~ scales evolve into arpeggios ~

'simply redesigning the stepwise motion of scales into the thirds of the arpeggios ...'

~ arpeggio powered ... ~

~ a basis of through the changes improv ~

turn on your lovelight bass line

In a nutshell. Turns out that there's a super handy, totally diatonic midpoint component between linear scales and vertical chords. We theorists term this structure an 'arpeggio.' An Italian term, 'arpeggio' comes to us today meaning 'harplike' from the HBDM. Created from scales, arpeggios are pitches that are sequenced in melody to sound out the chords they can represent. Recognize the arpeggio melody in the idea above? So the gist of the following discussion is to understand how we reconfigure the pitches of our diatonic C major scale, and others, into their 'broken chord' arpeggios, exploring what shakes loose along the way. And once we have these arpeggios ... ?

HBDM
wiki ~ arpeggio / broken chord

And for the price of admission ... There's that showbiz hawker barker promo bit again. Regardless, this page alone could be well worth 'the price of admission' to this whole Essentials show. For the value to the theorist of having the know-how to evolve any scale grouping into its arpeggio, then to spell its diatonic chords, gives us the tools and skill set to puzzle out the pitches of really any type of harmony, both in writing and by ear. It's also a sure basis for creating improv through the changes.

Once we know the transformational magic, our learning process here becomes simply rote memorization. This of course is just old school learning, the simple process of memorizing factual types of information for instant recall. So no limit really on the when or where we can shed the material and go through the process, i.e., at home or school, working with bandmates, riding the bike or bus, walking the critters, having coffee etc.

~ C D E F G A B C into C E G B D F A C ~

Advanced theorist. Not too sure just what might be in the following discussion for the advanced theorist. For the core of the idea is simply to understand the letter name and numerical mechanics of evolving a group of pitches or scale diatonically into its arpeggio. This places the pitches into an ideal, mostly left to right linear sequence for developing the ability to spell out the letter names of each seven diatonic triads and any of their colortones.

Once this process is shed through the 12 keys, the 'anything from anywhere' portal surely appears. And from that point forward at least in theory, the sky's the limit for the modern guitarist. It mostly then comes down to the shedding, dedication, working smart and finding work that we deem exciting and rewarding to play.

So if deemed necessary, please review the scale to arpeggio, chord spelling chart included just below and in doing so, examine the Essentials format for the spelling out of all things musical process. For this basic chart is used an awful lot from this point forward in the theory discussions. Plus it's cool to see the pitches evolving from scales to arpeggios knowing the stacked up struck together pitches of the harmony is next.

Most jazz leaning players will study Charlie Parker and John Coltrane at some point along the way, two of our 'arpeggio kings' that thoroughly advanced the music of their respective eras. So review the process here or scoot to wherever there needs to be for you. Stay curious throughout your musical life and all will be well and nourished. That there's never really an end to the theory combinations provides exciting opportunities for discovery, that marvelously magical moment we create every time we get to play on our gitfiddles.

Bass players. Bass players love the arpeggios in creating their lines, using arpeggios to motorize our grooves. Triads are most common with the blue seventh added depending. And while advancing bass cats will play chords, some to a very advanced level, chords in this register or pitch range, done over lots of chord changes, creates other issues thus are not all that common.

Here are two quite popular arpeggiated bass lines taken from the blues / rock styles, both notated for guitar. The first half of the example are triads created from the One and Four scale degrees. The second idea extends up to the blue 7th of the V7 chord. Depending on various things, there's still a lot of miles in these lines and they can and do work wonders on guitar also. Example 1.

The first idea above is a great jam starter for vamping between One and Four. The second idea is super common throughout any of the blues and rock'n roll from the 50's onward. Easy, cool arpeggios.

Horn players. There's only a few of us in the band that can sound out the changes. Those vertical stacks of pitches sounded together in harmony that we most often use to back the melody line. Surely guitar, piano, vibes and bass and drums too, to a certain extent, are our main chordal creating instruments.

