Gerhard’s “blog” on music theory, guitar playing etc.

 

01.04.2010 Gerhard’s Licktionary J

It is important to have a bag of licks to play in various situations. Preferable you should develop your own licks, but also learing the standard licks is important. The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine say the following about licks and patterns: You should practice licks and patterns to get your fingers, bran, and eyes all in synch, so that you are comfortable in as wide a range of musical situations as possible. Licks and patterns should become part of your musical unconscious, kind of like an inner library you can draw upon. .... Your goal should be to develop musical ideas of your own, or, invernt your own licks.

Licks and patterns will always be played more on up tempo tunes, because the mind doesn't have much time to think and the fingers rely on what is known and secure. ...... try not to use them exclusively as your solo.

 

A lot of well known players recommend writing down your own licks (Joe Diorio, Carl Verheyen etc). My friend Randalljazz puts it this way:

I write all kinds of things out:  lines over harmonic formulae, lines that fit in tunes, chord voicings and sequences of chords, often for specific tunes.  I date them and indicate what it developed from/where it fits (who I stole it from).  I write them out in different keys if the finger patterns need to be changed to accommodate them (only have 12 practical frets).In addition I make notes on how chords work in multiple instances (e.g. the half diminished on the fifth of a chord is the rootless b9sus).Wish I could remember everything, but ideas come faster than I'm able to drill them sufficiently to internalize them. Michael Brecker kept extensive notebooks of his ideas.  Sure like to see that!

 

In my opinion it would be great to see Randalljazz book of licks too ;)

 

Here’s a few of my licks:

 

http://www.gerhard.ersdal.com/Diverse/JGB Licktionary.JPG

 

This is a dorian scale type of lick that I really like. I picked it up from a guitar mag, I think, but I probably have changed it around a bit since the original. It started out as a picking exercise for me, but it is in fact useful as a lick also… if you want a slightly odd thing in there. E.g. as the last thing you do in D dorian before moving to Eb dorian in "So what". Build up some tension.

 

http://www.gerhard.ersdal.com/Diverse/Dorian lick.JPG

 

Here is a great Bireli Lagrene turnaround lick:

http://www.gerhard.ersdal.com/Diverse/Birelli Lagrene lick.JPG

 

 

A good turnaround lick inspired by Joe Pass.

http://www.gerhard.ersdal.com/Diverse/Joe Pass inspired turnaround.JPG

 

 

 

17.01.2010 Guide tones for improvisation

I’ve been working on and off with Ed Byrne’s concept of improvisation (Linear Jazz Improvisation) for a while, and did an attempt to write the guide tones for “Cry me a river”. A transcript of Barney Kessels comping (in E minor rather than C minor unfortunately, since my guide tones are in C minor) on this tune can be found at http://www.stuntzner.brent.org/Transcriptions.html. My own suggestion for comping of the same tune is here.

 

16.01.2010 Comping jazz style

 

I’ve been quite interested in “How to comp” jazz style for a while now, and I have taken lots of notes while studying. A question at www.jazzguitar.be reminded me that I had a mind-map of these notes, and I posted that.

 

http://www.gerhard.ersdal.com/Filer/Comping 091206.gif

 

A bit extra on jazz comping

 

The books I have looked include (the first two being the ones that has gotten the most attention):

-          Andrew Green – Jazz guitar comping

-          Bret Willmott – Complete book of harmony, theory and voicing

-          Hal Crook – How to comp

-          Eddie Arkin – Creative Chord Substitutions

-          R. Rawlins & N.E. Bahha - Jazzology

The “rules” for jazz comping

As far as I have concluded, the following items are important in jazz comping:

-          The obvious first item is that in jazz comping the guitarist seldom play on the exact same chord for a whole bar, and not at all if the chord is held for several bars. In order to create variation and movement several different voicings to the same chord and adding extensions to the chord will normally be used.

-          Chord substitutions are also a possible way of creating variation and movement.

-          Voice leading is defined as the stepwise movement of notes from one chord to the next within the chord progression. Voice leading is another important item to create movement in the comping. The upper voice movement is an important part of the voice leading, and the strongest upper voice movements are the common tone approach and the chromatic approach. A voicing should not move with more than b3 intervall (Hal Crook).

