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Diminished 7th (°7) Sounds (part 1)

Ted Greene

The Diminished 7th Scale


1978-05-25

There is more than one scale that sounds good over °7 chord types, but the most common is a scale that is derived
by simply preceding each note in a diminished 7th arpeggio with a note one 1/2 step lower. For instance, the C °7
arpeggio contains the notes C, Eb, Gb, and A; if we start on C and precede each of these arpeggio notes with a note
one 1/2 step lower, we get the following:

1 2 b3 4 b5 b6 6 7 8 This scale is commonly known as the


C D Eb F Gb Ab A B C DIMINISHED SCALE.
(Fingerings will be given soon).

Notice that the intervals between successive notes in this scale proceed in alternating whole and 1/2 steps. For this
reason, it is also known as the WHOLE-HALF SCALE. (The 1/2-whole scale will be discussed a little later, in case
you’re curious.)

The chord tones in this scale are: 1 b3 b5 6(bb7) 7 9 11 b13


(12) (4) (b6)

There is a whole world of chords which this scale works over, but for now, in this volume, we will have to limit our
discussion to the °7 chord and its most common extensions:
The o7/9 (1, b3, b5, 6, 9), the °7maj7 (1, b3, b5, 7), and the °7maj9 (1, b3, b5, 7, 9).

There are many beautiful runs and melodic patterns in this scale, in fact so many that one would have to write an
abundance of pages on just this subject alone, in order to really do true justice to what is available. But realizing
this and yet not wanting to not do something in this area (“huh?”), the following few runs and patterns are listed.
These are all given in one position only, just like the runs based on the °7 arpeggio; but like those, these same
fingerings should be tried in the other positions, every 3 frets higher, which amazingly enough, will create virtually
the same sound. All of these runs work over C °7, Eb °7, Gb °7, A °7 and the above-mentioned extensions (if you
ever run into them).

The Diminished 7th Scale


1976-10-07

DIMINISHED SCALE (Whole-1/2 Scale): This is another equal interval scale containing:
1 2(9) b3(#9) 4 b5 #5 6(bb7) 7
Fingerings given as Ao7

Also use 1/2-whole [scale] for dim. Or descending: 1, (b)2, b3, 3, b5, 5, 6, b7

Also 1, 2, b3, #4, 5, 6, 7 and others like Locrian, Phrygian, Blues, Hungarian.
Diminished 7th Sounds (part 1) Ted Greene, 1977, Dec 7, 8 — page 2
 
 
 

The Diminished 7th Chord


1977, Dec. 7 & 8

As some of you might know, diminished 7th chords are strange creatures. These chords have the tones 1, b3, b5
and bb7 (6) and the amazing thing is, on the guitar, the chord forms repeat themselves every 3 frets.
For instance:

OR

It’s just one of those many phenomena in music (for the curious, there is a logical reason for it: all the notes in the
chord formula (1, b3, b5, 6) are a minor 3rd apart…but it’s still a phenomenon, yes?).

Anyway, as with most of the sounds we have dealt with so far, learning the arpeggios of the chord is a good way to
get started on the road to soloing over these chords, and as usual, after you have a good visual grasp of where all the
arpeggio tones lie, it won’t be very hard to learn the scales.

So here are the arpeggio fingerings with some musical examples immediately following. Also, some visual
reference-point chords are given along with the arpeggios…you know the story on these by now.
Diminished 7th Sounds (part 1) Ted Greene, 1977, Dec 7, 8 — page 3
 
 
 

Diminished 7th (°7) Sounds (part 1)


|------------------------Visual Reference Point----------------------|

Play all examples as jazz 8ths and straight 8ths.

Here is the exact same run (the word “run” here meaning same fingering) 3 frets higher than above.

Also try this fingering in the 7th, 10th and 13th positions as well. It’s all still C°7 (and Eb°7, Gb°7, A°7).
From now on, for the rest of this page, all of the runs will be listed in the 1st position only, but try them in the 4th,
7th, 10th, and 13th positions as well. Remember, when we talk here about doing the same run in different
positions, we are talking about doing the same fingering, not the same notes (which is what was meant earlier in the
book). This is what we referred to earlier as sequence fingering.
Diminished 7th Sounds (part 1) Ted Greene, 1977, Dec 7, 8 — page 4
 
 
 
Diminished 7th (o7) Sounds (part 2)
Ted Greene — 1977, Dec. 10

|------------------------Visual Reference Point----------------------|

The runs on this page are listed in the 2nd position only. Try them also on the 5th, 8th, 11th, and 14th frets.
(Remember, this means try the same fingerings, not notes). Play as jazz 8ths and straight 8ths.
Diminished 7th Sounds (part 2) Ted Greene, 1977, Dec 10 — page 2
 
 
 

You many also enjoy isolating any fragment of any of the given runs, and then moving it (the same fingering) up or
down in 3 fret intervals on the same strings. Examples:

|----This fragment is in ----|


one of the runs above.

There are many, many “pattern” runs such as this one in the diminished scale and many of them will be shown in a
forthcoming volume in the near future, but the ones listed above (and following) should be enough to keep you busy
for quite awhile.
Diminished 7th (o7) Sounds (part 4)
Ted Greene — 1977, Dec. 14

|--------------------------Visual Reference Point------------------------|

Play all the runs as jazz [8ths] and straight 8ths.


All the runs are given in the 2nd position only, but, as usual, try the same fingerings on the 5th, 8th, 11th, and 14th
frets as well.
Diminished 7th Sounds (part 4) Ted Greene, 1977, Dec 14 — page 2
 
 
 
Diminished 7th (°7) Sounds (part 3)
Ted Greene — 1977, Dec. 14

|------------------------Visual Reference Point----------------------|

Play as jazz 8ths and straight 8ths. The runs are given in 1st position only, but, as usual, try the same fingerings on
the 4th, 7th, 10th, and 13th positions as well.
Diminished 7th Sounds (part 3) Ted Greene, 1977, Dec 14— page 2
 
 
 
Single-Note Playing – Dominant 7th Scales
Ted Greene — 1976, April 18 & 20

Due to certain principles of harmony (such as 1. the Secondary Dominant principle, 2. the Cross-Cycle
principle, 3. Blues Color Chords, and 4. Common Tone Color Chords – Chord Homonyms), you will encounter
dominant 7th type chords on all 12 degrees of a key……if this is not clear to you, you should be studying these
concepts now.
Anyway, you will find that you’ll have to be able to think of dominant 7th chords as separate entities, not
only as the V7 of some key or scale.
Most of the best sounding dominant 7th scales are listed below and on the following pages. First, just get
familiar with the fingerings and the sound (try playing the given chord and then the scale) and then try applying
them to the progressions that will be given at the end of this whole section, and apply them to some of your favorite
songs. Also, the arpeggios should proved to be a help in creating some great sounds, so check them out carefully.
All scales will be given as A7’s, but should be transposed to the other indicated 7ths (next to each scale).