So for all the single line instruments of the brass and woodwind families; trumpet, trombones and saxophones, flute, the clarinets and of course guitar too, who for the most part get only one pitch at a time, the arpeggios are their way of creating the chord progressions of songs.

Outlining the changes. This is an expression from earlier times, 1930's and forward, that describes how a single line instrument uses the arpeggios to sound out the chord changes of a song. To play 'through the changes' rather than 'over' the chords. This simple potential creates a vast opportunity for artistic evolution through permutation and chord substitution. And as we might well imagine, how fast the notes are sounded in succession can have a great effect on the music created. For many of the core musical ~ artistic components are in play here; tonal gravity, the sense of forward motion, the bass storyline of a composition, time. Suffice, the arpeggios have helped anoint more than one 'king of American music.'

Guitar wins three ways. So as guitarists we get all three ways to combine the pitches; scales, arpeggios and chords. That we get these abilities in an instrument that can easily travel and has potentially many, many different sounds and varieties, it's no wonder the guitar is so popular. That fingerstyle rolls and down picking can arpeggiate chords, on through creating musical styles based on arpeggiated bass figures and further into 'outlining' the changes in rapidly moving jazz chord progressions, arpeggios could very well become a guitarist's next best friend :)

History ~ theory overview. We modernés of today, equipped with instruments and gear ranging from a beater acoustic w/slide to electronic midi orchestrations, bask in an endless aural array of arpeggiated colors any of which are equally projected from the 12 pitches of the chromatic scale. What's not to love about that ?

Overview: By having examined the origins and organization of our 12 pitch melodic resource, we now have the theory foundation of pitch to advance our studies towards our chords or harmony. In between the evolution of our scales into chords live the arpeggios. And as we'll see in the following discussion, that while the process of evolving scales into their arpeggios is theoretically a rather elementary process, the vast artistic resource we gain is rather quite stunning.

First task: Simply to understand the theoretical process of how our stepwise scale groupings evolve into our wider, major and minor third interval arpeggios. And how our musical lines begin to evolve in contour from a horizontal to more vertical profile. In this first idea, we evolve the diatonic pitches of the C major group into its arpeggio. Example 2.

That easy? Sure is. Didn't we just simply skip every other note of the scale to create its arpeggio? Sure did.

So just what is an arpeggio? This musical term comes to us from the Italian and translates to 'harplike.' According to HBDM, an arpeggio is 'the playing of a chord with its notes sounded in succession, rather than simultaneously.' Since chords are of course next in this theory sequence, created by sounding the pitches of the arpeggio simultaneously, just makes good sense to examine the arpeggios first.

What we gain in a nutshell. Two essential things really, both of which are potentially important components on our palettes. First are the arpeggios themselves as a compositional resource; in writing our own songs, understanding music in general and in our own musical improvisations. For we can surely find arpeggios just about everywhere in the literature.

Arpeggios ~ spelling chords. The second essential skill with arpeggios becomes the ability to spell out the letter names of the chords used in the songs we play. For those of us who aspire to add blues and jazz ideas, sounds and colors into their improv, i.e., and to begin playing more through the changes than over them, quickly spelling out the pitches of the chords is really a must have skill. That it's also rather a very easy do makes it all the more a win win win for all. Here's the chord spelling chart for the pitches of C major. Example 2a.

~ super theory game changer ~
scale degree
root (1)
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
scale pitches
C
D
E
F
G
A
B
C
arpeggio degree
root (1)
3
5
7
9
11
13
15
arpeggio pitches
C
E
G
B
D
F
A
C

Click forward in this discussion to explore the theories around spelling chords and related topics.