-          Another way of creating variation and movement is by using harmonized scales or diatonic substitutions. Essentially these are much of the same IMO, but harmonized scales are often quartal chords and diatonic substitutions are standard 7th block chords. In both cases it has to do with determining the scale appropriate to the chord (or in fact, listen to the one improvising and use the same scale as he/she is using) and play various (quartal or block) chords diatonic in that scale.

-          Chord changes are best sounding when they have a minimum of movement. Keeping the common tones in two chords is preferred. E.g. ½ step and whole step moves are better than larger movements.

-          An important element of the voicings and extensions is to create tension to set up the next chord. A chromatic ½ step change of individual notes in the voicing from one chord to another is possibly the strongest movement. This is typically created by choice of chord voicings, chord extensions or by passing chords.

-          A great method for creating movement from one chord to the next is by using passing chords (passing chord is normally held only for one beat on typically the forth of the bar). Example of passing chords:

o   Substitute dominants, e.g. tritone substitutes – C7 – p(Gb7) – F7.

o   Parallel chromatic chords, e.g. Bb7 – p(A7-Ab7) – G7 and Cm7 – p(C#m7) – Dm7

-          Chord substitution used as something close to a passing chord, but typically held for a bit longer than the normal passing chord (50-50 rule: set up the approaching chords halfway between the original chord and chord of resolution):

o   Diatonic chords, e.g |Cmaj7 | Dm7-Em7 | Fmaj7 |

o   Circle motion, e.g. | D7 | G7-C7 | F7 |

o   ii-V7 set up, | Cmaj7 | Gm7-C7 | Fmaj7

o   Secondary dominants, e.g. | Cmaj7 | D7 | G7

 

Terms like substitutions and reharmonization seem to mean very much the same to me. Chord extensions are often also called substitutions or reharmonizations, and also passing chords are often called substitutions or reharmonizations. A description of these that I found and liked:

-          Embellishment: Keeping the same chord, but adding extensions to spice up the chord. Does not change the chord.

-          Substitution: Using a different chord instead of the written one, but keeping the harmony of the chord. Should work without telling the rest of the band what you are doing, they should be able to play as if you didn’t substitute.

-          Reharmonisation: Using a different chord instead of the written on, and changing the harmony of the chord. This have to be agreed with the rest of the band, and new changes needs to be written out for the tune.

 

Chord substitutions

Eddie Arkin in “Creative Chord substitutions for jazz guitar” indicate that chord substitutions as a general heading has to main divisions:

-          Diatonic substitutions

-          Chromatic substitutions

These are further divided into:

-          Diatonic substitutions

o   Chord enrichment – adding extensions that belong to the chord that belong to the underlying scale (mode).

o   Common tone substitutions  - substituting with chords with common tones from the scale, as Cmaj7 for Em7 or Am7, Dm7 for Fmaj7, G7 for Bm7b5. Essentially this is the same as chord enrichment to me, especially if the bass stays at the same root note.

o   Added root movement – e.g. diatonic chord substitutions with circle motion. Example: |Cmaj7|Cmaj7|Dm7|G7| is substituted with |Cmaj7|Em7 Am7|Dm7…

o   Quartal harmony

-          Chromatic substitutions

o   Chord enrichments – adding extensions that does not come from the scale (altered stuff)

o   Secondary dominants, needs no explanation.

o   Common tone substitutions  - refers to common tone relationship between chords built from different scales.

o   Added root movement – e.g. non-diatonic chord substitutions with circle motion. The ii-V7 setup of a chord falls into this category in a |Cmaj7 | Gm7 C7b9 | Fmaj7 | progression.

o   Tritone substitution, needs no explanation.

o   Quartal harmony

 

22.12.2009 Rootless voicings

 

I found a very interesting source on rootless voicings on guitar, and I notated them in the way I like it. Luckily, the author Jeff Brent also liked it, so he added my contribution to his lesson (after careful proof reading). The original lesson and the result of my work can be found here:

 

Rootless Major 2-5-1 Jazz Chord Fingering Sequences

Jeff Brent's Rootless ii-V-I Guitar Chord Sequences in guitar grid format on WholeNote.com. The Bill Evans closed rootless ii-V-I chord voicing system for piano - revoiced open for jazz guitar. Special thanks to Randall Carlson and Brian Prunka for proofreading and suggestions.

