Improvise Over Dominant Chords Part 2 (Advanced Upper Structures) (Podcast Episode #42)

Posted by: JAZZEDGE on August 10, 2021

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00:06 Hey guys, welcome to Episode 42 of the confident improviser podcast I am Willie Myette, creator of jazz edge today we are talking about how to improvise over dominant chords. This is part two and today we are going to cover some advanced upper structures. Be sure to keep listening to the end of the podcast you understand about the sheet music and why there is no sheet music today. Alright, so I want to remind everybody that you can go now to my YouTube channel, you can find these podcasts videos on my YouTube channel, just search for the word jazz edge, or go to slash jazz edge. Then also remember, you can get your daily dose of jazz piano at jazz piano I'm giving free daily jazz piano lessons, so be sure to check that out. Alright, so let me put on my I real pro track here and we had this from last week's episode. And let me just kind of demonstrate what we're going to be talking about today. 01:21 Alright, so do some cool sounds that you can make here in your improvisation in the right hand. So let's talk about what's happening and how I'm conceptualizing this. First of all, upper structure triads are three note chords, triads, that you play above or on top of your basic dominant seventh or whatever basic chord you're playing. So major seventh minor seven. So not always, what I'm saying is your upper structure triads can be used on major chords, minor chords, and dominant chords, they are most definitely more ubiquitous on dominant chords than on majors and minors, right? So on majors and minors, you don't find as many upper upper structure triads, whereas on dominant chords, you have a whole bunch of upper structure triads that you can utilize. The one that I'm doing right now is a one built on a night or built on the second. So right here, I have a basic c seven chord in the left hand, root three, seven in the left hand, so C, E, B flat in the left hand, and in the right, I have a D major triad, right, so just D, F sharp and a, and I can play that in root position, or a lot of times I'll be doing those upper structure triads in an inversion. You can see here in this example, I just played the seventh in the third which is my guide tone in my left hand, and I'm playing a D major triad in second inversion. So from the bottom up, the notes of this court are be flattened II, played with the left hand and then with the right hand A, D, F sharp. I hit a C underneath there. Alright, but now we're not talking about chords, we now want to talk about improvisation over these chords. Okay, so now when they're just playing my basic c seven chord while improvising, even though it says it's says in ireo, Pro, C seven, all I don't have to play it as an altered chord, I could just play it as a basic c seven chord, if I just do these three note voicings, the E, the B flat, and the D. in the right hand, this is where I want to kind of take the harmony out a little bit that we've talked before, about, you know how you can use things like the mixolydian scale, or just chord tones. When improvising over your dominant seventh chord, well, you can also utilize your upper structure triads, right. So I could utilize my D major triad here what I was just playing, right remember, I was just doing that D major triad, that major triad built in a night, okay, so I can just, I can just play those chord tones. The problem that we're playing those chord tones is that while it sounds kind of like arpeggiated and almost like an exercise, 04:07 right, and it doesn't give you that nice scalar kind of sound that you get with. So now let's talk about what I'm doing there. Right? Before I do that, let me just play the the triadic arpeggiated kind of thing just so you can kind of hear what it sounds like, along with the IRA Pro. 04:44 I chose definitely sounds interesting, but it doesn't have that nice scalar field to it. So instead, what I did was I said to myself, okay, well wait a second. I know that I'm playing a D major triad, right? So why don't I instead of playing a D major triad, To play a D major five finger scale, then that gives me a D major five finger scale on top of a C seven chord. So what does that given me here, that gives me my ninth which is D, the third which is e, the sharp 11, which is F sharp, my five which is G, and then my 13th, which is a, alright, so the chord tones and the D are the D, F sharp, a, the nine, the sharp 11 and 13. I'm just adding in my third and my fifth of my core. And now I get this. Now I could stay just with this, but I went one step further and I added in that B flat as well. Now for any of you that kind of know, scales, you kind of probably already know that this is what we would call a Lydian flat seven scale. So the notes of a Lydian of a C Lydian flat seven scale or C D, E, F sharp, G A, B flat C, Lydian flat seven scale, I'm really kind of doing a Lydian flat seven scale, I'm just leaving that C out of it right? So I have my D, E, F sharp, G and F. So why thinking about it as a five finger major scale like that? Why is that easier? Why would you recommend that Willie rather than just simply say, hey, play a Lydian flat seven scale was a couple of reasons. Number one is when we just simply say play a Lydian flat seven scale. Well now it's a scale and now we have to try and figure out like Okay, so how do we like get this scale to sound? You know, like an improvisation and not just sound like a scale? Right? How do we get it to sound like an improvisation in that just going up and down the scale? So that that's one issue. Second thing is a lot of times when we think scale, sometimes students immediately like, Oh, it's just another scale I have to learn, forget it, I don't want to do it, it's too much to think about. So when we instead think about like, Okay, I got this five finger pattern going on here. Yes, we do call it a five finger scale, but it's only five notes, right. So here, I don't have to worry about crossing, I can just stay right in those five notes. Now check it out, when I improvise, just using these five notes here. Alright. 