Triad Based Improvisation
Welcome to this lesson on minor improvisation using triad shapes. It’s important to understand that ‘improvising using triad shapes’ doesn’t mean that we have to exclusively play the notes of the triad, but rather we are using the triad shape as a framework around which we construct our improvised melodies.
Minor Scale Similarities
An interesting point before getting started is that the first 5 notes of all of the minor scales are the same 5 notes. The natural minor, harmonic minor, melodic minor – all start with the same 5 notes.
Based on this analysis, these 5 notes are important for us both to be able to visualise, and to create melodies with. The other notes of the scale – which are the 6th and 7th notes – are the ‘flexible notes’ that we can add to create different colours and flavours above the core minor sound.
6 Step Improvisation Framework
After analysing the minor scale we then introduce a 6 step improvisation framework for creating beautiful improvised melodies over any minor chord:
- Start with just the triad
- Add the 4 or 11 to the basic triad
- Add the 2 or 9 to the basic triad
- Introduce bigger intervals such as 4ths, 5ths, and 6ths.
- Decorate the melody with turns and grace notes
- Practice leaving space to let your improvised melodies breath
In the next lesson we are will introduce the other flavours which are the melodic minor flavour, the harmonic minor flavour, and we will touch upon blues scale improvisation.
We will also extend the triad improvisation principle and apply it to the 251 progressions in the A section which are a 251 in D minor, and a 251 in F major.