1) MIXOLYDIAN SCALE — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7, 8. Given as A7 – transpose to D7, G7, C7, F7


&E#7, Bb7 & A#7, Eb7 & D#7, Ab7 & G#7, Db7 & C#7, F#7 & Gb7, B7 & Cb7, and E7.
Single-Note Playing – Dominant 7th Scales Ted Greene, 1976, April 18 & 20 — page 2
 
 
 

1) MIXOLYDIAN SCALE (continued):

___________________________________________________________________

2) OVERTONE DOMINANT SCALE – 1, 2, 3, #4, 5, 6, b7, 8. Given as A7 – transpose as above.


Single-Note Playing – Dominant 7th Scales Ted Greene, 1976, April 18 & 20 — page 3
 
 
 

2) OVERTONE DOMINANT SCALE (continued):

Some other arpeggios that work with the A overtone scale are the A9, A13, and all arpeggios of the E
melodic minor scale.

___________________________________________________________________
Single-Note Playing – Dominant 7th Scales Ted Greene, 1976, April 18 & 20 — page 4
 
 
 

3) ALTERED DOMINANT SCALE — 1, b9, #9, 3, (b5 or #11, or use §5), #5, b7.
Given as A7, but transpose to all 7ths as given before.

This whole position [3rd position] sounds better in a higher register (higher key).
Single-Note Playing – Dominant 7th Scales Ted Greene, 1976, April 18 & 20 — page 5
 
 
 

3) ALTERED DOMINANT SCALE (continued):

___________________________________________________________________

4) SPANISH GYPSY SCALE — 1, b9, 3, 4, 5, #5-b6, b7. Given as A7, but transpose as before.
Single-Note Playing – Dominant 7th Scales Ted Greene, 1976, April 18 & 20 — page 6
 
 
 

4) SPANISH GYPSY SCALE (continued):


7th Chord Scales
(Scales that work for the 7th chords)
Ted Greene — 1975, July 15

1) MIXOLYDIAN SCALE: This scale is a major scale with a b7th tone. Try making this
alteration to your fingerings of the major scales. You will eventually notice that the new fingerings are
the same as those for a major scale whose root is a 4th higher.

Examples: C Mixolydian scale = F major scale.


D Mixolydian scale = G major scale, and so on.

So you already know your Mixolydian scales, it is just a question of viewpoint. You may wonder why
you should bother with this new viewpoint if the notes are just the same as a major scale anyway. The
reason is that sometimes 7th chords (or their extensions) act as tonal centers or keys, and you don’t want
to have to think of the related major scales first.

Examples:
Suppose you are playing a blues in the key of C and your first few chords are C7 | F7 | C7 | C7 | etc.
If you know your Mixolydian scales you can play C Mixolydian | F Mixolydian | C Mixolydian | C
Mixolydian | etc. But if you only know your Mixolydian scales in terms of their related major scales you
would have to think F major | Bb major | F major | F major | etc., which is a real drag and a time waster
too.

Mixolydian scales sound good when you wish to convey the sound of the following chords:
7th, 9th, 13th, 7/6, 7sus, 11, 13sus, 7/6sus.
If you play a run in the Mixolydian scale, using all of the notes in the scale, you are basically conveying
the sound of all of the above chords (but if you focus on one group of notes or arpeggios more than the
other notes in the scale, then you are basically conveying just that sound).

Examples of Mixolydian runs in A:

___________________________________________________________________

2) 7#9+, 7b9+ (7#9b5, 7b9b5) SCALE: This scale contains the following notes:
1, b2(b9), b3(#9), 3, (optional #4 or b5), #5, and b7.
The fingerings of it are the same as those for a Melodic Minor whose root is a 1/2 step higher.

Examples: E7#9b9+ scale = F melodic minor scale.


F7#9b9+ scale = F# melodic minor scale, and so on.

See the separate page on Melodic Minors for fingerings and arpeggios.
7th Chord Scales Ted Greene, 1975, July 15 — page 2
 
 
 

The 7#9b9+ scale sounds good for conveying the 4 chords listed above (7#9+, 7b9+, 7#9b5, 7b9b5).
You might be wondering if a complex scale like this will fit when playing over a simple chord. The
answer is a qualified yes. Æ Suppose you were supposed to play some single lines over the progression
C – E7 – Am. You could play the E7#9b9+ scale over the E7 chord, but you should realize that you are
indirectly adding the #9, b9, #5 and maybe even the b5. Let’s take another example: Suppose you are
playing a blues in E and the first chord is an E7 or an E7#9. Now, if you play the E7#9b9+ scale here, for
the first chord, you would be indirectly playing an E7#9+ or E7b9+ (or both) to start the progression, and
since this might sound rather screwy in chords, it will probably sound rather screwy in lines, which brings
us to a generally guideline:
Only play a scale where you would be happy about conveying all the chords implied in that scale.

___________________________________________________________________

3) 7b9+ SCALE: This scale contains the following notes Æ 1, b2(b9), 3, 4, 5, b6(#5), and b7.
The fingerings are the same as those for a Harmonic Minor whose root is a 4th higher.

Examples: E7b9+ scale = A harmonic minor scale.


F7b9+ scale = Bb harmonic minor scale, and so on.
See the separate page on Harmonic minors for fingerings and arpeggios.
Try figuring out what chords are conveys by this scale.

___________________________________________________________________

4) 13+11 (OVERTONE DOMINANT) SCALE: This scale contains the 1, 2, 3, #4(#11), 5, 6,


and b7. The fingerings of it are the same as those for a Melodic Minor whose root is a 5th higher.

Examples: C13+11 scale = G melodic minor scale.


C#13+11 scale = G# melodic minor scale, and so on.
This scale conveys the sound of the 13+11, +11, and 9b5 chords, among others, and used in context, it is
probably the most beautiful scale of all.
See sheet on Melodic minors for fingerings and arpeggios.

___________________________________________________________________
7th Chord Scales Ted Greene, 1975, July 15 — page 3
 
 
 

5) 13b9 SCALE: This scale contains the 1, b2(b9), 3, 4, 5, 6, and b7.


The fingerings are (listed on A7):

These sounds basically


convey the 13b9 chord
and fragments.