 

Rootless Major 2-5-1 Jazz Chord Fingering Sequences (pdf- 9 pgs)

Same material as above, but formatted in standard music notation and tablature (pdf). Special thanks to Gerhard Ersdal for taking the time to put this together.

 

 

Rootless Minor 2-5-1 Jazz Chord Fingering Sequences

Jeff Brent's Rootless Minor ii7b5 - V7alt - im9 (or im69) Guitar Chord Sequences in guitar grid format on WholeNote.com. A continuation of the Evans' style rootless chord system for fingering ii-V-I progressions on guitar above.

 

Rootless Minor 2-5-1 Jazz Chord Fingering Sequences (pdf - 4 pgs)

Same material as above, but formatted in standard music notation and tab (pdf). Special thanks to Gerhard Ersdal for taking the time to put this notation/tab document together.

 

 

30.09.2009 Video of Gunnhild Seim

 

I was called to video photograph a live act by my friend Gunnhild Seim. Check it out:

Palindrom

Gigue

 

28.08.2009 Scott Henderson DVD – the missing table

 

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41T5-x0wghL._SS500_.jpg

 

I watched the Scott Henderson DVD on improvisation with great interest, but I really missed a table summing up the scale choices he suggested in the video. So – I made it myself.

 

 

 

Inside

Outside

Chord

Subdiv

Scale

Major Triads

Pentatonic (minor)

Arpeggios

Major scale

Major triads

Pentatonic (minor)

Arpeggios

Maj7

(Tonic)

w/ 11

Ionian

I, IV, V

VI, II, III

 

 

 

 

 

w/ #11

Lydian

I, II, V

VII

Imaj7

Vmaj7

bVm7b5

Lydian #5

 

III

bV

 

Minor

m7

Dorian

III, IV, VII

I, II, V

IIImaj7

Im7

IIm7

Vim7b5

Melodic minor, Locrian nat2,

Diminished

V

Dim triads:

II, IV

 

Im Maj7

m7b5

Locrian

Superlocrian

Locrian nat2

VII, bV, bVI

III, VI

Im7b5

 

 

 

 

Dom 7

Non alt

Mixolydian

Lydian b7

I, V, bVII

Augm triads: bV , b7, II

I (blues), II, V, VI

IIIm7b5

Vm maj7

bVm7b5

Whole tone

 

 

 

Alt w/ 13

bII dim

I, bIII, bV, VI

Dim triads:

bII, III, V, bVII

 

 

Lydian #9

 

 

VIIm maj7

Alt w / b13

Altered

 

Augm triads:

I, III, #V

I (blues), bIII, IV, bVII

bVIIm7b5

 

 

 

 

 

 

A great idea described in Scott Henderson DVD: If you're playing over a ii-V-I e.g. in C you can play A minor pentatonic over the Dm, Bb monor pentatonic over the G7 (from the altered scale), and then B minor pentatonic over the Cmajor7 (from the lydian scale). Another way to treat a ii-V-I is E minor pentatonic over the Dm, F minor pentatonic over the G7 (a lot of altered tones, but the C is not in the altered scale), and then E minor pentatonic over the Cmaj7. This way you may get used to the sound, and still be playing in familiar patterns. More ideas like this are mentioned in Chris Juergensen’s article on pentatonic scale uses, and in his book "The infinite guitar". Highly recommended!

