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Playing Outside With Concepts You Already Know

Part 2: The Major Scale


A free lesson from www.RyanCarraher.com

Written by: Ryan Carraher

I:#Introduction#
"
A"lot"of"people"are"interested"in"creating"modern"outside"sounds"when"theyre"
soloing"over"changes."Many"of"these"players"believe"that"they"have"to"learn"about"
the"symmetrical"diminished"scale,"harmonic"major,"melodic"minor,"major"7#5"
superimpositions"and"other"concepts"in"order"to"achieve"this"sound."Yes,"all"the"
concepts"mentioned"above"are"necessary"to"study"and"apply"but"they"take"a"while"to"
become"natural"in"ones"playing."The"reason"it"takes"so"long"to"assimilate"these"ideas"
naturally"is"because"the"harmonic"material"needed"for"the"concept"(i.e."the"harmonic"
major"scale)"may"be"foreign"to"the"player"and"thus,"requires"extensive"work"to"
become"a"useful"improvisational"source."You"need"to"work"with"the"new"scales"to"
the"point"where"you"no"longer"need"to"think"of"the"shapes"or"what"note"you"are"
playing;"the"scales"should"simply"play"themselves.""
"
What"if"I"told"you"that"you"could"achieve"an"outside"sound"without"having"to"learn"
an"unfamiliar"scale?"What"if"I"told"you"that"you"could"bring"the"outside"sounds"in"
to"your"playing"RIGHT"NOW?"You"can"achieve"outside"textures"by"using"just"triads#
(Part#1),"and"the"major#scale#(in#this#lesson)."These"things"are"the"foundation"of"
improvisation,"which"means"they"are"already"very"familiar"to"you"making"them"
readily"available"scales"for"effective"improvisation."Most"players"tend"to"think"of"
these"concepts"as"stagnant"and"as"boring,"in#this#lesson#I#will#show#you#ways#to#
use#these#fundamentals#to#create#a#modern,#interesting#sound."Players"such"as"
John"Coltrane,"Wayne"Shorter,"Herbie"Hancock"and"Chris"Potter"have"used"this"
approach."
"
If"you"love"instant"gratification"in"the"practice"room"or"are"looking"for"a"new"concept"
to"pull"out"on"tonights"gig"then"keep"reading!"
"
II:#Tension#Resolution#REVIEW##
"
Many"of"these"concepts"will"contain"wrong"notes"and"unconventional"tensions"(i.e."
natural"7"on"a"dominant"7)"so"it"is"very"important"to"understand"the"principles"of"
proper"tension"resolution."
Personally,"I"believe"that"you"can"play"any"of"the"12"notes"over"any"chord."Every"
single"note"is"available"to"you."There"are"no"wrong"notes;"you"just"have"to"know"
how"to"resolve"them."
"

"2014."Ryan"Carraher."All"rights"reserved."
"
In"an"improvisational"setting"you"are"presented"with"chord"changes"and"expected"to"
solo"over"them."To"achieve"this"we"typically"use"chord"scales."Most"chord"scales"
contain"two"things:"the"notes"of"the"underlying"harmony"and"other"notes"called"
tensions."The"notes"of"the"underlying"harmony"are"your"safe"notes."They"are"firm"
grounding"that"you"can"always"revert"back"to."Tensions"are"notes"that"add"color"to"
the"chord"and"sound"the"harmonic"function"of"the"chord."Some"tensions"sound"great"
and"some"are"generally"avoided"(like"playing"the"4th"scale"degree"on"a"major"7"
chord)."It"is"important"to"know"where"each"tension"resolves"in"order"to"create"
strong"sounding"lines.""
"
Here"is"a"chart"of"common"resolutions"of"tensions."It"is"important"to"note"that"some"
tensions"have"more"then"one"resolution"possibility"and"others,"namely"the"altered"
tensions,"only"have"one."
"
b9:"resolves"down"half"step"to"root"
9:"resolves"up"to"3"(or"b3"in"minor)"or"down"a"whole"step"to"the"root"
#9:"resolves"up"a"half"step"to"third."