___________________________________________________________________

6) 1/2, WHOLE SCALE: This scale contains the 1, b2(b9), b3(#9), 3, #4(+11), 5, 6, b7; it is an
equal interval scale, meaning there is a symmetry or pattern to the notes – this pattern is 1/2 step, whole
step, 1/2 step, whole step, etc. The scale is more easily understood by the following (hopefully):

Take this: and add notes 1/2 step


below each of these
tones and you get:

All of these notes are minor 3rds apart.


7th Chord Scales Ted Greene, 1975, July 15 — page 4
 
 
 

So here are the [1/2, whole scale] fingerings (given as A7):

You might try C for Bb in the higher registers (#9 for b9).

This scale works well in conveying a 13b9#11, 13b9, 13#9, 7b9b5(#11), 7#9b5(#11).

___________________________________________________________________
7th Chord Scales Ted Greene, 1975, July 15 — page 5
 
 
 

7) 7#9 SCALE: This scale contains the 1, b3(#9), 3, 5, and b7; also possible are the 4, or #4(b5);
(maybe even the 2nd (9th) and 6th). You might try adding some of these tones into these sounds.
The fingerings are given as F#7’s:

Notice the similarity of the arpeggios to C13b9’s.


Also, an interesting sidelight is that the notes of a
7#9 scale are the same as two major triads whose
roots are a minor 3rd apart. Example: F#7#9 =
F# triad & A triad. Besides conveying the 7#9 chord,
these sounds are good blues scales (which in a way
is saying the same thing.)

___________________________________________________________________

8) WHOLE TONE SCALE: This scale is another equal interval scale, containing: 1, 2, 3, #4(b5),
#5, and b7. Some of the sounds conveyed are +, 7+, 9+, 7b5, 9b5 whose roots can be any note in the
scale. Example: one of the 2 whole tone scales (there are only 2) contains A, B, C#, Eb, F, and G notes;
therefore +, 7+, 9+, 7b5, and 9b5’s are conveyed on all of these roots. Analyze it and see.
Here are fingerings of the A (B, C#, Eb, F, and G) scale:

___________________________________________________________________

9) 9+ SCALE: This relatively rarely used sound contains the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, b6(#5), and b7. The
fingerings are the same as those for a melodic minor whose root is a 4th higher. See the sheet on melodic
minors.
Major and Minor Scales, Chords, Arpeggios
Ted Greene - 1975-04-28 & 1976-02-29

The Major Scale


The major scale is one of the foundations of almost all types of music in Western culture. Its diatonic
triads (3-note chords built in 3rd intervals, using only notes of the scale) are I ii iii IV V vi viiº.

Some important positions for multi-line music are (some of these are not that important for single-note
playing):
SCALES
(Key of A)

If you do not know the names of notes in the major scales commonly used, write them out starting from C,
G, D, A, E, B, F#, C#, Cb, Gb, Db, Ab, Eb, Bb, and F. Then gradually memorize all these.

TONIC ARPEGGIOS

Figure out similar arpeggios for the other chords in the key.

Various fingerings are


possible for the same
notes in some arpeggios. Example:

The first arpeggio is the most logical if you are going to play other notes in the scale mixed in with the
arpeggio. The other two fingerings are more practical for “pure” arpeggio playing.

_______________________________________________________________________
Major & Minor Scales, Chords, Arpeggios — Ted Greene, 1975-04-28 / 1976-02-29 page 2

The Natural Minor Scale


1976-02-29

All minor scales have a ¨3rd tone. This is what makes them “minor.”
The natural minor scale has a ¨3rd, ¨6th, and ¨7th tones.
Example: taking an A major scale (A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A), if we lower the third, sixth, and seventh
tones we would now have A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A — this is the A natural minor scale.
Following is a list of the commonly used natural minors:

Key Scale Key Scale


Am ABCDEFGA Dm D E F G A Bb C D
Em E F# G A B C D E Gm G A Bb C D Eb F G
Bm B C# D E F# G A B Cm C D Eb F G Ab Bb C
F#m F# G# A B C# D E F# Fm F G Ab Bb C Db Eb F
C#m C# D# E F# G# A B C# Bbm Bb c Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb
G#m G# A# B C# D# E# F# G# Ebm Eb F Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb
D#m D# E# F# G# A# B C# D# Abm Ab Bb Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab
(A#m) (A# B# C# D# E# F# G# A#)

Here are the positions for the natural minors. They are given in the key of F#m; you will notice that they
are the same as given above. This is because due to coincidence, any natural minor scale has the same
notes as a major scale, whose root is the 3rd note of the natural minor scale. To make these natural
minors sound like minor scales and not just major scales a b3rd higher, you should play the chord
progression F#m – Bm – F#m – C#m – F#m before you play each position of the scale (the reason will be
explained later).

SCALES

Try working out the tonic arpeggios (hint: you already know them if did your homework above).

_______________________________________________________________________
Major & Minor Scales, Chords, Arpeggios — Ted Greene, 1975-04-28 / 1976-02-29 page 3

The Harmonic Minor Scale


The harmonic minor is formed by raising the 7th degree of the natural minor scale.
(Example: F# harmonic minor has an E# note instead of an E note.)

SCALES
(Key of F#m)

The diatonic triads in harmonic minor scales are: i iiº III+ iv V VI Rviiº [R = “raised”]
Figure out the diatonic arpeggios as before; the tonic arpeggio will help you to visualize the scale
fingerings.

_______________________________________________________________________

The Melodic Minor Scale


The melodic minor scale is formed by raising the 6th and 7th degrees of the natural minor scale.

Example: F# melodic minor Æ F# G# A B C# D# E# F#

SCALES
(key of F#m)

The diatonic triads in melodic minor are: i ii III+ IV V Rviº Riiº [R = “raised”]

As usual, it would be good to know the arpeggios of the scale.


Melodic minors can also be viewed as major scales with b3rd’s (check this out).
Melodic Minor Single Note Scales
(Overtone Dominant)
Ted Greene 1974-12-18

Scales for: minor 6, minor(major 7), minor7b5, 7#9#5(b9, b5), and 13#11 FAMILIES
Whenever you would use one of the above chords, you might try the single notes given below.
For intelligent use of the single-note material, you should be familiar with how to use all of the chord
types in the above families on all suitable degrees of the 12-tone scale, in both major and minor keys.
Without this knowledge, the application of this material will be frustrating, if not impossible.

F# melodic minor (= D#±7 = F7#9+ family = B13#11 family)


Melodic Minor Single-Note Scales Ted Greene, 1974-12-18 — page 2
 
 
 
Melodic Minor Single-Note Scales Ted Greene, 1974-12-18 — page 3
 
 
 

A fairly common alteration of melodic minors is the sharping of the 4th tone.

