El Gaucho

I was recently introduced to the tune El Gaucho while jamming with some friends. Subsequently I spent several weeks practicing the changes and soloing over them. Ultimately I wanted to get a feel for how the greats have approached soloing on this tune.

I believe the original recording is on Wayne Shorter’s album “Adam’s Apple” from 1966. I transcribed the first two choruses of the saxophone solo. I’m making this solo transcription available for free in the following formats:

Wayne Shorter Solo Transcription

 

 

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Arpeggio Warmups – 9th Chords

So far all warmups were based on the premise that the chord notated in the exercises (and what is heard on the play-along MP3s) is also the four note chord played for the arpeggio. In this post we’ll break from that pattern and us chord substitution rules to achieve the sound Dominant 9th and Major 9th and Minor 9th chords.

Basic chord substitution was what allowed us to explain the mysteries of Bebop scales.  (Anybody who wants to know more aboud chord substitution should check out Randy Felts: “Reharmonization Techniques”, Berklee Press, 2002.)

The following three basic substitution rules allow us to create the sound of various 9th chords by applying arpeggios we have already practiced:

  1. Major 9th chords: A IΔ7 chord can be substituted by a iii-7 chord. E.g. in a C-Major tune, CΔ7 is the major chord on the first scale degree. We can substitute this with a Minor 7th chord on the third scale degree, i.e. E-7. Playing the E-7 arpeggio over the CΔ7 chord effectively creates the sound of CΔ9.
  2. Minor 9th chords: A ii-7 chord, as well as vi-7 chord may each be substituted with a Major 7th chord a minor third up. The ii-7 chord can be substituted with a IVΔ7, the vi-7 with the IΔ7. E.g. in the key of C-Major, a D-7 can be substituted with FΔ7 and an A-7 with a CΔ7. Both substitutions create a Minor 9th sound.
  3. Dominant 9th chords: A V7 chord may be substituted with a viiØ chord. E.g. in the key of C Major, a G7 chord can be replaced by a BØ. Playing a BØ arpeggio over G7 effectively produces a G9 sound.

In order to experience these 9th sounds hands on, we can reuse existing play-alongs from previous arpeggio warmup exercises. For example Exercise 1A from the major 7th warmup post

and its play-along: Major Chords Descending in Fifths.

By substituting the Major 7th arpeggios with Minor 7th arpeggios starting on the third scale degree of the Major scale, we get the following:

Applying this trick to all the Major, Minor, and Dominant exercises yields hundreds of new arpeggio based warmups all producing the interesting sound of the 9th!

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Alternating Arpeggio Warmups

Up to now, all arpeggio warmups were based an a single form of the arpeggio, e.g. starting on the third of the chord and descending. A simple trick to create more challenging exercises is to combine an arpeggio’s ascending and descending form into a single exercise. Here is what this looks like for a basic dominant chord, starting on the root and going through keys in ascending chromatic order:

This exercise has a companion exercise which simply starts the first arpeggio in the opposite direction of the original exercise:

These exercises sound surprisingly musical (for a simple etude) because each arpeggio connects to its predecessor smoothly via a single chromatic step. The alternating directions also create a nice undulating line.

This trick is not limited to arpeggios and works just as well on scales. Here’s an example using the Mixolydian scale:

And here is its companion:

Applying this trick to all 32 basic arpeggio exercises going through keys in ascending chromatic fashion generates 64 new alternating arpeggio exercises. And this number is doubled by going through the keys in descending chromatic fashion for a total of 128 new warmup routines!

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Arpeggio Warmups

In last week’s post we created new arpeggio warmups based on cycles of whole-tone steps. Cycles of minor thirds reach even less keys than whole-tone cycles. After just four keys one is back at the start-key:

C | Eb | Gb | A  | C

Using the same trick from above one can cover all twelve keys via three exercises.

Db | E  | G | Bb | Db
D | F | Ab | B | D

Here are the three descending exercises:

And here are the ascending counter parts:

Practicing material in minor thirds can yield some great melodic patterns/licks for diminished harmony and V7|b9 chords. How that works in detail will be covered in a future post.

When applying these 6 new exercises to all 32 original arpeggios and inversions, this yields a total of 6×32=192 new exercises!