11:"resolves"to"3"(or"b3"in"minor)"or"up"to"5th"(or"b5"on"`7b5"or"7"chords)"
#11:"resolves"up"a"half"step"to"the"5th"
b13:"resolves"down"a"half"step"to"the"5th"
13:"resolves"to"the"5th"or"7th""
"
*Note"that"the"13th"or"b13th"is"typically"an"avoid"note"on"minor"chords"but"still"can"
sound"great"if"these"concepts"are"applied."
*These"are"just"suggestions"they"are"not"concrete."Some"times"the"music"calls"for"
unresolved"tensions."Use"your"ear."
*It"is"possible"to"resolve"an"altered"tension"to"another,"diatonic,"tension."For"
example,"a"#5"can"resolve"up"to"a"13"on"a"major"chord"because"the"13"is"a"diatonic"
tension"contained"in"the"Ionian"chord"scale."
*It"is"not"necessary"to"resolve"the"altered"tensions"right"away."You"can"play"the"
altered"note,"play"a"few"more"notes"that"are"not"its"general"resolution"note"and"then"
play"they"resolution"note"(this"is"called"indirect"resolution)."
"
III:#Major#ScaleDOpposite#Quality#
"
This"concept"is"very"much"related"to"the"triadic"version"of"opposite"quality"as"
mentioned"in"part"one"of"this"lesson."If"you"are"soloing"over"a"C"major"7"chord"using"
a"C"Ionian"chord"scale"this"concept"would"allow"you"to"play"a"C"minor"mode"(Dorian,"
Phrygian"or"Aeolian)"over"the"C"major"7"chord."Typically"I"use"this"concept"in"
conjunction"with"the"normal"chord"scale"because"this"concept"creates"a"lot"of"
tension."Below"is"a"chart"of"this"concept"with"the"outside"notes"highlighted"in"
yellow"and"notes"of"potentially"extreme"and"unconventional"dissonance"highlighted"
in"red."
"
"
"
"2014."Ryan"Carraher."All"rights"reserved."
"
"
C"Major"7"
` Using"C"Dorian:"R`9`#9`11`5`13`b7"
` Using"C"Phrygian:"R`b9`#9`11`5`b13`b7"
` Using"C"Aeolian:"R`9`#9`11`5`b13`b7"
"
C"Minor"7"(opposite"quality"would"be"either"Ionian"or"Lydian)"
` Using"C"Ionian:"R`9`Nat3`11`5`6`Nat7"
` Using"C"Lydian:"R`9`Nat3`#11`5`6`Nat7"
"
C7"(opposite"quality"is"minor)"
` Using"C"Dorian:"R`9`#9`11`5`13`b7"
` Using"C"Phrygian:"R`b9`#9`11`5`b13`b7"
` Using"C"Aeolian:"R`9`#9`11`5`b13`b7"
"
Minor#7b5#is#an#exception#for#this#concept#(in#the#terms#of#this#lesson)#because#
its#opposite#quality#would#be#augmented#major#7,#which#would#take#the#
Ionian##5#mode#derived#from#harmonic#minor."
"
Main"concept:"If"you"are"soloing"on"a"chord"that"is"using"a"major"chord"scale"(Ionian"
or"Lydian)"solo"with"one"(or"multiple)"minor"mode(s)"(Dorian,"Phrygian"or"Aeolian)"
from"the"same"root."If"you"are"soloing"on"a"chord"that"is"using"a"minor"mode"play"a"
major"mode"from"the"same"root."
"
See"example"lines"G,"H"and"I."
"
How#to#practice:#
"
The"first"thing"I"would"do"is"to"put"on"a"static"chord"vamp,"for"example"C7."Now"just"
play"the"superimposed"scale"over"the"chord"at"a"slow"tempo"(around"60"bpm)."
Really"listen"to"the"outside"tensions."Where"does"your"ear"want"them"to"resolve?"