You might wish to work out similar patterns for other sounds derived from the melodic minor (like in the
key of F#m, you also have G#m7 and C#9+ families which are used once in a while, but not nearly as
often as the above listed sounds).
Minor 7b5 Sounds and Scales
Ted Greene 7-25-1975
10-07-1976
There are at least 4 types of sounds to use on m7b5 chords; the decision is mainly based on
personal taste (and experience) as far as which one to use in a given situation. The 4 sounds are:

1) Locrian Scale: 1, b2 (b9), b3, 4, b5, b6 (#5), and b7. The fingerings of this scale are the same
as those for a major scale whose root is a 1/2 step higher. In other words, this is the sound that you
already have been using on the vii±7 in major keys.

2) Locrian with §6 Scale (ii±7 of Harmonic Minor): This scale contains the 1, b2 (b9), b3, 4, b5,
6, and b7. The fingerings of this scale are the same as those for a harmonic minor whose root is a
whole step lower.

3) Locrian with §9 Scale (§vi±7 of Melodic Minor): This scale contains the 1, 2 (9), b3, 4, b5, b6
(#5), b7. The fingerings of this scale are the same as those for a melodic minor whose root is a m3rd
higher.

4) Locrian with §9, §6 Scale (v±7 of 13b9 Scale): This scale contains the 1, 2 (9), b3, 4, b5, 6, and
b7. The fingerings of this scale are the same as those for a 13b9 scale whose root is a 4th higher.
____________________________________________

[Fingerings for] Minor 7b5 Scales [and chords and arpeggios]. Some of the most common:
Scales will be given on Bm7b5, but you should transpose them to other m7b5’s too.

1) Locrian Scale: 1, b2 (b9), b3, 4, b5, b6 (#5), b7.


Minor 7b5 Sounds and Scales Ted Greene, 1975-07-25 & 1976-10-07 — page 2
 
 
 
 

1) Locrian Scale (continued):

2) Locrian with a §6: 1, b2 (b9), b3, 4, b5, 6, b7.

The chords (for visualizing) and arpeggios for this scale are the same as for the regular Locrian scale.
Minor 7b5 Sounds and Scales Ted Greene, 1975-07-25 & 1976-10-07 — page 3
 
 
 
 

3) Locrian with a §9: , 2 (9), b3, 4, b5, b6, b7.

The chords (for visualizing) are the same as above. The arpeggios can be found by consulting the sheet
on Melodic Minor Arpeggios, but the Bm7b5 arpeggios work with the D melodic minor arpeggios, not
the B. The only reason I’m not listing the arpeggios here is to save a few hours of my time. But don’t
think that the proper way to think of the Bm7b5 arpeggios here is in terms of Dm; rather figure out the
names of all the D melodic arpeggios in terms of Bm7b5 (like Bm7b5/11, Bm9b5, etc. ).

4) Locrian with a §6, §9 1, 2 (9), b3, 4, b5, 6, b7

The visualizing chords are the same as above. The arpeggios are the same as the preceding scales (that
is, like the D melodic minor).
Multi-position Blues Run
Ted Greene, 1991-04-03
(text)
Assignment:

1) Master all of the above….Play with feeling.


The ¨3rds (#9ths) often sound great if bent ever so slightly.

2) Try #5 in E¨,
#4 in F#,
#3 still in A¨,
#2 in B, and
#1 in E¨

3) Occasionally, challenge yourself and see if you can pick a key and go
through all 5 positions as we did in A¨.

4) More slurs can be added for a more “slippery” effect…experiment if


you have time.
Single-Note Playing in Minor Keys
Ted Greene 3-25-1976 thru 3-28-1976

[Note: Ted uses a slash through 7, 9, and 13 to indicate major 7, major 9, or major 13]

Minor keys are very interesting for quite a few reasons, one of which is that there are lots of different types
of minor scales (there are actually quite a few different types of “major” scales also, but more on this later). Let’s
start with the NATURAL MINOR (also called the Aeolian minor or Pure minor). This scale is constructed by
lowering the 3rd, 6th and 7th tones of a major scale (the word lower here means 1/2 step lower).
A common way to write the formula for this scale is: 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 (8). Applying this to the key of
B(m) for example, the scale would change from B C# D# E F# G# A# B to B C# D E F# G A B.

Following is a list of fingerings to learn, given in the key of Bm. Because the natural minor scale often
tends to sound a little bland to 20th century ears, the following techniques are suggested, to increase your
acceptance of the sound:
1) Play the first five notes of the scale up and back down (B C# D E F# E D C# B).
2) Play the first six notes in a similar fashion (B C# D E F# G F# E D C# B).
3) Play the first seven notes in a similar fashion (B C# D E F# G A G F# E D C# B).
4) Finally, the whole scale up and down (B C# D E F# G A B A G F# E D C# B).
5) Now play the following: B C# D C# B A B; B C# D C# B A G A B;
B C# D E D C# B A B; B C# D E F# E D C# B A G A B.

These techniques please the ear because they gradually introduce the “funny” notes while revolving around
the keynote (root) of the scale, which, for whatever reasons, has a very meaningful and welcome effect in most
cases. In the future, these techniques will be referred to collectively as the EXPANDING technique.

Another way to help the ear accept a new scale is with a technique we will call CENTERING. An example of this
technique is as follows:
Ascending Æ B B C# B D B E B F#;
B B C# B D B E B F# B G B F#;
B B C# B D B E B F# B G B A B B (octave);
Descending Æ B B A B G B F# B E B D B C# B B (octave).

Anyway, here are the diagrams:

After playing through these diagrams, have you noticed something coincidental?
If these scales sound too much like D major scales to your ears, review the expanding techniques and then play the
following chord progressions:
Bm F#m Bm; Bm Em Bm; Bm Em F#m Bm; Bm A G A Bm.
Now quickly, while the sound of the chords is still slightly lingering in your ears, play each diagram of the scale
again; this should help. The reason that the above chords are used is because, as you may have guessed, they are
diatonic to the B natural minor scale.
Single-Note Playing in Minor Keys Ted Greene, 1976-03-25 thru 28 — page 2
 
 
 

Before you apply the above scale patterns, you should know about the diatonic triads—they are as follows:
F# G A B C# D E
D E F# G A B C#
B C# D E F# G A
Bm C#° D Em F#m G A
°
i ii III iv v VI VII

Some common progressions to play the scale over are:


1) ||: Bm – F#m :|| 2) ||: Bm – Em :|| 3) ||: Bm – A :|| 4) ||: Bm – G :||
i v i iv i VII i VI
5) ||: Bm – A – G – A :|| 6) ||: Bm – F#m – G – D – Em – Bm – A – Bm :||
i VII VI VII i v VI III iv i VII i
Actually, most chord progressions in minor keys don’t stay exclusively in the natural (or any other kind of) minor,
but instead, mixtures of the different types (such as Harmonic minor, Melodic minor, etc.) are commonly used—
more on this soon.