07:33 I get a really neat sound, then what's neat is that if I kind of think, Alright, let me improvise c Mixolydian. For a while, and then I'll move through that D five finger scale, listen to what that sounds like. Here's Mixolydian 07:57 Mixolydian Hi, move to that de show miscellaneous. D major. So you can hear how like when I moved to that D major five finger scale, it gives it a kind of a different vibe doesn't it kind of takes the harmony out a little bit. The other kind of neat thing that I could do is I could start to bring some of these ideas that we know about. We already know about this kind of you know kind of Floyd Cramer country esque kind of feel in which we can you know do this with our major triad. Ian a going up to the F sharp d d be sure to take a look at the video if you're listening to the podcast. Go back to the YouTube channel and take a look at the video for this. It'd be a lot easier to see. Alright, but now if I do that along with this is Mixolydian. 09:19 Alright, good. Okay, now we'll go on to the D five finger scale that Floyd Cramer says obviously add some tension in there, but you can get some kind of cool stuff going on between the hands. Right? So anyway, try playing around with that. So what you do is you create a five finger major scale built on the ninth of the court. So notice if I'm going to F Seven. Now the G major five finger scale, if I was doing B flat seven, that'd be a C major five finger scale. And again, the C major triad, that's your upper structure, try it, I'm just filling in with the third and the fifth there. And if I wanted to, I can also add in that flat seven, right? So if I go back to C, C, I can add in that B flat. 10:26 If I add in the seventh, that now becomes Lydian flat seven, right? If I want to leave it out, then I can leave it out as well. Okay? So there's a lot of cool things that you can get improv wise, by thinking about the structures differently. When you kind of move outside of the normal way of thinking of these structures, like okay, it's just an upper structure. Try that said, I'm just going to use it as a try it. Well now, go back to its roots, go back to the five finger major scale on that upper structure, try it and see how that works. You might say, Well, wait a second. Can I do that anywhere else? Really? Alright, well, what about this one, this is a great infrastructure tried built in the flat six. This is a flat Major. Well, what if I did in a flat major five finger scale here. 11:14 See, I just moved from my a flat five finger scale into my D five finger skip, you get a lot of cool stuff going on there. 11:32 I can get some really neat sounds. And I can make my improvisation really start to go out and start to sound very interesting. So again, here, let me do this. I'm gonna put this a little bit faster. Let's go up to 140. I'll start with Mixolydian. 11:51 Go to my tea. Playing in a flat. All right. So I mean, you can hear those sounds are pretty darn cool, right? And all I was doing was moving between the a flat five finger major scale D major five finger scale, right? So using these techniques, like I said, you could come up with some really, really neat stuff. Okay, so now the question is, hey, Willie, where's the sheet music? Right? I'm going to be completely frank and honest with you. Okay. The listenership for the podcast has gone down. Since I'm now doing my jazz piano daily lessons, my jazz piano daily lessons, these are daily lessons on YouTube. This is where you can get daily jazz piano lessons, right? no cost, go ahead right to my YouTube channel, or go to jazz piano, you can sign up right there. And you get a bunch of lessons absolutely free of charge, nothing that you have to pay for. So I've had a lot of students who are now moving over to that jazz piano daily and listening to those lessons, which means that don't listen to the podcast as much. So that means that now there is a decision to be made. If I see that this listenership for the podcast keeps going down. Well, then I'll keep the podcast episodes up there, but I'm just not going to be adding any new episodes, I'll put everything on my jazz piano daily. So if you want to see more of the music in the podcast, and you want to see this podcast, stay alive, please do me a favor. It's a very simple way of doing this. let your friends know. Be sure that you're listening to the podcast, right? Listen to it, subscribe to it. tell a friend about the podcast The more people that know about the podcast and listen to it, then the more than I'll say hey, look, yeah, people are listening and they're paying attention they're so let me put up some new episodes right? Of course, I'm one person, I only have so much time so I have to weigh my time and if one channel was not doing as well as the other one, well then I'm going to have to say that channel is going to have to go and get sunset. I don't want to do that to the podcast. I love doing these podcast episodes. So if you love them, too, please do me a favor. listen to the podcast, subscribe to it. Be sure to tell a friend about it. And then also go to the my youtube channel on these podcasts. And then right in the comments, Willie, don't kids on the podcast, I listened to this. When I hear from you, then I know that there's somebody on the other end that's listening to this stuff. When I don't hear from students that I just simply look at numbers. And when I see numbers on something going down well then it tells me that there just isn't as much interest in that right? So if you want to put a name and a face to that to that number, please go back to the YouTube channel, and then be sure to leave a comment on the podcast episode. Alright, so that's it for me. And I will see you guys later. Thank you very much for joining me in today's podcast episode. I'll see you next week.

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