1. #1

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    Hahahahahaha I know I know I know... click-baity af.

    But I'm actually not really joking. I've been committed to seeing how far I can take triads since I studied and played with Stefon Harris back through 2015 and learned all about how he uses triads and adds individual tension notes to them.

    Over the next few years I've played around with all sorts of ways to expand on that concept and to translate all of that piano construction onto the fretboard.

    Maybe 6-12 months ago I started playing around with this little "trick". It seems almost to simple to yield anything worthwhile, but I keep coming back to it and falling in love with the sounds more and more. It really gets an almost pianistic quality to the harmony... with inner voice movement and forward moving linear ideas happening inside of each chord as well as contrary and oblique motion that we don't often find so easily in standard guitar approaches to harmony.

    I made a really quick video lesson about it and thought you all might dig it.


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  3. #2

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    I call this type of comping "story telling with harmony"

    Few people get it, Jordan--I love it.

    You can be incredibly interactive with everyone that you're playing with when you use triads and dyads and build off of them.

    Thing is, a lot of jazz musicians (not just guitarists) like to hear that traditional drop voicing stuff. I think the real beauty happens when you learn to mix them all together, you get different harmonic densities and it sounds real rich. But grip playing is easier than playing with triads, at least from the get go.

    I just had a lesson where all we covered was basic triads and how to alter them to create harmonic movement. Pure gold.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by jordanklemons View Post
    Hahahahahaha I know I know I know... click-baity af.

    But I'm actually not really joking. I've been committed to seeing how far I can take triads since I studied and played with Stefon Harris back through 2015 and learned all about how he uses triads and adds individual tension notes to them.

    Over the next few years I've played around with all sorts of ways to expand on that concept and to translate all of that piano construction onto the fretboard.

    Maybe 6-12 months ago I started playing around with this little "trick". It seems almost to simple to yield anything worthwhile, but I keep coming back to it and falling in love with the sounds more and more. It really gets an almost pianistic quality to the harmony... with inner voice movement and forward moving linear ideas happening inside of each chord as well as contrary and oblique motion that we don't often find so easily in standard guitar approaches to harmony.

    I made a really quick video lesson about it and thought you all might dig it.






    So essentially take triads built off upper structures of the chord progressions, have a tension note that creates movement (I remember discussing with you how you choose the extra note, practicing adding them to chord tones, as well as the “melodic progressions”) borrowed from that substitution,

    this example was,

    over ii, play vi (add2),

    over V play III (2-1 suspensionish thing, sounds very nice btw)

    over I play iii (4-3 suspensionish thing)


    .......


    Do you find the added tension note is always diatonic to the original key (even though you are thinking about it as it relates to your substitution?)


    Any other favorites you share would great. The results certainly outweigh the modest triad beginnings. Take care.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    I call this type of comping "story telling with harmony"

    Few people get it, Jordan--I love it.

    You can be incredibly interactive with everyone that you're playing with when you use triads and dyads and build off of them.

    Thing is, a lot of jazz musicians (not just guitarists) like to hear that traditional drop voicing stuff. I think the real beauty happens when you learn to mix them all together, you get different harmonic densities and it sounds real rich. But grip playing is easier than playing with triads, at least from the get go.

    I just had a lesson where all we covered was basic triads and how to alter them to create harmonic movement. Pure gold.
    Nice.. who was the lesson with?

    I'm all for mixing and matching. In my melodic triad system, the entire process actually starts out with 5/6 note voicings developed from a piano construction method which takes advantage of the idea of putting a shell voicing in the "left hand" with a triad in the "right". I actually posted a long form video breaking down the exact dominant chord/triad relationship in this video showing some ear training ideas, the big, dense, piano chords, and some basic melody ideas the other day on the forum which you can find here if you're curious.

    The next harmonic step for me is to sculpt that down to 4 note voicings where I still keep the triad on top, but I narrow down the "shell voicing" to one note. There are other ways to get to 4 note voicings using melodic triads... but this is my favorite as it emphasizes the triad which brings all sorts of musical and guitaristic benefits. These are really similar to the more traditional drop voicings, but still a bit different. I'll invert the triad, but I always attempt to keep the triad on the top and the "shell note" underneath as I find it gives a sense of homogeny to all of the inversions, so they all have a similar emotional vibe... and it ensures that the top note will always be a stable melodic tone.

    So for this chord progression, I might do something like

    E-7 (Bmin/G)
    XX5(777)

    A7 (F#/G)
    xx5(676)

    DMaj7 (F#min/D)
    x5x(675)

    That gives me anywhere from 6 down to 4 notes which yields a good bit of different layers of density... but all still while looking at the same basic triad shapes. And because everything is based around the triad, we could combine these "moving" triads with the 4 note voicings I just mentioned if we wanted a thicker sound while still maintaining that inner voice movement.

    The liquid harmony I mentioned in the video is one of the ways I'll yield 3 note voicings... again... all still looking at the same exact triad shapes. Another way which is a little more advanced and offers less possibility for easy inner voice movement is to use the 4 note ideas (triad plus the tension note) and simply leave out one note yielding 4 different inversions where each is missing a different note. This is an exciting sound to my ear as something is always disappearing or appearing with each inversion, rather than just jumbling up the notes in a different order.

