustmuchbluesier).Whetheryouredoingthatorbeing
athleticontheVinaIIVI,youcanplaythesetthatcombinesGm6andD7b9.TheGmbebopscale(GABbCD
D#EF).Thiscanbeslightlyunsatisfactory,sincetheonvoicingsinthatsetspelloutaC9withouttheroot
althoughtherootisintheoffvoicings.(Butnotealsothattheblue3rdisinthere.)

WhataboutminorIIVs?Panicnot.OveraCchord(egfromaminorIIVIinBb),playthesetthatcombines
Ebm6andBb7b9.TheEbmbebopscale(EbFGbAbBbBCD).Thisset,playedoveraChalfdiminishedchord
givesyouthecommonmodernalterationofa#2nd.

OveraC7altchord(egfromaminorIIVIinF),playthesetthatcombinesDbm6andAb7b9.TheDbmbebop
scale(DbEbFbGbAbABbC).Again,theonvoicingsdontcontaintheroot.

C7b9isjustaboutasdiminishedasdiminishedcanbe.Ipersonallytendtotreat7b9anddiminishedchordsas
twosidesofthesamecoin.Thereisntreallyapuredroptwosolutiontoeither.MaybeImjustbeinglazy,butI
prefertothinkintermsofupperstructureytypethingsinthesesituationstheycanblendverynicelywithdrop
two.Ifyouwish,youcantryinterlacingthetwodiminishedchordsthatmakeupthescaleinthiscaseCoand
C#o.Tomyearthishasaratherbionicsuperactivesound,whichmaybetoomuch.Butifitfloatsyourboat,go
forit.

IMCONFESSIN

IhonestlydontthinkIknowanyonewhoistotallyhandsonconversantwithdroptwoinallkeysandsituations
and,believeme,Iknowsomehardcorewoodshednutters.Inmyexperience,thebestwayintothissoundisto
workslowlyandmethodicallyonarrangementsofindividualtunesandgraduallyacquirepetsituationsand
solutionsovertime.Ofcourse,thisstuffisanabsolutekilleronfathornarrangementsWhynotwritesome?

Inmostsituationsapianistjustdoesnthavethetimetoaccurately
applydroptwomanoeuvrestoeachandeverychordasitpasses
andevenifyourecleverenoughtodoit,itsoftennot
appropriate.Youdjustwindupburyingthetuneinthickharmonic
washes(andnobodylikesasmartarse).

Butacertainamountofthisthinking,judiciouslyapplied,can
definitelybroadenthescopeofyourplaying,andtakeyouaway
fromyourinstinctiveclawshapesininterestingandfertilenew
directions.

Thatconcludesourtouroftheresearchfacility.Youcannow
Thatsthescienceoveranddonewith.As removeyoursafetygoggles,pensandslideruleandgobackto
youwere. beingsexyagain.