Even when bandleaders or producers want you to shred with all the fire you can bring, melodic playing is still at the top of their list. There are no shortcuts to learning this concept, but I can help get you started. A lot of those differences come down to musical taste, so let me start by giving you my definition. I believe melody is derived from the combination of intervals, especially those intervals that are wider than seconds. Many instrumentalists advance their technique and learn harmony by working with scales. This is all good in the beginning when we are still trying to remember that the key of Ab has four flats, or that A major has three sharps.
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Even when bandleaders or producers want you to shred with all the fire you can bring, melodic playing is still at the top of their list. There are no shortcuts to learning this concept, but I can help get you started. A lot of those differences come down to musical taste, so let me start by giving you my definition. I believe melody is derived from the combination of intervals, especially those intervals that are wider than seconds.
Many instrumentalists advance their technique and learn harmony by working with scales. This is all good in the beginning when we are still trying to remember that the key of Ab has four flats, or that A major has three sharps.
But after that knowledge has become second nature we need to think beyond the sequential order of the scales and begin seeing them as independent tonal centers. Learn Your Lines A solo based on scale playing sounds like practicing. Guitarists more so than other musicians are guilty of scalar playing because they are typically taught to play in patterns and in specific positions. Melodic playing begins with a tasteful reordering of the notes in the scale or tonal center.
You make the split-second decision as to which note should follow the last one you played, and your ability to do this on the fly is what defines you as an improviser. But what about faster tempos? Or sixteenth-notes at a medium tempo? Many years ago I read an article in Keyboard magazine by Chick Corea. I took this concept to heart and began to work out as much harmonic material as I could.
I filled many notebooks with lines for major, minor, and dominant chords and learned to connect them in every key all over the guitar. Therefore, it makes sense to have a catalog of major, minor, and dominant lines available in all 12 keys. By writing lines every day, you begin to see a style emerge. And that style is your style. Melodic Springboards Example 1 is very typical of my main objective, which is to make music sound different.
And it has some range—an octave-and-a-half in just five notes. I like to use this phrase as a springboard for the imagination.
Notice the b5 interval between the notes F and B that open measure 2. This slightly jarring sound tends to ground us in the blues, bringing the listener back to home base. We can also run the line upwards and take it out of the strictly pentatonic mode by adding the 9, G. The triplets-based line in Ex.
The wide intervals are what give it its radical sound. Replay Ex. It can be heard as a Db major phrase that never actually tags the root, Db. This is the same set of intervals as Ex. Now try Ex. Starting with our familiar five-note phrase, it cascades down the neck.
And when you play it over a C chord it has a wide, open, pastoral sound that is neither jazz, country, nor rock, yet magically works for all those styles. Look at the TAB to see the strings I skipped. Remember, a good line follows an arc and even has some tension and resolution to it. This gives it melodic weight and integrity. Lick Library Dominant chords provide endless possibilities for intervallic lines because we can mix major and minor pentatonics with the Mixolydian mode.
You can season to taste with bends and vibrato. But simply writing a good line is not enough. You need to be able to access it from your existing library of licks. Never stop looking for ways to alter the stuff you overuse.
Finding a different way out of an old standby line keeps it fresh and interesting. But most importantly, if you take these approaches to heart, the things you play will be your own. This leads me to another important concept: There are no exercises. All of your technical practicing can be spent playing music—lines you can actually use on stage and in the studio!
No more wasting your time with chromatic patterns, scales, and arpeggios.
The Carl Verheyen Academy is Now Open!
Supertramp[ edit ] In , Verheyen was hired as a session guitarist on a recording project at Wildcat Studios in Los Angeles. Verheyen auditioned for the band the next day and was hired as a sideman and toured with the band on their world tour, Brother Where You Bound. In , Rick Davies re-formed Supertramp adding Verheyen as a formal band member along with three other new members bringing the band up to an eight-man line-up. The result of this reunion was Some Things Never Change , a new studio album released in March that echoed the earlier Supertramp sound and reached number 74 in the UK   In the summer of , Supertramp returned to the road, resulting in the live It Was the Best of Times
Improvising Without Scales