Where in the music. Well just about everywhere in the literature. Many cherished children's songs and folk songs are based on arpeggiating the pitches of the major triad. American folk classics 'Oh Susanna', 'Michael Rowed The Boat Ashore' and 'Kumbaya' come right to mind. Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page's opening lick of their epic song 'Stairway To Heaven' is an arpeggiated tonic minor 9th chord. So sounding chord pitches in succession is common and cool and for us theorists, we simply call them arpeggios.

wiki ~ Jimmy Page
wiki ~ Stairway To Heaven

Metal players love these things. Arpeggios are perfect for their sweep and double picking techniques and when rapidly executed, will oftentimes create a very dramatic musical effect through a dimed, crunchy stack. In blues and rock? Here and there, often when chords are slowly strummed as arpeggios. In pop? For sure as so many of the background synth loops are arpeggios. In jazz? Very very absolutely in jazz of all styles and genres.

Mike Kova / Ken Anderson

For guitar and string players in general, the arpeggios are a dream come true. There's easily a half dozen, fully movable shapes that can blaze right up at any moment that accurately to a 't' portray the harmony of any given moment. At their core, the major and minor triad shapes seem built right into the frets, they move right around, both up and down and across the strings. And there's initially just three core shapes to master.

Most jazz players will deeply shed the arpeggios. Horn players for sure, for while their instruments can't create chords, they sure can create accurately pitched arpeggios, thus can clearly outline the changes perfectly at blistering tempos. Here's a totally Americana arpeggio idea along these lines. Do get it under your fingers here if need be. Example 2b.

Surely we've heard this arpeggiated idea somewhere sometime someplace in the Americana library? Along this line, a few of the jazz legends of the last 100 years were not only the arpeggio kings of their local universe but the top innovators of their chosen field of art as well.

arpeggio kings

Why's that? In jazz music, when chord progressions get thick and busy, which they often do, arpeggios come right to the rescue. For they not only clearly outline the harmony of the song but also can generate a startling degree of vitality and excitement, variety and surprises and memorable melodies. There's a historical perspective of our American jazz music whereby the evolution of the harmony had a major role in the further development of the artform and the morphing of one stylistic era into another. As the harmony become more complex and tempos accelerated over the decades, arpeggios become a central part of the glue that holds it all together.

At the core of this evolutionary process. So the basic twist of the theory in creating arpeggios from scales is to simply move from our stepwise, whole step / half step scale construction to what we will term tertian motion, or movement by the interval of a third; both major and minor third intervals. And in reality, our scale evolves into its arpeggio simply by consistently skipping every other note the grouping.

For purely theory sake and of course its perfect closure, we'll use all of our scale pitches in the following example. Please note that in this scale to arpeggio conversion process, we do have to expand our range of pitches from one octave (scale) to two full octaves to create our arpeggio. Example 3.

octave

Did ya think it would be so easy? So the only real trick is to respell scales by skipping pitches? Pretty much. Same with arpeggiating our other scale groups? Pretty much, actually that's an absolute yes. Here are the letter name pitches of the C major scale then respelled out as its C major arpeggio. Example 3a.

C major scale

C
D
E
F
G
A
B
C
C major arpeggio
C
E
G
B
D
F
A
C
~ quick review ~

Quick review. Let's dig back into the major scale formula to ensure that we got this correct. We can simply look at the distance between the pitches of our arpeggio and then compare them to that section of the major scale formula. Here is the whole step / half step formula and the pitches of the C major scale followed by the arpeggio breakdown. Example 2b.

major scale formula

1
1
1/2
1
1
1
1/2

C major scale

C
D
E
F
G
A
B
C
C to E
two whole (1) steps
= major 3rd
E to G
1 + 1/2 step
= minor 3rd
G to B
1 + 1
= major 3rd
B to D
1/2 + 1
= minor 3rd
D to F
1 + 1/2
= minor 3rd
F to A
1 + 1
= major 3rd
A to C
1 + 1/2
= minor 3rd

So all looks groovy in theoryville yes? Examine the column sequence of the major and minor 3rd intervals. Does that repeated minor third interval; from B to D and D to F, have any great and lasting influence? Hmmm ... surely there must be something in there. So the major / minor of 3rd's cycle is diatonically imperfect ... ? What if we were to 'correct' this pattern?