Experiment"using"different"fingerings"of"the"scale"in"different"areas"of"the"fretboard"
and"gradually"increase"the"tempo."Next,"play"the"superimposed"scale"but"every"time"
you"play"an"outside"pitch"resolve"it"using"the"principles"of"tension"resolution."For"
example,"if"I"am"playing"C"Dorian"over"C7"I"would"ascend"(C`D`Eb.)"once"I"hit"the"
Eb"(or"in"this"example"Im"going"to"call"it"D#)"realize"that"it"is"functioning"as"the"
#9"and"resolve"it"up"a"half"step"to"the"3rd"of"the"chord"(D#"moves"up"to"E"and"
continue"playing"the"dorian"scale"until"the"next"required"resolution)."Next"I"would"
practice"mixing"the"correct"chord"scale"(in"this"case"C"mixolydian)"with"the"
superimposed"scale"(C"dorian)."I"would"play"one"bar"C"mixolydian"one"bar"C"dorian"
and"so"on."Then"I"would"do"2"beats"mixolydian"and"2"beats"dorian"and"so"on."This"
introduces"you"to"mixing"and"weaving"lines"between"these"two"scales"to"create"a"
polytonal"effect."
"
"
#
"2014."Ryan"Carraher."All"rights"reserved."
"
#
IV:#Major#ScaleDSideDStepping##
"
Again,"this"concept"is"related"to"the"previously"mentioned"triadic"side`stepping."This#
involves#weaving#lines#in#and#out#of#the#main#chord#scale#and#the#chord#scale#
of#the#same#quality#a#half%step%above%and/or%below%the%root#of#the#chord.#
"
For"example,"if"the"chord"is"C7,"and"it"is"functioning"as"a"primary"dominant"in"the"
key"of"F"major,"it"is"appropriate"to"use"C"mixolydian."To"add"outside"notes"you"could"
play"Db"mixolydian"and/or"B"mixolydian."You"can"either"completely"superimpose"
one"scale"choice"for"the"whole"duration"of"the"given"chord"or"you"can"weave"lines"in"
and"out"of"the"three"available"choices"for"a"more"polytonal"sound"(containing"
pitches"and"patterns"from"3"different"scales)."
"
Here"are"the"given"tensions:"
"
Major"7""
` Ionian"rooted"from"b2:"b9`#9`11`b5`b13`b7`R"
` Ionian"rooted"from"7:"7`b9`#9`3`#11`#5`b7"
` Lydian"rooted"from"b2:"b9`#9`11`5`b13`b7`R"
` Lydian"rooted"from"7:"7`b9`#9`11`b5`b13`b7"
"
Minor"7""
` Dorian"rooted"from"b2:"b9`b3`Nat3`b5`b13`b7`Nat7"
` Dorian"rooted"from"natural"7:"Nat7`b9`9`Nat3`b5`b13`13"
` Phrygian"rooted"from"b2:"b9`9`Nat3`b5`b13`13`Nat7"
` Phrygian"rooted"from"natural"7:"Nat7`R`9`Nat3`b5`5`13"
` Aeolian"rooted"from"b9:"b9`b3`Nat3`b5`b13`13`Nat7"
` Aeolian"rooted"from"natural"7:"Nat7`b9`9`Nat3`#11`b13`13"
"
Dominant"7"
` Mixolydian"rooted"from"b2:"b9`#9`11`b5`b13`b7`Nat7"
` Mixolydian"rooted"from"natural"7:"Nat7`b9`#9`3`#11`b13`13"
"
Minor"7b5"
` Locrian"rooted"from"b9:"b9`9`Nat3`b5`Nat5`13`Nat7"
` Locrian"rooted"from"natural"7:"Nat7`R`9`Nat3`11`5`13"
"
See"example"lines"J"and"K."
"
How#to#practice:#
"
I"would"practice"side`stepping"in"a"similar"way"that"I"described"above"when"I"was"
talking"about"opposite"quality."Start"out"simply"playing"one"of"the"superimposed"
scales"over"a"static"vamp"at"a"slow"tempo"so"you"can"really"hear"the"tensions."