    So it might give something like (gonna try to mix and match some different options here)

    E-7
    0x577(9-7) <- showing movement on a string... in this case, Bminor with the tension 2 resolving back to the root

    A7
    x05676 <- triad over 4th note... with the root below that
    xxx11.8.9 <- quick run with the 4 note structures... each missing a note
    xxx676
    xx868x
    xx537x
    xx868x

    DMaj7#11#9
    xx66(7-6)x - let ring...
    10.9xxxx

    Kind of a hodge-podge of practical applications going on... but each one is based around some type of use of the basic triad and sometime incorporating the shell voicing or basic chord tones underneath it. And those 3 note voicing ideas can be dwindled down to dyads to which makes things very exciting for me. To be able to get voicings ranging from 2 notes up to 5/6 notes without having to think different about anything. Really helps me create a cohesive quality to my playing. Bring in triad pairs and a few other melodic triads techniques and the options start to become scary!

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
    So essentially take triads built off upper structures of the chord progressions, have a tension note that creates movement (I remember discussing with you how you choose the extra note, practicing adding them to chord tones, as well as the “melodic progressions”) borrowed from that substitution,

    this example was,

    over ii, play vi (add2),

    over V play III (2-1 suspensionish thing, sounds very nice btw)

    over I play iii (4-3 suspensionish thing)
    Hey man... good to see you again. Been a while.

    Yeah, your analysis works. I tend to think more chord to chord, and less about the key... so I don't think of the melodic progression based on its home key like you wrote out. It's correct, I just think one chord at a time, as some of the more modern stuff doesn't always function in such a diatonic way. So the ii chord, I think of that triad as being v... not vi. Etc. But whatever works works.






    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
    Do you find the added tension note is always diatonic to the original key (even though you are thinking about it as it relates to your substitution?)
    Again, similar to my point about your analysis being spot on but just a little different from how I think... same thing here. Generally speaking, yes... but not 100% when we deal with altered or half-whole style dominants. My main focus with the PRIMARY tension note (because we can use quite a number of them) is to find the note that BEST defines the chord we're working on without disturbing the melodic triad itself. Generally speaking, it will be a 3rd or a 7th of the chord... but not always.

    The easiest of the examples listed above is the dominant. F# major triad already has the 3rd of the A7... C#. So we can't use that. The G note is the 7th... so that's the primary. The purpose of the primary tension note is BOTH to create melodic tension and movement, as well as to tie the triad inside of the chord so it doesn't sound alien to it and to help us imply the actual harmony.

    But there are other options for this chord. In my system, at a certain point, we build a 6 note bebop scale from the triad by inserting a tension note in between each triad note to give us a STRONG - weak - STRONG - weak - STRONG - weak feel based on the triad. Later we can turn it into a 9 note and a 12 note bebop scale... but that's a whole other thing.

    The basic bebop scale for this chord is

    F# - G - A# - B# - C#- E - F#

    In terms of linear movement based on the A triad, that's all going to feel and behave like

    R - b2 - 3 - #11 - 5 - b7

    But obviously it gives us the harmonic chord tones of

    13 - b7 - b9 - #9 - 3 - 5 - 13

    So any of those 3 tension notes could work for this. But obviously the #9 is going to imply the sound of the dominant with less clarity than the 3rd will.

    A13b9 - liquid harmony "chord scale" run
    xxx67(8-6)
    xx86(8-7)x
    xx43(5-2)
    x44(5-3)xx
    64(5-4)xxx
    resolve to D major

    If you got rid of the tension notes, you'd literally just be moving through the basic inversions of the F# major triad, but instead we get that ^^^

    The b7 of the chord is the primary tension note because it really makes it obvious that we're playing with an A7 chord. But we could just as easily take advantage of the tension #4, the D# note. This gives us the #11 of the dominant. But to come full circle to your question, it's also not diatonic to the key.

    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
    Any other favorites you share would great. The results certainly outweigh the modest triad beginnings. Take care.
    Man, I wouldn't even know where to begin. So many favorites. Every one of these "tonalities" that I explore becomes a favorite. They're all so unique. This month in our study group we're looking at all the things possible with this particular dominant chord. Like for example, here's the 12 note bebop scale that we can derive by focusing on the triad and adding 3 passing notes between each triad tone (this is a C7, so if you look at each downbeat, you'll see a note from the A major triad).
    Easiest Jazz Hack for Advanced Comping-bebop-jpg

    Next month we're digging into the Major triad a whole step below a minor7 chord. So Bb major over C-7. Such a beautiful sound.

    In E- we get stuff like
    0xx11.8.10
    0xx775
    0x778x
    0.10.7.11xx
    0.9.5.7xx

    Or D major triad tension 4.

    Another one I love is that little "hip" chord I played at the end of my example. That was a DMaj7#11#9... which is a C# triad over DMaj7 and I'm using tension 4. Tension 4 of C# is F#... the 3rd of DMaj. So effectively the 3rd of the D major chord gets turned into a melodic tension note that wants to pull down and resolve to the #9.

    There's so many. I could go on for days with this stuff. It's really a never ending ocean to explore.

  7. #6
    Oh btw vintage... I forgot to mention... it doesn't HAVE to be upper structure triads. I use root structure all the time too. In fact, at one point in the video example, I used an E minor triad over the E-7 chord. I switched from E minor to B minor... but that's not necessary.

    It could be root structure or upper structure... and as someone gets more comfortable with the idea and the execution, multiple triads could be used and voice lead through, along with the tension notes, to create an even greater sense of movement and complexity.

  8. #7

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    Cool stuff man. I will revisit the thread shortly with a guitar.

    Take care.

  9. #8

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    One question: how do explain the F# major triad over A7? As a b9 alteration?

    EDIT: Never mind, I see you did a separate thread today.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett View Post
    One question: how do explain the F# major triad over A7? As a b9 alteration?

    EDIT: Never mind, I see you did a separate thread today.
    No worries at all. If you saw the other thread, I guess that answers it. It's a go-to triad/chord relationship I use. The 13b9 is one of my favorite dominant sounds. So lush.