scale / arpeggio / chord
Are you hip to the coolness of how the pitches of a scale become an arpeggio, and how this sequencing of pitches within the arpeggio can then be stacked vertically and struck simultaneously to create chords? If necessary, read on. The following musical example simply presents a C major scale in measure 1, then respells the major scale using the intervals of the major and minor thirds, the essential tertian chord building intervals within equal temper. It is in this respelling of the pitches of the major scale by thirds that creates the C major arpeggio, as in measure 3, then stacks the pitches of the arpeggio atop one another to create a C major chord as presented in bar 4 below.
Thus, scale / arpeggio / chord. Vwala. Example 1.
Can you see and hear how the scale in bar 1 becomes the arpeggio in bar 3? Then how the arpeggio in bar 2 is simply stacked one pitch upon another to create the chord in bar 4? Cool with this? Does the sound of the arpeggio and chord sound a bit off to you? No worries, chords of this dimension are a quite rare in the music. Just looking to learn the three terms here and how they are created from the exact same group of pitches. Got these three components under your fingers?
So why is understanding how scales evolve into arpeggios and into chords potentially so important to the creative musician? Well, when improvising our own melodies i.e., soloing over chord changes, a rather nice approach oftentimes combines elements of each of these three possibilities. Each have their own unique ways of building excitement and when smoothly combined together within a song, it gives the player a wider range of orchestrative techniques to enhance their ideas. Perhaps try this next idea when time permits. Pick a tune you really know well. Play scales through the first chorus, arpeggiate the changes in the second, then play chords in the third chorus. As this ability develops, simply try to create ideas that contain elements of each of these three approaches in your lines within one chorus. Oftentimes, fluidly combining scales, arpeggios and chords is indicative of a very advanced musical intellect.
What about the sound of the extended arpeggio and chord from the above example? Can we alter some of the pitches to improve the sound and why must we alter pitches anyway? Click here to get there. What about in the blues?
Monk"s "Round About Midnight" and Wolf's "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most" are two arpeggio laden melodies with so much coolness within, creating an "effortless swing" as they say in the biz ... Perhaps check them out when time permits.
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The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. William James