Practice"resolving"these"tensions."Practice"going"in"and"out"the"superimposed"side`
"2014."Ryan"Carraher."All"rights"reserved."
"
steps"by"doing"one"bar"in"the"correct"chord"scale,"one"bar"in"the"chord"scale"a"half`"
step"above,"on"bar"in"the"chord"scale"a"half`step"below."Repeat"this"pattern"of"
alternation"at"various"tempos"and"rhythmic"subdivisions."Something"interesting"you"
can"do"is"play"four"notes"in"the"main"chord"scale"and"then"three"notes"in"one"of"the"
side"step"superimpositions."For"example,"over"C7"play"four"notes"(of"any"subdivision"
to"begin"with,"but"try"to"work"up"to"eighth"notes"or"sixteenth"notes)"in"C"mixolydian."
Next"play"three"notes"from"B"mixolydian."Repeat"this"process."This"4+3"grouping"
obscures"the"time"and"creates"a"fluid"over`the`barline"effect."
"
V:#Major#ScaleDTritone#Away#
"
This"next"concept"is"a"variation"of"fixed"interval"superimposition"(a"concept"
saxophonist"Sonny"Rollins"uses"a"lot)."It#involves#taking#the#chord#scale#and#
playing#it#a#tritone#away#from#the#root#of#the#chord."You"have"the"option"of"just"
playing"the"scale"that"is"a"tritone"away"or"you"could"use"both"the"main"chord"scale"
and"the"superimposed"scale."
"
For"example,"if"the"chord"is"C7"and"you"are"using"C"mixolydian"play"Gb"(or"F#)"
mixolydian."
"
Major"7"
` Ionian"rooted"from"tritone:"b5`b13`b7`7`b9`#9`11"
` Lydian"rooted"from"tritone:"b5`b13`b7`R`b9`#9`11"
"
Minor"7"
` Dorian"rooted"from"tritone:"b5`b13`13`Nat7`b9`b3`Nat3"
` Phrygian"rooted"from"tritone:"b5`5`13`Nat7`b9`9`Nat3"
` Aeolian"rooted"from"tritone:"b5`b13`13`Nat7`b9`9`Nat3"
"
Dominant"7"
` Mixolydian"rooted"from"tritone:"b5`b13`b7`Nat7`b9`#9`3"
"
Minor"7b5"
` Locrian"rooted"from"tritone:"b5`5`13`Nat7`R`9`Nat3"
"
This"concept"doesnt"have"to"be"limited"to"tritones,"it"could"be"a"major"3rd"away,"a"
minor"6th"away,"a"major"7th"away"etc."Experiment"and"analyze"your"findings!"
"
See"example"line"L."
"
#
#
#
#
#
#
"2014."Ryan"Carraher."All"rights"reserved."
"
How#to#practice:#
"
Practice"tritone"substitution"in"the"same"way"as"side`stepping"(explained"above)."
"
#
VI:#Why#does#this#work?""
"
You"may"have"been"asking"yourself"this"question"all"through"out"this"lesson."Why"
are"we"suddenly"able"to"use"all"of"these"unconventional"tensions"and"wrong,"
outside"notes?"The"answer"has"to"do"with"our"conditioning"to"music."We"are"very"
conditioned"to"respond"normally"to"certain"collections"of"pitches"and"patterns"
because"we"have"been"hearing"them"all"our"lives."Most"of"the"music"we"hear"in"our"
formative"years"is"very"tonal"and"unadventurous"in"terms"of"altered"tensions"and"
chromatic"harmony."Most"of"us"respond"well"the"intervallic"structure"of"the"major"
scale"(do`re`mi`fa`sol`la`ti`do)"and"the"tertial"structure"of"triads;"in"other"words"
these"structures"are"consonant,"home`base,"structures"that"have"been"drilled"into"
our"brain"through"years"and"years"of"hearing"them."Thus"when"we"hear"a"note"that"
conflicts"with"the"intervals"of"the"triadic"structure"we"perceive"it"as"out"and"in"
many"cases,"wrong."By"using"triads"and"the"major"scale"to"achieve"these"outside"
sounds"we"can"take"advantage"of"the"nearly"universal"acceptance"of"the"triadic"
sound."By"using"a"familiar"structure,"triads"or"the"major"scale,"to"create"outside"lines"
you"are"doing"so"in"a"very"familiar"and"relatable"way."Our"ears"can"recognize"the"
intervallic"patterns"as"being"derived"from"the"major"scale"or"from"triadic"structures."