 


And then I went further, and added some ideas from other sources:

 

 

Inside

Outside

Chord

Subdiv

Scale

Major Triads

Pentatonic (minor)

Arpeggios

Major scale

Major triads

Pentatonic (minor)

Arpeggios

Maj7

(Tonic)

w/ 11

Ionian

I, IV, V

VI, II, III

Imaj7

IIIm7

Vim7

Ionian #5

 

 

 

w/ #11

Lydian

I, II, V

VII

Imaj7

Vmaj7

bVm7b5

Lydian #5

 

III

bII, bIII, bVI

bV

 

Minor

m7

Dorian

III, IV, VII

I, II, V

IIImaj7

Im7

IIm7

Vim7b5

Melodic minor, Locrian nat2,

I diminished

bII whole tone

V

Dim triads:

II, IV

 

Im Maj7

m7b5

Locrian

Superlocrian

Locrian nat2

VII, bV, bVI

III, VI

Im7b5

 

 

 

 

Dom 7

Non alt

Mixolydian

Lydian b7

Dorian

I, V, bVII

Augm triads: bV , b7, II

I (blues), II, V, VI

IIIm7b5

Vm maj7

bVm7b5

Whole tone

 

 

 

Alt w/ 13

bII dim

/dom dim[1]

I, bIII, bV, VI

Dim triads:

bII, III, V, bVII

 

bV7 (tritone)

Lydian #9

Phrygian nat6

 

 

VIIm maj7

Alt w / b13

Altered

Whole tone

 

Augm triads:

I, III, #V

I (blues), bIII, IV, bVII

bVIIm7b5

bV7 (tritone)

Mixolydian b6

 

 

 

 

 

Also adding the minorizing idea of Pat Martino (for the inside choices):

 

 

 

Inside

Chord

Subdiv

Scale

Major Triads

Pentatonic (minor)

Arpeggios

Minorising

Maj7

(Tonic)

w/ 11

Ionian

I, IV, V

VI, II, III

Imaj7

IIIm7

Vim7

II Dorian

w/ #11

Lydian

I, II, V

VII

Imaj7

Vmaj7

bVm7b5

VI Dorian

Minor

m7

Dorian

III, IV, VII

I, II, V

IIImaj7

Im7

IIm7

Vim7b5

I Dorian

m7b5

Locrian

Superlocrian

Locrian nat2

VII, bV, bVI

III, VI

Im7b5

bIII Dorian

Dom 7

Non alt

Mixolydian

Lydian b7

Dorian

I, V, bVII

Augm triads: bV , b7, II

I (blues), II, V, VI

IIIm7b5

Vm maj7

bVm7b5

V Dorian (Mixolydian)

V Melodic (Lydian b7)

 

 

Alt w/ 13

bII dim

/dom dim[2]

I, bIII, bV, VI

Dim triads:

bII, III, V, bVII

 

bV7 (tritone)

bII minor

III minor

V minor

bVII minor

Alt w / b13

Altered

Whole tone

 

Augm triads:

I, III, #V

I (blues), bIII, IV, bVII

bVIIm7b5

bV7 (tritone)

 

 

 

Guitar Techniques June 2002 Minorising:

bVII Dorian (Phrygian)

bII Dorian (b2-b3-3-b5-b6-b7-7)

bIII Dorian (Locrian)

bV Dorian (b2-b3-3-b5-b6-bb7-7)

bVI Dorian (b2-b3-4-b5-b6-b7-7)

 

bVII Melodic (Dorian b2)

bII Melodic (Superlocrian)

bIII Melodic (Locrian nat 2)

bV Melodic (b2-b3-4-5-b6-b7-7)

bVI Melodic (b2-b3-4-5-b6-b7-7)

 

I have to tidy this up, but not today ;-)

 

27.5.2009 A quick reference to the modes

 

The chords (7th) of the scale are given with each note of the scale as basis, and the extensions that will suite the scale is given in parenthesis. Next the scale is listed, and finally the name. Names of the scales will in some cases differ from different sources. I tried to use the most common ones in this quick reference. G7/Ab scale is not a common name for the Phrygian nat3, but it indicates that the chord tones of the G7 and the Ab chord gives you the scale - and I like such simplicity. I've probably done a few typing errors, so if there is something that does not look right, please let me know and I will correct it.

