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In this Jazz Hero Masterclass I explain several techniques you can use to embellish any melody.
Identify the resolution notes of the chord that you’re playing – these will always be the root, the 3rd and the 5th (1 3 5) of whatever the chord is. Only these notes will sound resolved where they are. So if there’s a C minor chord in the chord sheet, the notes that will sound resolved are C Eb G (1 3 5 of C minor). All other notes in the scale are tension notes – tension notes want to resolve by moving the nearest resolution note.
You can embellish any of these 3 resolution notes using a range of ‘ornaments’ (melodic decoration) borrowed from classical music:
1. The ‘appoggiatura’ – precede any resolution note with a dissonant tension note a step below or above the resolution note. Play the tension note on the down beat that the chord is played on, then immediately resolve that note to the resolution note on the next beat.
2. The ‘turn’ – play the resolution note – tension note above – repeat the resolution note – tension note below – end on resolution note. For example, over a C minor chord, you could decorate G with a turn – G Ab G F G.
3. The ‘double appoggiature’ – preceded any resolution note with a tension note below, then the tension note above, then the resolution note. So in C minor, you could apply a double appoggiatura to G, by playing F Ab G. Or you play the same shape upside down – Ab F G.
Practice using these types of embellishment over any chord. Play any chord, major minor or dominant – identify the 3 resolution notes (1 3 5) and practice embellishing those 3 notes with any of these ornaments.
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