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Harmonica Lessons: 2-5-1 Jazz Licks

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So now we're gonna start with some
2-5-1 patterns that
will be pretty melodic.
Okay, I'm gonna
do some of these on the harmonica.
And what it involves is making
the notes come out even in the phrase.
So we're gonna throw in
a few passing tones.
That's what they're called.
And it makes the phrases come out even.
[SOUND] So, instead of being
like running up and down scales,
we go up an arpeggio and
come down in a scale.
D minor seventh.
And then we come down,
even though we're on the D minor
seventh chord, it's all fifths.
The passing tone
that I added in,
was in F sharp.
And then we have the F on the down
beat of the G seven chord.
This is the thing about phrasing,
when your soloing over chord changes,
you want to make your melodic lines have
the right impact when the changes occur.
You don't wanna be to far ahead or
too far behind the change.
For example, if you're behind the change.
You'd hit that F sharp on the G seven,
where the F natural is.
That's bad.
So when you're doing these passing tones,
they have to come out in the right places.
And in general for
any playing over any chord changes,
you wanna land on a good, strong note
on the next chord that fits that chord.
So, it's a combination of knowing
your scales, your arpeggios,
having a sense of melody, and being
able to hear when you've made a mistake.
Okay, so this run.
You can do pretty
much anything you want
when you're in C.
Any of those notes will fit.
But it's the two five part that has to
have a feeling of motion that it's going
somewhere, toward a resolution.
So I started it on the root
of the D minor seventh cord.
If I want now,
I can start it on the third.
I threw the passing
tone in there in a different place.
the same note.
I'll go to a six chord after that.
Because the one, the C major seven and the
A minor seven, it's really the same chord.
It's the major and its relative minor.
So starting on the third of that D minor.
You can
go down like
that or
And what if I wanna start on the fifth?
the fifth of D is A.
are other
passing notes.
can experiment
with it.
Almost any note can be a passing note.
That's a C-sharp.
See, it comes
out evenly in music.
And those notes are not in
the scale that goes directly with
the D minor seven arpeggio.
[SOUND] They're passing tones.
And you can use just about any of them,
as long as you don't emphasize
them too much, like.
That's getting a little
questionable there, but how about?
If I play the main
notes along that scale longer and
the passing notes shorter,
then the passing notes
are still doing their job.
Or if I play all of the notes
the same length of time,
the passing notes are doing their job.
And see that when I
do just one of them
it makes the scale have eight
notes instead of seven notes.
And eight comes out even in four,
four time.
And so that's why you hear jazz
musicians adding these passing tones.
It makes the harmonies more interesting,
it makes the phrases come out in rhythm.
It makes the phrases come out more
logically, with logical resolutions.
It also doesn't sound like you're
playing a bunch of scales,
[LAUGH] which no one wants to listen to.
So these are some of these licks and
sometimes I'll sweep over them.
[SOUND] And that is very very easy
on the harmonica [SOUND] its four five and
six draw [SOUND] and seven blow [SOUND]
I'm trying to swing it a little
bit more for you here.
As long as you keep your embouchure firm,
you can sweep back and
forth over these things pretty easily.
I was just showing
you some faster
things that you
probably can't
play right away.
But the more you listen to jazz
recordings the more the stuff
will become within your grasp.
And of course there are more
complicated harmonies you can play.
As the chords get changed around and
made more elaborate
you have to follow these chords.
So if the 2,5,1,
has a flatted fifth and it
and the flatted ninth in the five
and then
flat 13
when you're actually playing jazz in
the real world,
piano players and guitarists,
they will just naturally shape
these chord progressions
to include some of these
more extended voicings,
because they sound really beautiful and
logical and
as a harmonica player you have
to be able to hear these things.
That was just a two,
five, one, with a bunch
of more elaborate chords built in.
So, for example,
another thing that people might do
[SOUND] is play runs that require
you to play a diminished scale.
This gets into
some of the really hip
jazz voicings that started
coming into vogue in
the late bebop era,
people like Miles Davis and
John Coltrane played on these.
And I'll just teach you what
a diminished scale is, just what it is.
It goes, it follows
the diminished seventh arpeggio so
if I do the diminished seventh
arpeggio from F, for example.
You're all minor thirds.
They don't need any overblows, overdraws.
And if you see a thing that says
F diminished seventh chord, you can play.
But in jazz,
the diminished chord quite often
is used over a different kind of chord.
It's used over a G7th chord,
with a flat 9,
a sharp 9, the third,
the sharp 11, and the 13th.
[SOUND] This is a very common
sound in jazz
and then it resolves to the one.
So, some of two five ones will
use this diminished cord.
This diminished scale, some of them
are going to use the altered scale,
which is related very closely to it.
Which is
one flat, two flat, three, three sharp,
fourth, and instead of five,
six, flat seven, eight.
It's a seven note scale,
unlike the diminished scale,
which an eight note symmetrical scale.
This one is.
It goes over what's
called the G7 flat 13.
It's a flat
So there's a lot to learn in two five
ones, and
I recommend if you maybe you might wanna
find some jazz books that
discuss more of these patterns.
Or just use your ears because
they're everywhere in jazz.
And listen to the best players playing.
Listen to all the great bebop players and
the great jazz soloists from the 1940s,
60s and even to the modern day cuz the two
five one progression is still there.
It's never gone away.
It's never gonna go away.
So what I'm going to do now,
is I'm going to play two five ones for
Going down in whole steps,
because a lot of times in more
complicated jazz tunes
these tunes, sometimes,
will move around, like
They'll go through a few
different keys of two five ones.
And so this is just a little
theoretical exercise and then,
I'm gonna play along with a backing track
of a tune that uses two five one's going
down in three whole steps.
So if they go down in whole steps,
it's Dminor, to G7 to Cmajor7.
And then it's C minor 7,
F7, B flat major 7.
B flat minor 7, E flat 7, A flat major 7.
A flat minor 7.
D flat 7.
G flat major 7.
F sharp minor 7.
B 7, E major 7.
E minor 7, A 7, D major 7.
And then we're back at D.
So these go down in whole steps.
Falling What's called the whole tone
scale, but
you don't need to know that now, but
these type of jazz progressions are very,
very common in tons of tunes.
And they usually, these two,
five ones going down in whole steps, or
going up in whole steps,
usually it's going down.
You'll find them as main material or
a bridge in many jazz tunes.
So if you practice this
when these tunes come up,
it's something you'll be prepared for.
You'll say I know this,
i've practiced these licks.
So i'm just going to play these two five
one licks, some of the ones i've shown
you, some ones that i'll just come
up with off the top of my head.
And each two five one repeats so
I'm going to get more than one shot at it.
So I gave you some examples of
some different kinds of two, five,
one licks in different keys.
I didn't play the same one in every key.
It's up to you to try
to find some of these.
Try to find maybe some
melodies of your own, and
you'll discover that these chord changes
have sort of a pull of gravity about them.
They're so logical.
Okay, Now, we're gonna do the next
bunch of 2-5-1's, and
those are the ones that start from D flat.
Because we've gone through the keys of C,
B flat, A flat, G flat or
F sharp, E, and D.
And there are six keys left.
[LAUGH] It's funny how that is.
If you go in whole steps,
you run through six keys.
In the whole tone scale there's
only two whole tone scales.
And then you start a half step higher and
you run through the other six keys.
So we're gonna start on D
flat which sounds like this.
a sound your gonna
hear next.