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IMPROVISATION

Combining Mixolydian & Minor Pentatonic

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PZj1AXCyL4

By Andrew Wasson Visit: www.creativeguitarstudio.com

SECTION ONE:

Understanding Mixolydian & Minor Pentatonic Color Tones

INTERVALS PLAY A PRINCIPLE ROLE IN BLENDING SCALES:

The interesting blend of tones generated when we are able to layer Mixolydian with the Minor Pentatonic has a lot to do with the appearance of unique intervals. The combined use of these scales allows us to have at our disposal two different 3rd intervals. They are the; Major 3rd, as well as, the Minor 3rd.

This blended 3rd interval sound is used extensively in many musical styles like; rock, blues, soul, funk, jazz, and even country & western music. However, since the application of these layered interval sounds with the Ma & Mi 3rd have their roots in blues, it is very important to realize that the swing, or shuffle feel, will play an important role along-side of their initial use. Application of the swing /shuffle feel will be especially helpful to new users in the early days of practicing the blending of these Major & Minor third colors.

In the video, (as well as within this handout), I get things started with this combined scale use explanation by examining a few diagrams of how these two scales overlay their intervals on the guitar neck. This is very important since with scale practice, (and the rehearsal of all kinds of fret-board shapes), comes with it the study of intervals. The overlay of these two scales offers us two different scale types, (major & minor quality). This unique blending of tonalities can generate a good deal of unique colors and sounds. Once the use of each color generating interval is understood, (and they are able to be controlled melodically), improvising and song writing with the combined scales will become easier to do.

The success we’ll have, (and the speed of developing that success), when learning to implement those blended tonal sounds often comes down to how well we known & understand musical intervals. So, whether we want to use more minor & major 3rd’s, or perhaps we enjoy the sounds of a Major 6th, or maybe a minor 7th, once we know our intervals, we can control how our solos and our melodies interact far better. And, hopefully the knowledge of intervals will make the music that we create both occur faster & easier, and sound better as well.

make the music that we create both occur faster & easier, and sound better as well.

© Creative Guitar Studio 2013

Combining Mixolydian & Minor Pentatonic

Page (2)

SECTION TWO:

The Visual Overlay of the Scales upon the Guitar Neck

The overlay of both Mixolydian Mode and the Minor Pentatonic generates a number of unique scale tones. Knowing and understanding the interval relationships of the combined notes is essential to developing the unique colors that are possible through the combined use of these notes. See the example below

Figure 1). A typical 5th position, “A Minor,” Pentatonic scale. Degrees: 1, b3, 4, 5, b7, 8.

Minor,” Pentatonic scale. Degrees: 1, b3, 4, 5, b7, 8. Figure 2). The “A Mixolydian,” mode

Figure 2). The “A Mixolydian,” mode in 5th position. Degrees: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7, 8.

mode in 5th position. Degrees: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7, 8. Figure 3). The

Figure 3). The combined overlay of both scales in the 5th position.

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7, 8. Figure 3). The combined overlay of both scales in
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7, 8. Figure 3). The combined overlay of both scales in

© Creative Guitar Studio 2013

Combining Mixolydian & Minor Pentatonic

Page (3)

SECTION THREE:

Application Studies of Blending the Minor Pentatonic & Mixolydian

In the initial group of examples I place my focus upon demonstrating the blending that is possible with the combination of the Minor pentatonic scale shape, over-top of the Mixolydian mode. This blend is a very cool sound that can work for many different musical situations.

In example #1), I’ve put together a great way to start blending these ideas. It will involve simply starting with a Minor Pent. phrase and then ending into a Mixolydian phrase.

Example #1). Practice the Minor Pentatonic to Mixolydian blending exercise given below.

P = 120 ( PP C P D P R )
P = 120 ( PP C P D P R )

A7

P V V V V V g V 4 V V V z g V
P
V
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V
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g
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4
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z
g
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I 4
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3
Full
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8
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B

P P

In my next example, I’ll be working through more of a melody line, rather than a, “Guitar Lick.” This melody leans toward the Mixolydian mode, and only injects a small melodic phrase from Minor Pentatonic that is barely noticeable to the listener. The melody is in the, “A 7th tonality.” The Minor Pentatonic idea shows up only briefly in measures 3 &4.

Example #2). Practice the blended scale melody idea given below.

A7

I

j

k V

u

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V

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c

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7 5

 

5 7

 

4 (4)

    4 5 7 7   7 5   5 7   4 (4) 7

7

 

B

   

7

5 (5)

3 4 7

   
 

sl.

 

sl.

5

(5)

    7 5 (5) 3 4 7       sl.   sl. 5 (5)

© Creative Guitar Studio 2013

Combining Mixolydian & Minor Pentatonic

Page (4)

SECTION THREE cont

In example #3, I’ve set up a longer phrase, that weaves back & forth between these scales with a very strong lean-toward the Minor Pentatonic sound at the beginning of the phrase.

The appearance of the Mixolydian scale is only done so by way of minimal note selection, primarily through the use of Mixolydians’ unique Major Third tone. In this melodic example, the phrasing is done over a situation of, “B Dominant 7th Tonality.”

The Minor Pentatonic that I have applied, will be off of the root of the, “B.” This will give us a, “B Minor Pentatonic Scale,” for the creation of melody. One last thing that is important to mention is how these lines are predominantly of the 16th-note rhythmic duration, and the phrases in this example will be fairly quick to develop. So, it is therefore important to remember to take your time in learning how to play these phrases accurately.

NOTE: There is a backing track for the practice of this example that was included with the download of this PDF handout. After developing an awareness for this study on your guitar neck, use the backing track to perfect the part.

Example #3). Practice the R&B style Mixolydian /Minor Pentatonic blending melody below.

P = 100 B7 E7 B7 V V g V V g V V V
P
= 100
B7
E7
B7
V
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sl.
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8 9 9 11 11 8 8 8 9 9 11 A 7 9 9 9

© Creative Guitar Studio 2013

Combining Mixolydian & Minor Pentatonic

Page (5)

SECTION THREE cont

In my final example, I have composed a rock progression using the sounds of the, “E Dominant Tonality.” The riff applies both E Minor Pentatonic sounds, as well as, notes from the, “E Mixolydian Mode.”

Use the base-melody shown in example #4, to develop some chops. This progression has been released on my, GuitarBlogUpDate,” YouTube Channel. The title of this jam-track is, E Mixolydian - Jam Track 008.” When you get a chance to start jamming on this track, be sure to work at applying both the, “E Minor Pentatonic,” as well as, the “E Mixolydian Mode.”

The melodic idea below works along-side of this backing track. So, be sure to practice this melody to help achieve a few initial ideas that should help you with a jump-start into the use of these scale over this rock style jam.

NOTE: The backing track for the practice of this example was not included with the download of this PDF handout. Click here to listen and use the track posted on YouTube. The direct link is also given for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Cg4G_CCBxM

Example #4). Rock style Mixolydian Jam in the tonality of, “E.” Study the melody given below to help you get things rolling with this sound.

(E)

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sl.
sl.
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© Creative Guitar Studio 2013

Combining Mixolydian & Minor Pentatonic

Page (6) - Video Opening Guitar Jam

by Andrew Wasson P = 120 ( PP C P D P R ) A7
by Andrew Wasson
P = 120 ( PP C P D P R )
A7
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© Creative Guitar Studio 2013

Combining Mixolydian & Minor Pentatonic

Page (7) - Video Opening Guitar Jam

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(3)
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Thank you for your donations & Generous Support - Andrew Wasson

© Creative Guitar Studio 2013