Thinking modally. When creating our original discussion of groups of pitches, we realized that our musical resources are built in such a way so that each of the seven pitches of the major / relative minor group can become a tonic pitch. We then simply gradually shifted our interval formula to discover the formulas for our original seven modes from antiquity.

shifting intervals

So might we do the same in creating our arpeggios? Can we build an arpeggio from each of the pitches of the major / relative minor scale? Absolutely. Lest we forget that in theory, thanks to equal temper tuning, the idea of 'anything from anywhere' is a mantra worth exploring. Example 4.

equal temper tuning

anything from anywhere

arpeggio degrees

1
3
5
7
9
11
13
15
C Ionian
C
E
G
B
D
F
A
C
D Dorian minor
D
F
A
C
E
G
B
D
E Phrygian minor
E
G
B
D
F
A
C
E
F Lydian major
F
A
C
E
G
B
D
F
G Mixolydian major
G
B
D
F
A
C
E
G
A Aeolian minor
A
C
E
G
B
D
F
A
B Locrian minor
B
D
F
A
C
E
G
B

Here are the pitches of the above chart with a suggested fingering. Example 4a.

Quite a challenge. This last idea is a rather challenging fingering endeavor even for very experienced players. In other realms, we often lessen the number of pitches for each arpeggio, as say in our interval studies or when soloing through changes. For those whose ambition shows no bounds, striving to get this lick under your fingers in one key at any tempo will open up a rather huge vista of potentials. All 12 keys? Whew! Thus, a brief glimpse of the jazz player's shedding agenda.

Isn't this lick some sort of sequence? Yep. Maybe even a Baroque sequence? Hear the chord changes in the line as the idea unfolds? Click it again and then again and then again if need be to get a sense of the chords being outlined in the line. For this is one essential aspect of what arpeggios bring to the table for the horn and really all single line players; to clearly hear the chord changes in single note melodic lines.

Anything from anywhere? So can we apply the above theory to create arpeggios to any of our scale groupings? Absolutely. Create any of the above modal arpeggios from any of our 12 pitches of the chromatic scale? Absolutely, for that is the simply beauty of equal temper tuning, anything or everything from anywhere.

Any lick, riff, scale, arpeggio, chord or song, concerto or symphony from any of our 12 pitches, all in tune the way we hear the pitches in our modern times. Really ... sounds like a stretch and in some cases it surely is, but in theory, all is within the potentially possible yes?

Just for kicks ... Let's pick a new group of pitches, filter it through our scale / arpeggio theory and see what shakes loose. Of course all of the diatonic modes live within the pitches of the major scale, as does the relative minor group and related modes. So let's try something a wee bit more exotic, say harmonic minor? Let's first compare the pitches between the C natural minor and the C harmonic minor groups in letter and sound. Example 5.

scale degrees
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

C natural minor scale

C
D
Eb
F
G
Ab
Bb
C
C harmonic minor scale
C
D
Eb
F
G
Ab
B
C

Old # 7. So all are identical pitches except for the 7th scale degree. In harmonic minor, we approach our tonic pitch C from half step below. This evolves our 7th scale degree from a blue or minor 7th to a leading tone 7th. Theoretically, this one pitch difference opens us into a new window, one which has a potentially stunning musical and theoretical vista for those so inclined. Knowing this crucial difference between our natural and harmonic minor groups, let's now morph our C harmonic minor scale into its arpeggio. Example 5a.

numeric scale degree
root (1)
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
C harmonic minor scale pitches
C
D
Eb
F
G
Ab
B
C
numeric arpeggio degree
root (1)
3
5
7
9
11
13
15
C harmonic arpeggio pitches
C
Eb
G
B
D
F
Ab
C