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Arpeggio Warumps

In last week’s post we derived new exercises by cycling through all twelve keys chromatically. In principle any interval can be used to cycle through different keys, most of them won’t reach all keys though when applied repeatedly. E.g. cycling in whole steps only reaches six keys before repeating:

C | D  | E  | F# | G# | A# | C

A practical solution to this problem is to create two distinct exercises (one with the keys above) and then the second one starting on any of the keys not in the first one:

C# | D# | F | G | A | B  | C#

That way again all keys are covered. Here’s what these two exercises look like when descending in whole tones:

And these are the matching ascending exercises:

Because all the original 32 arpeggios and their inversions can be used with these four new ways of cycling through keys, this post essentially defines 4×32=128 new arpeggio warmups! Here are the 16 play-alongs for those new exercises:

Major Chords Desceding Whole Steps C

Major Chords Desceding Whole Steps Db

Major Chords Ascending Whole Steps C

Major Chords Ascending Whole Steps Db

Minor Chords Desceding Whole Steps C

Minor Chords Desceding Whole Steps Db

Minor Chords Ascending Whole Steps C

Minor Chords Ascending Whole Steps Db

Dominant Chords Desceding Whole Steps C

Dominant Chords Desceding Whole Steps Db

Dominant Chords Ascending Whole Steps C

Dominant Chords Ascending Whole Steps Db

Half-Diminished Chords Desceding Whole Steps C

Half-Diminished Chords Desceding Whole Steps Db

Half-Diminished Chords Ascending Whole Steps C

Half-Diminished Chords Ascending Whole Steps Db

 

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Arpeggio Warumps

Last week’s post introduced 32 new arpeggio warmups by cycling through the keys in ascending fifths rather than descending fifths. This week we’re going to take this idea further by cycling in half-steps or chromatically.

For instruments that don’t naturally transpose chromatically (piano, sax, etc.) this may seem like a daunting task. In my experience though it doesn’t take long to learn to transpose simple, short melodic fragments chromatically.

This is what a sample exercise looks like that descends through all twelve keys chromatically:

And this is the ascending version:

The chromatically descending cycle occurs in practice when dominant chords are tritone-substituted. A regular ii-V7-I (which descends in fifths) becomes ii-IIb7-I (with the roots descending chromatically).

Again, all 32 original arpeggio inversions can be practices based on those to cycles resulting in 64 new arpeggio warmups. Here are the 8 play-alongs for all those new exercises:

Major Chords Descending Chromatically

Major Chords Ascending Chromatically

Minor Chords Descending Chromatically

Minor Chords Ascending Chromatically

Dominant Chords Descending Chromatically

Dominant Chords Ascending Chromatically

Half-Diminished Chords Descending Chromatically

Half-Diminished Chords Ascending Chromatically

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Arpeggio Warumps

My previous post completed a series of basic arpeggio-based warmup exercises. So far the exercises explored all variants of four note arpeggios/chords of diatonic harmony: major seventh chords (scale degrees I and IV), minor seventh (scale degrees II, III, and VI), the dominant seventh chord (scale degree V) and the half-diminished chord (scale degree VII). The resulting 32 exercises covered all inversions ascending and descending and all twelve keys.

Building on this foundation, I intend to explore more of what can be done with this basic four-note diatonic material:

  • More exercises to gain even greater familiarity with these arpeggios/chords.
  • More musical applications of the arpeggios.

The first set of these extended exercises is based on…

Cycle of Ascending Fifths

All arpeggio warmups to this point have been written such that a given arpeggio is cycled through all keys in descending fifths (going around the Circle of Fifths counter clockwise).

All chords have  a tendency to resolve a perfect fifth lower and so this exercise has practical relevance. Cycling if fifths also has the added benefit, that going from key-to-key only a single accidental changes (i.e. a single flat is added or a single sharp is dropped).

Chords that progress by ascending fifths are less common in Jazz but do occur. Jimmy Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” is completely based on chords progressing in ascending fifths. Here is what the example exercise looks like with ascending fifths (going around the  circle-of-fifths clock wise):

Cycling through the chords this way is obviously not limited to this particular exercise (i.e. dominant arpeggio ascending from root) but can by applied to each of the original 32 exercises. And so by going through the keys in this different order produces 32 new exercises.

Here are the play-along recordings for all four chord variants:

Major Chords Ascending Fifths

Minor Chords Ascending Fifths

Dominant Chords Ascending Fifths

Half-Diminished Chords Ascending Fifths

 

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Arpeggio Warmups

This week’s post completes the half-diminished exercises by starting the arpeggios on the seventh of the chord.

This is the ascending form:

And this the descending form:

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Arpeggio Warmups

This week’s warmups start the half-diminished arpeggios on the (diminished) fifths. Here is the ascending exercise:

And this is the descending variation:

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Arpeggio Warmups

This week’s warmup continues the new half-diminished based arpeggios. The exercises below start the arpeggio on the third of the chord.

Here is the ascending form:

And this is the descending exercise:

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