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The Whole-Tone Pentatonic Scale

This is a sound that (if memory serves) I first noticed when transcribing John Coltrane's solo on "I Hear A Rhapsody" from his 1957 album "Lush Life."  I don't think I've ever come across anyone discussing this particular scale, so…

"Zhivago" lick, Part 2

(Note: Originally published November 2009 - accidentally deleted, so reposting)

In the previous post, I put up a transcription of a signature line from Kurt Rosenwinkel's solo on "Zhivago" from The Next Step. The line is basically planing a…

"Bill Evans"-derived Rootless voicings for guitar, part 2

Here are more rootless voicings for guitar, based on the "Bill Evans" left-hand style voicings.

These are mostly drop-2 chords, so unlike Evans's close voicings, these are open voicings. This does change the character of the sonority considerably; if the…

Guitar Players: Learn all the notes--update

As a follow up to the previous post about how to learn the notes on the guitar neck, I made a graphic to visually represent the "white notes" on the guitar.  This is what you should 'see' when you look…

Starting and Ending Phrases, Cont'd.

One specific idea for using wider intervals in the beginnings and endings of phrases is to land on a chord tone and leap two chord tones up or down.  This is effective at both the beginnings and endings of phrases…

Starting and Ending Phrases

Large intervallic leaps and interesting rhythms can make phrases more compelling.  The most effective place to use both devices is at the beginnings and endings of phrases.  Intensifying one's focus on how one starts and concludes improvised musical phrases has…

Kurt Rosenwinkel: Zhivago

Here transcription of "the lick" from Zhivago. I've deconstructed it and will post some of what I came up with in the next post.

Note that he's using his weird tuning so there are some unreachable low notes for a…

More Augmented Scale

Here's a continuation of the previous Augmented scale study, using three maj7 chords.

Since the augmented scale can be related to three augmented tonics, it makes sense to me to relate it to the harmonic major (major b6) scale on…

Triads in the Augmented Scale


Here's an an older one from my workbooks. I've spent a lot of time exploring the possibilities for using various triads in improvisation. They create such strong lines and have a compelling internal logic an musicality.

These examples are pretty…

Triads in the Diminished scale

I haven't posted anything to the blog in a while (obviously), but not because I haven't had anything to post! I'm just a bit of a perfectionist and it's been hard to find the time to put stuff into a…

The whole Whole Tone

I like the whole-tone sound, but it can get kind of boring and predictable (true of all the symmetrical scales, but especially the whole tone, since it has the most repetitive pattern . . . whole step, whole step, whole…

Two Triads Connected by Chromatic Passing Tone

Okay, here's the first post . . . ready?

This is something I've been working on. It was inspired (somewhat secondhand) by George Garzone. Garzone has a whole triadic concept for improvising that I don't know a whole lot about…