soloing over each chord instead of in the key

  1. You’re sorta describing the idea behind soloing in jazz - a large part of jazz improvisation is changing the group of notes (scale or arpeggio) used for soloing for each chord change (this is a massive generalization, and not always true). If it’s something you’re interested in, I’d recommend looking at some basic jazz guitar soloing lessons/videos and see if it’s something that grabs your ear. To my knowledge, a lot of country guitarists actually do a similar thing, but that’s not my bag so I can’t speak to it. To answer your questions though:

  2. This is the right answer here. I'm surprised to see people saying "this only happens in jazz." That's simply untrue. Chord-tone approaches to soloing are common through out rock / country / jazz / jamband / R&B / etc.. In fact, it's the relationship between the melody line and the underlying chords that creates meaning for the solo. So, playing relevant pentatonic scales or appreggios over chord changes can be very powerful.

  3. If you come to a non-diatonic chord you can just add it's non-diatonic chord tones to the scale but remove the original note that it's replacing. For example if you are C major and you encounter an A7 chord leading to a D-7 then you know it's a secondary dominant. In this case you can just swap the C for a C# and Keep all the other notes the same. In practice this often means landing on the C# as you hit that chord. Similarly in the Jazz standard "All of Me" the key is C major and the first chord is Cmaj7 so you can use the C major scale, or a pentatonic or blues scale. The next chord is E7 which is a secondary dominant. If we take the chord tone of the E7 that is not in C major (viz G#) and swap it for the original G then you are now playing E phrygian dominant scale. We have effectively changed scale by changing only one note. That's how you do it smoothly over faster changes and stay melodic.

  4. If you have a song in the key of C Major, every diatonic chord uses the same notes that are in the key of C Major. There is no changing of notes. Like some have said, its mostly a jazz thing. True, thats because in jazz they borrow chords from other keys.

  5. what if I only played the pentatonic scale corresponding to each chord that is diatonic to C major? Would each one of those be diatonic to C major?

  6. I think they may have been referring to playing in the full major or minor scale (not the relative mode) of each diatonic key. For example in C Major, playing in D Minor over the ii, E Minor over the iii, F Major over the IV, and G Major over the V.

  7. You’re only talking about scales. There’s a vital piece of information missing here, which is that in order to play over chord changes, you have to focus on emphasizing the chord tones of those chords, not just what scales could work above them. You should work on getting the arpeggios of the chords in all inversions, as well as using various approach tone devices to get into those chord tones (ie, from a step above or below, from a step above and below, also known as enclosures, etc)

  8. This can be done in metal too, absolutely. Typically only in solo sections that have chords ringing out for a bar or more. It's most often used when, let's say you're playing some repeating note pattern over a chord, then you move up or down some degree, and you shift the repeating note pattern that same amount.

  9. To your follow up question yes, if you play the pentatonic scale for the corresponding chord in a key (in C major you have G major pentatonic, A minor pentatonic, etc) you will be in key. You can also alter the diminished scale to fit a pentatonic, all you need to do if you’re in C major is play your regular minor pentatonic but flat the 5 by a half step.

  10. Yeah the pentatonic for each diatonic chord fits into the major/minor scale. For diminished there isn't a corresponding pentatonic, lots of songs use a major chord instead though, its a bit like a quick key change.

  11. I’ve been memorizing Montgomery solos, and there is a definite aspect of playing over the chord, as opposed to the key, in many situations. Such as west coast blues changes. Other times, however, it seems key oriented, like playing f Dorian over a Bb blues, as in Cariba, like a harmonica player playing “cross” over a blues format. But his primary focus was on melodic lines , presumably lines he heard in his inner ear and was able to render with the fingers. Many great players have developed that skill by practicing to play and sing lines in unison. My advice is to proceed on all three projects, playing the changes, playing the keys, and singing your solos along with your instrument, if possible, until you can play what you want to hear.

  12. Who actually visualizes a scale when soloing / improvising? You just play according to what's going on behind you. Do I suffer from jazz-brain or do people actually agonize over scales at specific monents in the song like that??

  13. Yes I think Jazz musicians tend to play like this. When they play over II-V-I in C, they will think it as d-dorian, g-mixolydian and c-ionian. But since they will alterate a lot they will likely play the mixolydian with an augmented fourth and lydian instead of ionian or whatever. That is the whole point of thinking in modes I think. Dealing with all those alterations. It's all a matter of practice. If you didn't already, learn about modes and then try to integrate them into your playing. But of course if you don't improvise and actually compose something over a few chords, you might as well think in the respective key all the time and focus on variation more than you would do when improvising.

  14. Even in Jazz people still think V - I instead of playing modes when playing ii-V. You can apply modes to a ii-V, but it doesn’t sound so great. I wouldn’t apply modal harmony to most American Songbook songs or early jazz standards.

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