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Major!7!#5!Superimposition!
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This!is!an!improv!concept!that!will!be!featured!in!Volume'Two!of!The'Complete'Guide'To'
Improvisation'which!will!be!coming!out!soon.!!I!used!the!examples!presented!here!
during!a!lesson!with!a!private!guitar!student!at!Berklee!this!week.!!The!concept!involves!
superimposing!a!Maj!7th!#5!structure!over!any!chord!and!outlining!the!Maj!7!#5!chord!
in!the!improv.!!We!can!also!use!the!related!Symmetrical!Augmented!scale!as!well!
passing!and!approach!notes!to!notes!in!the!Maj!7!#5!structure.!
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Here!is!the!application!on!Autumn!Leaves.!I've!listed!the!Maj!7!#5!chords!that!I'm!using!
in!the!videoclip.!!I!didn't!list!the!superimpositions!for!every!chord!throughout!the!32!
measures!since!most!of!the!superimpositions!for!the!entire!tune!are!addressed!in!the!
first!eight!measures.!!At!the!bottom!of!the!chart,!I've!listed!a!basic!list!of!the!possible!
Maj!7!#5!superimpositions!according!to!chord!types.!!
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The!Symmetrical!Augmented!scale!contains!three!Maj!7!#5!chords!a!major!3rd!apart.!
Many!times!all!three!of!the!Maj!7!#5!chords!contained!in!the!scale!can!be!applied!over!a!
chord.!!Notice!in!the!first!measure!of!CM7!how!all!three!Maj!7!#5!chords!could!be!used.!
These!Maj!7!#5!chords!can!sound!interesting!tensions!and!colors!over!the!underlying!
harmony.!!With!the!examples!in!the!clip,!I'm!sounding!some!of!the!following!tensions!
with!the!superimposed!Maj!7!#5!chords.!
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Min!7:! !
Natural!7!and!#11!
Maj!7:! !
#9!and!#5!
Min!7!b5:!
Natural!9!and!Natural!13!!
Min!6:! !
Natural!7!and!#11!
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Autumn Leaves

(# 5)

B ma7
(# 5)
G ma7

4
&4
G ma7
E

ma7

(# 5)

A ma7

C -7

(# 5)

F7

(# 5)

ma7

A -7

(# 5)

( 5)

ma7

B
D ma7

(# 5)

D7

b 7 (#5)
ma
b 7

E
E

ma

b 7 (#5)
ma
b 7
ma

(# 5)

ma7

1.

(# 5)

B ma7

G -6

(# 5)

..

G7

2.

G -6

C -7

A -7

( 5)

ma7

Maj 7 : Root, 3, #5
Min 7 : 3, 5, 7
Dom 7 (Alt) : 3
Dom 7 (Lydian 7) : 2, 7
Min 7 5 : 5, 7
Min 6 : 3, 5

A -7

( 5)

F7

D7

G -6

ma7

ma7

D7

G -7

D7

G -6

(# 5)

C7

G7

ma7

ma7

F -7

G -6

(# 5)

b7

Symmetrical!Augmented!Scale:!!Here!is!the!scale!for!Eb!Maj!7!#5.!!Notice!how!the!scale!
is!made!up!of!a!min!3rd!and!1/2!step.!!It!contains!two!Augmented!triads!of!Eb+!and!D!+.!
See!Ex.!2!
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Ex. 2

C -7
( E bma7 #5 )

Symmetrical Augmented Scale

& b

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Ex.!3!shows!the!scale!applied!over!CM7.!
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C -7

Ex. 3 (

&

ma7

#5

# b

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Scale!Fragments/Shapes:!!Any!scale!fragment!or!shape!derived!from!the!scale!can!be!
transposed!up!or!down!via!maj!3rds.!!Here!are!some!possible!shapes!derived!from!the!
Bb!Maj!7!#5!scale.!!See!Ex.!4!
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Ex. 4
b (#5)
B ma7 Scale Fragments/Shapes

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& # # n #
# # # # # # #
1

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Shapes!can!be!inverted:!!Taking!one!shape!and!playing!it!in!various!inversions!will!
generate!additional!interesting!structures!contained!within!the!scale.!!See!Ex.!5!
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Ex. 5

Shape With Inversions

& #

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A!few!additional!things!to!keep!in!mind!when!applying!this!concept:!!Keep!in!mind!how!
certain!notes!in!the!Maj!7!#5!should!sometimes!be!resolved.!!The!concept!can!be!
applied!along!with!basic!chord!tone!soloing!for!a!balance!with!regard!to!tension!
resolution.!!The!use!of!motives!also!helps!to!create!a!stronger!line.!!Connecting!the!line!
when!going!from!one!chord!to!the!next!helps!the!overall!flow!of!the!line.!!