This"makes"the"outside"line"more"cohesive,"logical"and"relatable"to"the"ear."This"is"
further"evidence"of"as"long"as"the"tension"resolution"principles"are"applied"any"note"
can"be"played"over"any"chord."
"
VII:#12DTone#Techniques##
"
Many"of"the"triadic"or"scalar"concepts"explained"in"this"lesson"are"what"many"people"
refer"to"as"12`tone"techniques."This"means"that"some"of"these"concepts"unlock"all"
12"tones"for"you"to"use"over"ANY"chord."So"why"is"this"different"from"simply"playing"
random"notes?"This"is"different"because"there"are"patterns"and"familiar"intervallic"
structures"included"in"these"concepts"that"make"your"lines"sound"out"and"
harmonically"interesting"but"at"the"same"time"aurally"relatable"and"orderly."Without"
these"patterns"(triads,"scale"fragments,"fixed"intervals,"scalar"sequences,"tension"
resolution"etc.)"the"lines"wouldnt"work."By"having"a"concept"in"mind,"a"way"to"
methodically"deal"with"the"tension"you"create,"you"effectively"unlock"all"12"notes"for"
use"on"any"chord."
"
VIII:#Further#Explorations#
"
1. Apply"the"ideas"of"opposite"quality,"side`stepping"and"tritone"substitution"to"
the"minor"pentatonic"scale,"major"pentatonic"scale"and"any"altered"
pentatonic"you"many"know"(pentatonic"b6,"pentatonic"b2"etc.)"
2. Experiment"with"using"all"48"triads"over"any"given"chord."
"2014."Ryan"Carraher."All"rights"reserved."
"
3. Experiment"with"using"minor"pentatonic"rooted"from"all"12"tones"over"any"
given"chord."
4. Experiment"with"using"the"triads"and"seventh"chords"derived"from"the"
superimposed"major"scales."
5. Add"diatonic"and/or"chromatic"approach"patterns"to"the"triads"and"seventh"
chords"derived"from"superimposed"major"scales."
#
IX:#Conclusion#
"
Many"players"I"have"come"across"have"viewed"the"major"scale"as"basic"and"dry."
They"only"use"the"major"scale"and"triads"to"create"predictable,"clich"sequences"and"
licks."This"lesson"has"shown"you"that"triads"and"the"major"scale"are"more"interesting"
and"useful"than"they"appear"to"be."I"hope"this"lesson"has"inspired"you"to"use"what"
you"all"ready"know"to"uncover"new"methods"of"improvisation"that"have"been"
available"to"you"all"along."Innovation"is"under"your"fingertips,"hiding"in"plain"sight."
All"you"need"to"do"to"achieve"it"is,"have"an"open"mind,"patience"and"a"yearning"for"
experimentation."
"
Thank"you"for"reading"this"lesson"and"joining"my"mailing"list!"If"you"have"any"
questions"or"would"like"to"share"any"experimenting"you"have"done"with"these"
concepts,"or"others,"please"contact"me"through"my"website:"www.RyanCarraher.com"
"
If"you"enjoyed"this"lesson"and"want"to"learn"more"please"schedule"a"one`on`one"
Skype"lesson"with"me!"
"
Happy"practicing!"
"
`Ryan"
"
"
"
"

"2014."Ryan"Carraher."All"rights"reserved."
"