Making The Most With What You Know:
To continue from the last article, we’re going to check out some more licks, and how to start practicing them with purpose.
The hardest part of learning new material is how to integrate it into your playing thoughtlessly. It should slowly become second nature, like all of the tried and true licks you already know. We’re going to show some more examples here of one lick, and how to attach it into your lines. The lick we’re using is more suited towards Jazz, but the concepts can be applied to any genre, (the lick can as well!)
The first example is another lick taken from Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee”. He frequently uses this lick in his playing when improvising, as well as in the “head” of his tunes, so it’s a good example to start with. What we have is a D minor 7 flat 5 arpeggio over a Bb7 chord. The theory of it is this, if you play a minor 7 flat 5 arpeggio over a dominant chord, you’re highlighting the 3rd, 5th, flat 7th, and the 9th of the chord. This is a very efficient way to outline the main tonality of the chord very quickly. The example is shown in two positions, but there are more.
Example 2 shows the lick in thrown over a C7 chord, with an added ending note, an E flat hammering on into an E natural, creating a bluesy vibe. You can use this type of lick over any tune that has one stable chord over multiple measures.
Check out this article on how to improve your minor 7th Arpeggios!
Example 3 uses the lick in the second measure, outlining an F7 chord. The preceding measure has a C minor pentatonic feel, with the position and notes chosen specifically to lead right into the lick we’re trying to integrate. When you’re practicing your own lines and combining them with licks you’re learning, you should try to work backwards first, looking for the most efficient way to lead your line from one lick to the next. There are multiple ways to lead one into the other.
Example 4 is a combination of 2 licks. In the first measure, over a C7 chord, the lick used here is from Part 1 of these articles. The second measure is the new lick transcribed over an F7 chord. These two licks in tandem work great playing any tune that has movement from the I chord over to the IV chord.
The goal of these examples is to try to understand and apply any lick you learn to music you yourself are playing. Usually, with a little creativity, a solution can be found. It may often be that the solution is “your solution” and not easily explained theoretically. That’s ok. Your ear is the ultimate decider of what is good and what isn’t. Experiment and find what works for you!
Experiment with Major 7th Arpeggios!
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