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Re: Modal Improv Primer PDF
4/17/2008 2:34 PM
Jon Riley (9697) wrote:
OK, Scott, I've read it, and maybe owe you a partial apology at least! Here's my comments in full:
1. Nice design and presentation. (There could be improvements in the graphic layout - maybe a little more space here and there - but otherwise good.)
2. I very much like your numbering of the patterns using traditional position (fret) numbers. However, perhaps you should explain this system, as other numbering systems are out there.
3. The sign "8va" is short for "ottava" and means "octave higher"; and is used in notation to avoid the excessive use of ledger lines. In your notation, the number "8" is better and less ambiguous.
4. You're not quite clear in the mode section when talking about "3 of the patterns" or "4 of the patterns" that you mean the previous major scale patterns, not the current mode scales. It's confusing as it is.
5. You're also not clear on what use the modes are. You make the occasional reference (eg to Lydian mode on maj7 chords). But this is far too sketchy - and also far too tantalising! - to be of use as it is.
Given that this is the title of the whole document, this needs to be addressed! How would I use modes in my improvisation? When and where? What advantage(s) do they confer? Some examples, please? ;-)
6. A melodic minor is not a "key". "A minor" is a key, which may use A melodic minor as an occasional alteration. Stick with the word "scale".
7. The accidentals are wrongly placed in the notation. The #s should be before the notes, not after.
8. Melodic minor modes seem like a rather advanced topic for material at this level! I think you need a lot more background as to why (and when) such scales might be chosen.
You are not clear enough that the modes are not used in the "home" key. Eg the lydian dominant and altered scales.
There is a typo at the end of this section: C#maj7 is labelled underneath as "C Major or Lydian".
(I also advise using "maj" rather than "M" - it's clearer and more conventional.)
9. A harmonic minor would not be used over Am7 -the latter has a G natural! (In fact, in jazz, harmonic minor would be very unconventional anyway, but that's less important.)
10. Using the 4th mode of harmonic minor over a m7b5 chord is VERY unorthodox. Probably best not to suggest it. It KIND OF fits, but not very well.
On a Dm7b5 in C minor, the standard choices are D locrian (C natural minor) or D locrian natural 2 (F melodic minor).
C harmonic minor would be a 3rd choice.
A harmonic minor is very left field!
(IMO, teaching material should always err on the side of convention. The fact that something might sound cool or weird, odd-but-good, could be mentioned, but that quality should be made clear.)
11. 5th mode of harmonic minor over a V chord is also unusual (if a little less contentious). I've never seen an "11b9" chord, so if you find one, can you let me know!
7b9 chords in jazz usually take the HW dim scale. "7b13b9" chords (not "b13b9") would probably take the altered scale.
Again, this is what is "normal" in jazz language, so should - IMO - be the first option mentioned.
12. The 7th mode is a poor choice as an alternative to the altered scale because it doesn't contain the 7th of the chord - a crucial tone! IMO, no point in mentioning this one. (If there is a chord that would suit the 7th mode, it's a dim7 chord, which is the natural vii chord in harmonic minor anyway. This could be a good 2nd choice to the jazz convention of WH dim on a dim7.)
There's a huge amount of useful information there! But I think you've tried to cram too much in. Either you need to expand hugely on the use of modes (of melodic minor as well as major) - or, to keep it the same length, you need to reduce the breadth of topic.
Say, drop the melodic and harmonic minor stuff, maybe make it a follow up document; expand on the major scale modes instead, and their application.
(I'd be very interested in how you see them applied in any case. I don't think we'd be in disagreement, but because of all the misinformation on the topic out there, you need to be very clear and unambiguous.)