The diatonic 7th chords in the B natural minor scale are:


A B C# D E F# G
F# G A B C# D E
D E F# G A B C#
B C# D E F# G A
Bm7 C#m7b5 D7 Em7 F#m7 G7 A7
i7 ii±7 III7 iv7 v7 VI7 VII7

The other common extensions (9ths, 11th, etc.) are:


i: Bm/9, Bm+ (B D G [or F ] ), Bm7/11, Bm9, Bm11
ii°: C#m7b5/11, C#m7/11(no 5th)
III: D/9, D9, D6/9, D13, D6
iv: Em/9, Em9, Em7/11, Em11, Em13
v: F#m7/11
VI: G/9, G9, G6/9, G13, G6, G/9+11, G6/9+11, G7+11
VII: A9, A13, A7/6, A7sus, A11, A13sus, A/9, A6, A6/9
Actually, extensions have not been used all that much in most natural minor progressions (for whatever reasons),
but you may wish to use them, and you will still run into them every once in awhile so you should be at least
familiar with them.

Some new progressions to practice your scales with are:


7) ||: Bm – F#m7 :|| 8) ||: Bm7 – F#m7 :|| 9) ||: Bm7 – Em7 :|| 10) ||: Bm7 – F#m7 – G7 F#m7 :||
i v7 i7 v7 i7 iv7 i7 v7 VI7 v7
D E F# E Å melody (soprano) notes
11) ||: Bm – A – G7 – A :|| 12) ||: Bm7 – F#m7 – G7 – D/9 – Em7 – Bm7 – A11 – Bm :||
i VII VI7 VII i7 v7 VI7 III iv7 i7 VII7 i

Even though most of these progressions here do not use the “fancier” extensions, feel free to substitute them.
Example: For progression 7) play ||: Bm/9 – F#m7 :|| or ||: Bm9 – F#m7/11 :||
Single-Note Playing in Minor Keys Ted Greene, 1976-03-25 thru 28 — page 3
 
 
 

Here is a list of commonly used natural minor scales:


Key Scale Key Scale
Am ABCDEFGA Dm D E F G A Bb C D
Em E F# G A B C D E Gm G A Bb C D Eb F G
Bm B C# D E F# G A B Cm C D Eb F G Ab Bb C
F#m F# G# A B C# D E F# Fm F G Ab Bb C Db Eb F
C#m C# D# E F# G# A B C# Bbm Bb C Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb
G#m G# A# B C# D# E F# G# Ebm Eb F Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb
D#m D# E# F# G# A# B C# D# Abm Ab Bb Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab
A#m A# B# C# D# E# F# G# A#

Assignment: Write out and memorize the diatonic triads in all 15 keys. Apply all this material so far to all the keys.

HARMONIC MINOR
Another commonly used minor scale is the Harmonic Minor. This scale is formed by raising the 7th tone of the
natural minor (the word raise here means 1/2 step higher). The formula can be written: 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 7 (or R7) (8).
Here are some diagrams to memorize (they are once again listed in the key of Bm).

The diatonic triads of the B harmonic minor scale are:


F# G A# B C# D E
D E F# G A# B C#
B C# D E F# G A#
Bm C#° D+ Em F# G A#°
i ii° III+ iv V VI Rvii°

Some common progressions to practice your scales over are:


13) ||: Bm – F# :|| 14) ||: Bm – Em – F# Bm :|| 15) ||: Bm – F# – Em – Bm :||
i V i iv V i i V iv i
16) ||: Bm – Em – Bm – F#:|| 17) ||: Bm – G :|| 18) ||: Bm – G – Em – F#:||
i iv i V i VI i VI iv V
As mentioned earlier, you can expect to see a lot of progressions in minor keys that use chords from more
than one kind of minor scale. Examples:

19) ||: Bm – A – G – F#:|| 20) Bm – F#m – G – D – Em – F# – B Åminor progressions often


i VII VI V i v VI III iv V I sound nice ending on a I chord.
Scales N N N H N N N N N H N with R3rd
to play: or or or or or or
H H H H H B major

(N = Natural minor; H = Harmonic minor)

Assignment: Write out the harmonic minor scales in all 15 keys; you will get a (double-sharp) in the keys of
G#m, D#m and A#m. You will also get notes like E# and B# in some of the other keys. Then write out the diatonic
triads in all the keys, practice the above progressions in them, and finally, commit all of this to memory.
Single-Note Playing in Minor Keys Ted Greene, 1976-03-25 thru 28 — page 4
 
 
 

The diatonic 7th chords in the B harmonic minor scale are:


A# B C# D E F# G
F# G A# B C# D E
D E F# G A# B C#
B C# D E F# G A#
Bm7 C#m7b5 D7+ Em7 F#7 G7 A#°7
i7 ii±7 III7+ iv7 V7 VI7 Rvii°7

Smoother, common diatonic chords in the scales are:


i: Bm/9, Bm9, Bm+
ii°: C#m7b5, C#m7/11(no 5th)
III: (D9+)
iv: Em/9, Em9, Em6, Em6/9
V: F#7b9, F#7+, F#7b9+, F#7sus
VI: G6, G7+11
Rvii°: —————

Some more progressions to play around with:


(or Em7)
21) ||: C#m7b5 – F#7 – Bm :|| 22) ||: Bm – G7 – C#m7b5 – F#7 :||
ii±7 V7 i i VI7 ii±7 V7

23) ||: Bm7 – Em7 – A7 – D7 – G7 – C#m7b5 – F#7 – Bm :||


i7 iv7 VII7 III7 VI7 ii±7 V7 i
Scale: |------natural minor------------------------------------|
|-----harmonic minor------|
Assignment: Apply these progressions, possibly with some extensions, to all keys.

