The Basic Foundation Of Harmonic Regeneration
I'm very glad to be able to share some of the techniques that I have found to be very useful in 30 years of studying and playing guitar with all of you who have come to this site! First I won't bore you with a lot of techniques that you see regularly, instead I would hope to present you with a series of options that will allow you to go deeper inside yourself and hopefully come up with some new and original creative ideas on improvising. Let's go into this by starting a study of the theory of Harmonic Regeneration. Harmonic Regeneration is the technique of taking one of the designated harmonic (or enharmonic) intervals of a particular tonality (Major, Minor, Aug, Dim,Sus etc.) and generating new tonalities from that interval. NO, this is NOT MODES !!!!! Modes are simply starting at different degrees of major scale (At least in the western music system). Before we get too far into this thing, lets all be sure of what a designated harmonic interval is :
A harmonic interval is an interval which is essential in determining the identity of a given tonal condition. This is usually (NOT always) based on 3rd, 6th and 7th intervals of a diatonic scale (scale containing more than 5 less than 12 notes or tones). This is because the 3rd or the mediant in most cases (not in the case of the suspended tonality) determines if the given tonality is a major or minor related idea. Knowing this, the only other intervals that give any indication of a specific tonality would be the 6th and the 7th. You will note that the only difference between the major and minor diatonic scale would be that the 3rd, 6th, 7th, intervals would be flattened by one half step. Example: C Major / C D E F G A B C, notice the difference in the C Minor scale / C D Eb F G Ab Bb C.We clearly see that the 6th and 7th intervals help to define the tonality. Also the 7th has a very unique position, as the leading tone by altering its natural position in a given tonality it becomes a harmonic bridge that crosses tonalities Example:
1. By rising the pitch of the 7th tone in the Minor scale by one half step you introduce a major harmonic interval thereby causing the leading tone to the root to appear as a major vehicle thus the term "Harmonic Minor" by the way Yngwie Malmsten did not invent this ha ha!!!
2. By the same token we find that if the 7th interval of the major scale is lowered by one half step because of the placement of intervals between the 4th interval and the tonic creates another 5th (Diatonically speaking) which generates another harmonic bridge this is commonly referred to as the Dominant tonal condition . These are the tools we'll be focusing on for this subject . Before we go any deeper we should be able to see at this point that this is not a modal study!!!!!
OK, moving right along we'll start with regenerating a harmonic construction or tonality off of the 3rd interval of the key of C Major. Let's take the 3rd, E, and build a simple structure first and build an E major 7th arpeggio so that it looks like this C Major / C D E F G A B C we take E and add the intervals from E major 7th E G# B D# now add the 6th interval of C major and we have formed this melodic vehicle E G# B D# A, we can also add C as a resolution point in this scale which would make it look like this E G# B D# A C. You may note that this forms a major related construction. You will also notice how Allan Holdsworth-ish this sounds when used with the legato technique. This is partly because of the wide interval fingerings and possible string skips that can be used, and partly because of the harmonically related tonal clusters. You will also note that you now have a triad E B A based in that newly generated tonality which will be harmonically correct within the diatonic tonality that you were working in originally which would be in this case C Major which just happens to form the 3rd, 6th and 7th intervals in the key of C Major. Just like magic!!!!! ha ha! This may seem complex to some of you who may not have a large jazz vocabulary, however this is a VERY BASIC idea of how this works, and just begins to skim the surface of some of the possibilities this technique offers. I firmly believe that there is only one kind of music in this world. EARTH MUSIC, and styles are the prejudice of art. Just think about it for awhile. Claim your birthright and play it ALL!!!!!!!! Work with this and try it in ALL keys, with a bit of serious study and practice you'll find it happening without you having to kill brain cells doing it. You may also get the feeling that "this sounds real horn like rather Coltrane or James Carter sounding (two of the greatest sax men who ever touched the planet, and with a touch of overdrive you can get a Shawn Lane or Greg Howe type of thing going on). But most importantly you can get a you thing happening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And that my friends, is what it's all about. I'll be back with more on Harmonic Regeneration and how it works. If you've got any questions, I've got answers at www.mikhalcaldwell.com. Till next time, Plug in and go out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mikhal........................The Electric Warrior ....