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Jazz Piano Lessons: Arpeggiated Triads as a Melodic Device

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Now we're gonna go for
a real cheap score.
We've been working,
we started out working on bop scales.
A pretty closely configured thing.
Very stepwise motion.
As we got into our pentatonic scales we
started to open up a little bit more.
In the span of an octave of playing the
straight scale we're able to cover more
That has a very nice sweep to it.
The approach patterns
are also kind of a closely
doesn't get much closer than that.
What we're gonna do now is just add
a little bit to the vocabulary.
And we're gonna skip a tiny
bit of harmony just so
that we can start playing
these nice sounding things.
We're gonna arpeggiate some
triads over these chords.
And that lets you
You cover a lot of the keyboard with that.
It really opens up your line.
You don't wanna do too much of this
because [SOUND] it doesn't really
produce a lot of tension and release.
There are triads that you could
arpeggiate on top of it that do.
That is an A triad on top
of our D minor seven chord.
Let's work with these
chords one at a time.
We're gonna go D minor seven
to G7 to C which is our two,
five, one in the key of C.
And I'm just gonna give you a triad or
two to work on.
If you remember from our harmony lesson,
we did a voicing on the D minor seven or
on a minor seven chord where we
positioned it in the third inversion.
[SOUND] Here's one.
[SOUND] Two.
Sorry, this is root, one, two, and three.
Then we drop the root down there,
which left us with a F major
triad in the right hand.
as you're playing your line you can
throw that in there as a melodic device.
That kind of thing.
You can see that
it really opens things up.
And it's almost,
like I say, it's like a freebie.
You might have been arpeggiating
triads since early on
in your piano lesson experience.
And that's a simple one that has
a couple things that I like about it.
One of which is similar to what I
like about the pentatonic scale.
As you play it up,
it's not periodic or
regular like our bop scale is
where it's the same thing each bar.
Instead the notes kind of skip around
as to what's landing on the beat.
Let's arpeggiate it up from the C.
One, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, eight.
Next bar, you're starting on the A.
then the next bar you're
starting on the F.
So different notes of it are landing
on the beat and between the beats.
Different notes are landing on
different beats and so forth.
And that kinda gives you a nice little
natural rotation to your playing.
All of the notes are good on the beat.
Let's look for
a second at the G, the G7 chord,
cuz here I'm going to show you a couple
interesting ideas to work with.
In the next 10 or 20 lessons, something
like that, we're gonna start to discuss
the idea of the upper structure triad,
and all that is, is of all the notes
that are available to add to the top of
a G7 chord, and there's a lot of them.
That's a good one.
That's a good one.
That's a good one.
That's a good one.
That's a good one.
That's a good one.
Of all those you can make
triads out of those and
that's a very simple way to
keep your harmony organized.
There's an E triad over G7 that
goes down to C major seven.
The E flat triad works and
has a very cool, kind of dark,
jazzy sound down to your C major 7.
We're gonna cover those as
harmony as the lessons evolve,
but for right now check this out.
I'm gonna play a little bit of
F triad over this,
You can hear how that has a very nice,
much richer jazz sound to it because
we're starting to incorporate
a couple extensions on our chord.
That particular triad gives us an E,
which is the 13,
that's coming in the next few lessons.
And it gives us a flat nine.
And we like that because, again,
it's a half step down resolution.
That's a nice thing.
And it throws in there just
some harmonic richness.
You'll come to hear these as colors that
you go for without thinking about it.
So on our G7
let's use an E7 triad as we start
to experiment with
the idea of arpeggiating
a triad as a way of opening
up our soloing, and
then let's also use
the E flat major triad.
So the scale degrees
would be the sixth major
triad because E is the sixth of our scale.
[SOUND] And the flat six.
That's a really nice chord there and
it's just simply constructed by putting
a triad on top of our guide tones.
On our C major 7, for
now let's just arpeggiate a G triad.
[SOUND] In future lessons
we're gonna study,
that's a D triad.
This stuff is really quite simple and
I'm gonna put up the two-five
track on D minor 7 to G7 to C7 and
just experiment with integrating
these into our line.
I'm gonna start out by just playing mostly
the triads in different iterations.
And then I'll progress to integrating
them into the lines a little bit more.
Two, a
one, two,
So those are very inside right there.
I'm arpeggiating the G triad on
the G let's go with the E triad.
D minor,
very, very simple notes in there.
If you know any triads you're in business.
Let's do the E flat.
Very familiar
Jazz harmony in there.
There I use the E
flat on the way up,
switch to the E on the way down.
And these are really nice.
Again in our In our effort to
get to different densities,
different textures, and especially
to take it to different harmony,
there are a number of these that
work on the dominant chord.
That's a D flat right there.
You can go with what's known as a Lydian
or sharp 11 sound, which is the A.
For now, let's work with the six scale
degree, major triad on the six degree,
major triad on the flat six degree.
As you're practicing,
experiment with these.
You can either play them
like that.
Or you can break them up like I was doing
that sort of thing.
Very easy notes to get under your fingers,
and yet
they really expand your harmonic palette,
and they open up the keyboard.
You can really rip off a line that goes
all the way bottom to top with these.
And by putting extensions to
the chord in the triad you're using,
you also open up your harmony.
And that's our lesson
on arpeggiated triads.
Add those in as you're working
out on our backing tracks.