MELODIC MINOR
The Melodic Minor scale is formed by raising the 6th and 7th tones of the natural minor.
Formula: 1 2 b3 4 5 6 (or R6) 7 (or R7) (8). Some fingerings to memorize in the key of B minor, as usual:

The diatonic triads of the B melodic minor scale are:


F# G# A# B C# D E
D E F# G# A# B C#
B C# D E F# G# A#
Bm C#m D+ E F# G#° A#°
i ii III+ IV V Rvi° Rvii°
Single-Note Playing in Minor Keys Ted Greene, 1976-03-25 thru 28 — page 5
 
 
 

Some progressions to practice the scale with:

24) ||: Bm – E :|| 25) ||: Bm – F# :|| 26) ||: Bm – E – F# – Bm :||


i IV i V i IV V i
27) ||: Bm – C#m – F# – Bm :|| 28) ||: Bm – E – C#m – F# :||
i ii V i i IV ii V

Assignment: Write out and memorize the melodic minor scales and diatonic triads in all 15 keys; then try the
progressions in all keys.

The diatonic 7th chords in the B melodic minor scale are:


A# B C# D E F# G#
F# G# A# B C# D E
D E F# G# A# B C#
B C# D E F# G# A#
Bm7 C#m7 D7+ E7 F#7 G#m7b5 A#m7b5
i7 ii7 III7+ IV7 V7 Rvi±7 Rvii±7

Some common extensions in the scale are:


i: Bm6, Bm6/9, Bm9, Bm/9
ii: C#m7/11, C#m7b9, C#m6
III+: (D9+)
IV: E9, E13, E7/6, E+11, E9b5, E13+11, E7b5, E6, E6/9
V: F#9, F#7+, F#9+, F#11, F#7sus
Rvi°: G#m7b5/11, G#m7/11(no 5th), G#m9b5
Rvii°: —————

More progressions to solo over:


29) ||: C#m7 – F#7 – Bm6 :|| 30) ||: Bm – G#m7b5 – C#m7 – F#7 :||
ii7 V7 i6 i Rvi±7 ii7 V7

Now go back to # 23) and substitute ii7 for ii±7; this enables you to play the melodic minor scale (instead of the
harmonic) over the last three chords.

Assignment: Memorize the diatonic 7th chords and extensions in all the melodic minor keys. Then apply the
above progressions, possibly with some extensions to all the keys.

DORIAN MINOR
The Dorian Minor scale is formed by raising the 6th tone of the natural minor.
Formula: 1 2 b3 4 5 6 (or R6) b7 (8). Some fingerings to memorize in the key of B minor are given below; you may find
it necessary to use the expanding or centering techniques if you can’t hear the B note as being the root, or if the scale
sounds a little bland to you.
Single-Note Playing in Minor Keys Ted Greene, 1976-03-25 thru 28 — page 6
 
 
 

The diatonic triads of the B Dorian minor scale are:


F# G# A B C# D E
D E F# G# A B C#
B C# D E F# G# A
Bm C#m D E F#m G#° A
i ii III IV v Rvi° VII

Some progressions to practice the scale with:


31) ||: Bm – E :|| 32) ||: Bm – C#m :|| 33) ||: Bm – F#m :|| 34) ||: Bm – A :||
i IV i ii i v i VII
35) ||: Bm – C#m – D – C#m :|| 36) ||: Bm – C#m – D – E :||
i ii III ii i ii III IV
37) ||: Bm – D – E – Bm :|| 38) ||: Bm – D – E – F# :|| Å See if you can deduce all of the
i III IV i i III IV V different scale possibilities for
this progression.

Assignment: Write out and memorize the Dorian scales and diatonic triads in all the keys except D#m and A#m
(you won’t need these); then try the progressions in the 13 keys.

The diatonic 7th chords in the B Dorian minor scale are:


A B C# D E F# G#
F# G# A B C# D E
D E F# G# A B C#
B C# D E F# G# A
Bm7 C#m7 D7 E7 F#m7 G#m7b5 A7
i7 ii7 III7 IV7 v7 Rvi±7 VII7
Some common extensions in the scale are:
i: Bm7/11, Bm9, Bm11, Bm/9, Bm6, Bm6/9
ii: C#m7/11, C#m7b9, C#m+
III: D/9, D9, D6, D6/9, D13, D6/9+11, D/9+11, D7+11
IV: E9, E13, E7/6, E7sus, E11, E13sus, E6, E6/9
v: F#m7/11, F#m9, F#m11, F#m+
Rvi°: G#m7b5/11, G#m7/11(no 5th)
VII: A/9, A9, A6, A6/9, A13

Some progressions with 7ths and extensions to solo over:

39) ||: Bm7 – C#m7 :|| 40) ||: Bm7 – C#m7 – D7 – C#m7 :|| 41) ||: Bm7 – E9 :||
i7 ii7 i7 ii7 III7 ii7 i7 IV7
Assignment: Memorize the diatonic 7th chords, and at least the extensions on i and IV, in the 13 Dorian keys.
Then apply the above progressions, possibly with some extensions to the different keys.
Single-Note Playing in Minor Keys Ted Greene, 1976-03-25 thru 28 — page 7
 
 
 

PHRYGIAN MINOR
The Phrygian Minor scale is formed by flatting the 2nd tone of the natural minor. Formula: 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 (8).
Some fingerings to memorize in the key of B minor (once again, you may start to try the expanding and centering
techniques):

The diatonic triads of the B Phrygian minor scale are:


F# G A B C D E
D E F# G A B C
B C D E F# G A
Bm C D Em F#° G Am
i bII III iv V° VI bvii

Some progressions to practice the scale with:


42) ||: Bm – C :|| 43) ||: Bm – C – D – C :||
i bII i bII III bII
Assignment: Write out and memorize the Phrygian scales and triads in all the minor keys except Abm; then try the
progressions in these keys.
The diatonic 7th chords [in the B Phrygian minor scale are]:
A B C D E F# G
F# G A B C D E
D E F# G A B C
B C D E F# G A
Bm7 C7 D7 Em7 F#m7b5 G7 Am7
i7 bII7 III7 vi7 v ±7 VI7 bvii7

Extensions:
i: Bm+, Bm7/11
bII: C/9, C9, C6, C6/9, C7+11, C6/9+11, C13
III: D/9, D13, D7/6, D7sus, D11, D13sus, D6, D6/9
iv: Em7/11, Em9, Em11, Em+, Em9
v° : F#m7b5/11, F#m7/11 (no 5th)
VI: G/9, G9, G6, G6/9, G13
bvii: Am7/11, Am9, Am11, Am/9, Am6, Am6/9
Some progressions with 7ths and extensions to solo over:
44) ||: Bm – C7 :|| 45) ||: Bm – C7+11 :|| 46) ||: Bm – C7 – D6 – C7 :||
i bII7 i bII7 i bII7 III bII7
Assignment: Memorize the diatonic 7ths, and at least the extensions on bII in the 14 Phrygian keys; then try the
progressions in these keys.

