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Playing The Changes – I7 to IV7

In this series of videos, we look at how to play the changes to a song and be able to play melodic lines that smoothly flow over changing chords.

In part three, we look at how to play through a more difficult chord change.

This entry was posted in Improvisation.
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  1. Greg
    Posted 24 July, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Hi Tacca
    I watched the chord changes and smooth chord changes etc.
    Is it possible to discuss or relate these lessons to major and minor pentatonic scales.
    Or discussing chord changes with the pentatonics. It seem some players utilize pentatonic scales major and minor to achieve blues progressions Thank you

  2. Posted 24 July, 2016 at 6:37 pm | Permalink


    The most important thing to take away from these videos is how you can use the chord tones to make the sound of each chord. You can use major/minor pentatonic scales, or indeed any other kind of scale, to play a melodic line over a chord, but you still need to hit the important chord tones, at the right time, to make the sound of that chord.

    For example, if you want to play over a Cmaj7, the chord tones are C/E/G/B. If you use a C major pentatonic scale, which is C/D/E/G/A, the C, E and G are in there, so playing these notes will help make the sound of the Cmaj7 chord *and* the C pentatonic scale. The B is only in the chord tones, so playing this will help make the sound of the Cmaj7 chord, but it will sound a bit “outside” for the scale. Playing the D and A will help make the sound of the scale, but not the chord, so you can use these as passing notes in your melodic line.

    The point is, every note you play is heard in multiple contexts – harmonic (the chord that is playing at that moment in time), melodic (the notes you just played before, and the notes you are about to play next), and rhythmic (not relevant here). The note won’t be “correct” for the harmonic and melodic contexts *all* the time, but if you can make it fit both *enough* of the time, it will sound right, in both contexts.

    WRT using pentatonics to play over blues, it gives good results early on, but it’s a crutch and causes problems later on, since the musician won’t have learnt how to properly make the sound of each chord. It’s better to do things properly from the beginning – learn how to make the sound of a chord, then superimpose a scale over it – rather than the other way around, which is impossible 🙂

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