 

Major scale: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8             

C         C maj7 (9th, 11th, 13th)                    C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C                C Ionian

D         Dm7  (9th, 11th, 13th)                       D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D                Dorian

E         Em7 (b9th, 11th, b13th)                    E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E                 Phrygian

F          F maj7 (9th, #11th, 13th)                   F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F                 Lydian

G         G7    (9th, 11th, 13th)                        G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G                Mixolydian

A         Am7 (9th, 11th, b13th)                      A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A                Aeolian

B         Bm7-5 (b9th, 11th, b13th)                 B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B                Locrian

 

Melodic minor:           1-2-b3-4-5-6-7-8                   

C         Cm maj7 (9th, 11th, 13th)                 C-D-Eb-F-G-A-B-C              C melodic minor

D         Dm7 (b9th, 11th, 13th)                      D-Eb-F-G-A-B-C-D              Dorian b2

Eb       Eb+5 maj7 (9th, #11th, 13th)            Eb-F-G-A-B-C-D-Eb             Lydian Augmented

F          F7 (b9th, #11th, 13th)                        F-G-A-B- C-D-Eb-F              Lydian b7

G         G7   (9th, 11th, b13th)                       G-A-B- C-D-Eb-F-G             Mixolydian b6

A         Am7-5 (9th, 11th, b13th)                  A-B- C-D-Eb- F-G-A            Locrian nat2

B         Bm7-5(b9th,b/#11th,b13th)               B- C-D-Eb- F-G-A-B            Superlocrian, Altered over B7Alt

 

 

Harmonic minor:        1-2-b3-4-5-b6-7-8                 

C         Cm maj7 (9th, 11th, b13th)               C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-B-C C         harmonic minor

D         Dm7-5 (b9th, 11th, 13th)                  D-Eb-F-G-Ab-B-C-D            Locrian Nat 6

Eb       Eb+5 maj7 (9th, 11th, 13th)              Eb-F-G-Ab-B-C-D-Eb           Ionian #5

F          Fm7 (9th, #11th, 13th)                      F-G-Ab-B- C-D-Eb-F            Dorian #4

G         G7 (b9th, 11th, b13th)                       G-Ab-B- C-D-Eb-F-G           Phrygian Nat3, G7/Ab scale

Ab       Ab maj7 (#9th,# 11th, 13th)              Ab-B- C-D-Eb- F-G-Ab        Lydian #2

B         B dim (b9th, b11th, b13th)                B- C-D-Eb- F-G-Ab-B          Altered bb7

 

17.04.2009 Balanced practicing

 

A discussion on what to practice on guitar made me note down a bit on what I think is a few good points about what is my opinion on balanced practicing. I can’t promise that this is what I do, but more in the area of what I would like to say I was doing. Hopefully there is a bit of stuff that can be of value.

 

http://www.gerhard.ersdal.com/Filer/Balanced practicing m links.gif

 

 

Additional reading can be found here (just in case you wonder, it is not something I have written).

 

08.01.2009 Video from a gig

 

Not exactly high quality video, but at least it is a video of me on stage: Footprints.

 

14.08.2008 Improvisation

 

My notes from reading Hal Crook’s book “How to improvise”.

 

http://www.gerhard.ersdal.com/Filer/Improvising4.gif

 

 

30.12.2005 Guitar Techniques

 

I contributed to John Jumper's Guitar calendar for daily exercises. These are collected in this pdf document.

 

 

Additional stuff

 

If you want to hear some music, you are welcome to listen to a few of my own creations and arrangements:

            B.C. – a tune I wrote when I was interested in Country music (Gatton, Hellcasters etc)

BOHICA or Reorganisation, a song I wrote during my company's reorganisation a few years ago
Camels, a song I wrote in 1987
An jazzy guitar arrangement of Silent Night
An arrangement of Silent Night with cluster chords



Occasionally you’ll find me at:
http://www.ibreathemusic.com/img/ibrm_large_468x60.gif

 

http://www.jazzguitar.be/forum/

 

http://forums.allaboutjazz.com/index.php


Check em' out!



[1] 1-b2-b3-3-#4-5-6-b7

[2] 1-b2-b3-3-#4-5-6-b7