You might also wish to investigate the Hungarian Minor: 1 2 b3 #4 5 b6 7 (8)


and the Romanian Minor: 1 2 b3 #4 5 6 7 (8)
Transcribed by P. Vachon
Single-Note Playing (parts 1-2)
Ted Greene 2-27-1976

The biggest mystery surrounding the subject of single-note playing (also known as “lead” playing, or
“soloing”) can be summed up in the question, “What notes or scales sound good over any given chord changes?”
There are basically two types of situations that you have to be ready to deal with as far as chord changes go:
1) One in which two or more successive chords belong to the same key or scale (all scales have certain chords
inherent in their notes—more on this soon), and
2) One in which each successive chord belongs to its own key or scale.
Actually, most songs or pieces of music contain both situations, so naturally you will want to be familiar with ways
to deal with both types.

So, back to the premise that chords are inherent in scales—here is a simple way to build the chords from
virtually any scale:
1) The first chord in a scale is built by combining every other note in the scale, starting with the 1st note.
Example: Using the C major scale (C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C) we will combine every other note in the scale, starting
with the first note of the scale, stopping after 3 notes are combine. Result: we would have a chord consisting of the
notes C, E and G. Three-note chords built in this fashion are commonly called Triads.
2) Triads can also be built by combining every other note in a scale but starting from other notes than the 1st one.
Example: In the C major scale, you also have the following triads: DFA, EGB, FAC, GBD, ACE and BDF.
Naturally, all these triads have names:
G A B C D E F
NOTES: E F G A B C D
C D E F G A B
NAMES: C Dm Em F G Am B°

If you do not understand why the chords are called what they are, then you should be studying the fundamentals of
music theory at the same time that you are studying this material.

Another way to view the construction of the triads from a scale is to build the first chord as explained
above, and then move each note of this first triad up to the next note in the scale.

Take a moment and apply this type of thinking to the C major scale.

So now you may be wondering, “How is all this information going to help me learn to play good solos?”
Be patient, the answers are coming soon. But first….

Sticking with the major scale for now, it is very important to realize that all the above information can be
applied to any and all keys. Following is a list of the triads that can be built from the other major scales:

Key of G: G Am Bm C D Em F#° Key of F: F Gm Am Bb C Dm E°


Key of D: D Em F#m G A Bm C#° Key of Bb: Bb Cm Dm Eb F Gm A°
Key of A: A Bm C#m D E F#m G#° Key of Eb: Eb Fm Gm Ab Bb Cm D°
Key of E: E F#m G#m A B C#m D#° Key of Ab: Ab Bbm Cm Db Eb Fm G°
Key of B: B C#m D#m E F# G#m A#° Key of Db: Db Ebm Fm Gb Ab Bbm C°
Key of F#: F# G#m A#m B C# D#m E#° Key of Gb: Gb Abm Bbm Cb Db Ebm F°
Key of C#: C# D#m E#m F# G# A#m B#° Key of Cb: Cb Dbm Ebm Fb Gb Abm Bb°

Triads built from scales are also called diatonic triads (diatonic means “using only notes of the scale”).
This new word will take on increasing importance as you progress on.
Actually, the full titles of the above are the DIATONIC (Major Scale) TRIADS.
Single-Note Playing (parts 1-2) Ted Greene, 1976-02-27 — page 2
 
 
As you may have noticed, the same chord qualities (types of chords) appear in all the keys. That is, the
first, fourth and fifth chords are majors; the second, third and sixth are minors; and the seventh is a diminished. The
commonly accepted musical shorthand for this information is as follows: I ii iii IV V vi vii°
These Roman numeral symbols will be a big help to you in various areas such as transposition (playing
something in a different key than it was written or given in), communication with other musicians, and the theme of
these sheets—your single-note playing.
You should commit all of the information given so far to memory, as soon as possible. In the long run it is
the fastest way to go, even though it may seem to be the slowest, most tedious way right now.

So, how can you use this info in your single-note playing? By using the following principle:
When any chord progression contains two or more chords that are derived from the same scale, use that scale in
your single-note playing for those particular chords.
Example: Suppose you see this chord progression: G – A – D, or this one: Em – A – D.
Which scale would you play over these chords? Answer: the D major scale.
To be sure, there are some toss-up situations (for instance, which is right for the chord progression G – D ?
Two answers: The G or D major scales), but these are virtually eliminated in contemporary music, due to the use of
more modern chord types such as 7ths, 9ths, 11ths and 13ths (this statement will become clear very soon).
Before we go any further, you should get a chance to apply some of this information to some chord
progressions; naturally, in order to do this, you have to know how to play the major scale, so here are some
diagrams that you should play through and memorize. As far as the left hand fingering goes, experiment, and also
get other players’ opinions on the subject.
All examples are given in the key of D but should be learned in all keys as soon as possible.

Now, for applying these sounds—here are some diatonic chord progressions in the key of D. You might
put them on tape and practice your scales “over” them, or maybe you could get together with another person who
can play the chords while you solo. (As far as how to play these scales, or how to mix the notes up, just experiment
for now. Separate material will be given soon on this subject.) Try lots of different rhythms and right-hand
techniques in these progressions.
Common Diatonic Chord Progressions (Key of D) Using Triads
1) ||: D – G – D – G :|| 2) ||: D – G – A – D :|| 3) ||: D – A – G – D :||
4) ||: D – A – G – A :|| 5) ||: D – G – D – A :|| 6) ||: D – G – A – G :||
7) ||: D – Bm – G – D :|| 8) ||: D – Bm – G – A :|| 9) ||: D – F#m – G – D :||
10) ||: D – F#m – G – A :|| 11) ||: D – Em – G – D :|| 12) ||: D – Em – G – A :||
13) ||: Bm – F#m – G – D :|| 14) ||: Em – Bm – G – D :||
15) ||: D – A – Bm – F#m – G – D – Em – A :||
16) ||: D – A3 – Bm – F#m3 – G – D3 – Em7 – A11 :||

Bass note These more modern chords are used here for extra color
(3rd of chord) (they will be discussed soon).
Single-Note Playing (parts 3-4)
Ted Greene 2-28-1976

Most music written in the 20th century does not use triads only, but also, more modern chord types such as
7ths, 9ths, 11ths and 13ths.
Building 7th Chords
If you were to start from the 1st tone in a scale, and combine every other note until you had 4 notes
(remember that triads were the result of the combination of 3 notes), the result would be what is called a diatonic 7th
chord. It is called a 7th chord because it contains a note (“on top” of the triad) that is, the interval of a 7th above the
root. As with triads, diatonic 7th chords can be built starting from other notes in a scale. Following are all the
diatonic 7th chords in the key of C major:

B C D E F G A
DIATONIC G A B C D E F
(Major Scale) E F G A B C D
7th CHORDS: C D E F G A B
NAMES: C7 Dm7 Em7 F7 G7 Am7 Bm7b5 (also written B±7)
The common Roman
Numeral symbols are
as follows: I7 ii7 iii7 IV7 V7 vi7 viim7b5 or vii±7

ASSIGNMENT: Write out similar charts of the diatonic 7th chords in all 15 keys.

