Respond to This

Abstract chords for a melody

Zach Rollins (176)

Guitar Theory Forum · 12/22/2010 7:16 PM
I have been studying the jazz guitar legend Larry Coryell as of late and was extremely confused as to why he would play chords to a melody that did not correspond to the scale.It did not sound overly dissonant and it was puzzling the heck out of me how I could solve this formula of composing. Then it occurred to me that when I read that he said the chords possessed their movement and that the dissonance was a part of the song, that their doesn't have to be a strict chord and scale similarity in music,(mostly jazz). So I experimented with that idea in mind and found my improvisation to sound like the progressive jazz sound I desired. One key is to play scales that similar to the chord structure but have a few different notes. For example, if you play an altered chord, play the jazz minor(w-h-w-w-w--w-h) a key above it. You will hear some dissonance but if you use this concept throughout a song, you can produce a very interesting sound. Do keep in mind a definite melody and not just running the scale.
As for chords, they can play a part in making a melody themselves. If you can't get that abstract sound, just start by playing one note(random or organized), and then put a chord to those main notes. Then use the scale concept mentioned earlier. After a lot of practice with these ideas, you will begin to hear a lot of great new things like I am now. And just remember, Larry Coryell said there no rules to music, so play what sounds good to you.
E altered
F minor jazz
g7 flat five
Respond to this

Re: Abstract chords for a melody

12/22/2010 9:10 PM

Randy Hano (12149) wrote:

Good point Zach. Over altered chords you can also played the altered scale which the Jazz Melodic Minor. Start on scale degree 7 as your root and you will have all of the altered tones over that dominant chord. Great fun dude!!!

Respond to this

Re: Abstract chords for a melody

12/23/2010 7:24 PM

Zach Rollins (176) wrote:

Studying the masters pays off

Respond to this

Re: Abstract chords for a melody

12/12/2012 12:14 PM

Inactive Member wrote:

larry is very very good...heres one I scooped from his song "Ms. Julie"

try sliding this from 2 to 5 to 7, 9 etc... and use the open strings sometimes for effect...great!

a little difficult to solo over however.

thinking wholetone may help

and so on

couldnt say what the chord name is or what scale's involved

Respond to this

Re: Abstract chords for a melody

12/13/2012 2:11 AM

Adriano Parmiggianno (6926) wrote:


Cmaj9=1_3_7_9=C_E_B_D..........The chord omits the 5th.

Respond to this

Re: Abstract chords for a melody

12/13/2012 12:35 PM

Inactive Member wrote:

Hi Adriano, No 5, I see, thats why its so versitile. Depending on the open string it can change its function.
Ive always liked that voicing and use it all the time, thanks for the nomenclenture.
Now I was going to start a new subject but I think its okay Zach?
to use this thread for this as it is related.
What are thoughts on using the m/M7th chord in progressions. I have difficulty placing it in composition.
Usually I just take it to the regular minor like so:


Any suggestions on how might Larry use it ?

a voicing from mel Bay bar chord book
scarcley useful but an interesting sound.
Are there any Other m/M7s which are more functional?