Diatonic 7th chords are often used in place of diatonic triads (meaning, if you saw a progression of, say, Bm
– F#m – G – D, [key of D] you might play Bm7 – F#m7 – G7 – D7). As far as soloing over the diatonic 7th chords
goes, the principle is the same as with diatonic triads; that is, if you see two or more successive 7th chords that are
diatonic to the same scale, use that scale in your single-note playing. To get familiar with the sound of all this, you
might try going back to the chord progressions on page 2 [part 2] and substituting diatonic 7ths for the triads, and
then soloing over these new chords. Also, here are some new progressions to practice: (Given in key of D)

17) ||: D7 – Em7 – F#m7 – Em7 :|| 18) ||: G7 – F#m7 – Em7 – D7 :|| 19) ||: F#m7 – Bm7 – Em7 – A7 :||
I7 ii7 iii7 ii7 IV7 iii7 ii7 I7 iii7 vi7 ii7 V7

ASSIGNMENT: Notice the Roman numerals included here. If you haven’t already done so, go back to the
progressions on page 2 [part 2], figure out what the progressions would be in terms of Roman numerals, write out
these numerals on a separate page, and then transpose the progressions to at least a few new keys. Then transpose the
above progressions also. The reason for all this emphasis on transposing and progressions is so that you learn to
instantly tell what key a song or portion of a song is in, which then tells you which scale to play for soloing.

Building 9th, 11th and 13th Chords, and “Added Note” Chords

If you were to take the principle of combining alternate notes in a scale and carry it out farther until you had
5 notes, the result would be diatonic 9th chords; with 6 notes, you have diatonic 11th chords and with 7 notes, you
have diatonic 13th chords. Not all of these chords are commonly used, because some of them sound pretty awkward,
but the ones that sound good, really sound good.
In addition, many of these chords sound good when certain notes are left out. Also, another group of
important chords are the “added note” chords. Example: Dadd9 (D/9) contains the notes D, F#, A, E. Anyway, on
the next page will be a bit of the more commonly used of all these chords; the list will be given in the key of D.
Single-Note Playing (parts 3-4) Ted Greene, 1976-02-28— page 2
 
 
( C# Å Em13 )
B A
E E E F# A F# B
C# E C# B B E D D D F# E
A A A A A A B B B B C#
F# F# F# F# F# F# G G G G A
D D D D D D E E E E F#
D9 D/9 D13 D6 D6/9 D2 Em9 Em7/11 Em11 Em/9 F#m7/11
-------------------------------------- ----------------------------------- --------------
I or I7 ii or ii7 iii or iii7

Triad or 7th symbols are commonly used for the “fancy” chords as well.

F#
E C# F# D A
A A A C# A B B F# B B
F# A F# E E E E G G G G G G
D D D D D D D E E E E E E
B B B B B B B C# C# C# D ( ) ( )
G G G G G G G A A A A A A
G9 G/9 G13 G6 G6/9 G/9+11 G6/9+11 A9 A13 A7/6 A7sus A11 A13sus
---------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------
IV or IV7 V or V7

E
C# E C# F#
A A A C# B
F# F# F# F# G
D D D D E
B B B B C#
Bm9 Bm7/11 Bm11 Bm9 C#m7b5/11
-------------------------------------- ---------------
vi or vi7 vii±7

ASSIGNMENT: Naturally, you should try using these new chords in your progressions, as substitutes for the triads
or 7th chords, and then try soloing over them. Do all this in various keys, as before.

Here are some new progressions to try also: 20) ||: G7 – C#m7b5 – F#m7 – Bm7 – Em7 – A7 – D7 – D7 :||
IV7 vii±7 iii7 vi7 ii7 V7 I7

21) ||: Em7 – A7 – D7 – (Bm7) :|| 22) ||: D7 – Bm7 – Em7 – A7 :|| 23) ||: F#m7 – Bm7 – Em7 – A7 :||
ii7 V7 I7 vi7 I7 vi7 ii7 V7 iii7 vi7 ii7 V7
Single-Note Playing (parts 3-4) Ted Greene, 1976-02-28— page 3
 
 
DIATONIC ARPEGGIOS (Major Scale)
Many of the best single-note players derive most of the notes in their solos from the notes in the chords over
which they are soloing. Example: in the key of D, if an Em chord comes up, a lot of players would probably see the
notes of the different Em types (that are diatonic to the key of D)—namely, E, G, B, D, F#, A and maybe the C# too.

“Wait a minute,” you’re saying, “this is the whole D scale, so what’s the big deal?” The big deal is that
players use these notes in certain groupings which, like it or not (don’t worry, human ears like it), the ear integrates
as a chord being played one note at a time, which brings us to the definition of an arpeggio: An ARPEGGIO is
simply a “broken chord”—that is, in an arpeggio, the notes of a chord are played successively rather than
simultaneously. A thorough knowledge of diatonic arpeggios is ULTRA-important to anyone wanting to be a great
single-note player.

A list of these arpeggios will follow soon.

Here is a practice procedure for learning and applying them:

1) Learn a fingering of a given arpeggio “from the bottom up.”


2) Then try breaking it up into 4 (or 3) note groups, also from the bottom up.
Example: given a D7 arpeggio with the notes D, F#, A, C#, D, F#, A, C#, D from the bottom up,
the 4-note groups would be: D F# A C, F# A C# D, A C# D F#, C# D F# A, D F# A C, etc.
3) Now reverse the procedure, from the “top down.”
4) Then try random “break ups.”
5) Then mix in other diatonic notes with the arpeggio tones.
6) Repeat the process for other arpeggios, and when you have enough different sounds under control, try applying all
of this to your progressions.

Please note that a sophisticated arpeggio sound may be played over a more simple chord; in fact, this is
desirable. Example: over an Em chord, try an Em7 or Em9 or Em11 or Em13 arpeggio.

The principle doesn’t work too well in reverse (like an Em7 arpeggio over an Em11 chord is not as desirable
as an Em9 or Em11 arpeggio over an Em11 chord).

Transcribed by P. Vachon