The intervals. Let's examine the intervals between the pitches of our harmonic minor arpeggio. In creating any minor arpeggio we always use a minor third interval first, thus our resulting arpeggio is of course always minor at its core. Perhaps verbalize the following intervals of this chart the following way. C up to Eb is a minor 3rd, Eb up to G is a major 3rd etc. Example 5b.

arpeggio degree
root
3rd
5th
7th
9th
11th
13th
15th
interval
.
minor 3rd
major 3rd
major 3rd
minor 3rd
minor 3rd
minor 3rd
major 3rd
C harmonic minor arpeggio
C
Eb
G
B
D
F
Ab
C

The results. Interesting eh? Well of course the initial minor 3rd right out of the gate defining our tonic triad as minor. Then two major 3rds in a row. Two consecutive major 3rds, so a bit of whole tone color maybe? Then what's up with that shot of three consecutive minor 3rds? Let's examine these two mini-groups of intervals that live within our harmonic minor grouping of pitches. But first we should hear the scale and its arpeggio yes? Ex. 5c.

A rather nice mix of colors is this harmonic minor group. Minor tonic triad of course, minor 6th interval is needed to diatonically create the minor Four chord and of course the leading tone. That harmonic minor might just be a wee bit exotic for major based, diatonic American musical ears, the mode built on its 5th degree is a core grouping for the Klezmer cats. Example 5d.

As a core group for composing melodies, thanks to its whole tone and b9 components, harmonic minor's sound might be said to be a bit macabre, noir or spooky. So maybe good for a Halloween song :) Mixed with a bit of chromaticism, we could surely mask our key and center and direction of the music. As evolving theorists we simply need to know the who, what, when, where and why of our resources n'est-ce pas?

Whole tone / augmented triad. Also from within the harmonic minor group, thinking from the pitch Eb, we can build an augmented arpeggio / triad; Eb, G, B, which is simply a major triad with its 5th augmented north by half step. Thinking concert pitch, Eb, G and B, variously arranged, are rather famous among jazzers.

The diatonic leading tone 7th in this grouping, the pitch B natural in relation to our root pitch C, provides that essential bit of closure and final sense of resolution in the minor tonality. Example 6.

Perfect arpeggio inversions. From examining these three pitches we can see that each can become the root of an augmented triad. Examine the following chart. Do watch for enharmonic spellings with the letter name pitches. Example 6a.

augmented triad
1 / root
major 3rd
augmented 5th
Eb augmented
Eb
G
B
G augmented
G
B
D# (Eb)
B augmented
B
D# (Eb)
F## (G)

Where in the music? The augmented color in the minor tonality is most often associated with the Five / One cadential motion as Five and One share what we term a common tone pitch; augmented 5th of V7 = the blue 3rd of our tonic key. Two root position chord ideas ideas from two different sets of strings. Example 6b.

Where else in the music? We can find the augmented color being used in a major key in the harmonic motion between One and Four. Here the augmented 5th creates a nice chromatic motion to the major 3rd of the Four chord. I, V7 of IV to IV. Example 6c.

So not too common in the literature but a sure, strong aural character when needed. Check out the Dave Clark Five's "Because" from back in '64 for some very nice augmented chord motion in a solid pop setting. As this tune went to #3, big money maker for the band.

wiki ~ "Because"

V7b9 is diatonic to harmonic minor. So ... three minor 3rd intervals in a row is super rare and one of a kind really, this must be a fully diminished 7th chord. And thinking from the pitch G in the above example, we spell G7b9 by simply skipping every other note in the C harmonic minor group. Examine the pitches. Example 7.

C harmonic minor arpeggio pitches
C
Eb
G
B
D
F
Ab
C

So there's a fully diminished 7th chord in the upper part of a V7b9 chord? Tis indeed the case my friend. This harmonic minor source, along with the symmetrical diminished scale, generates this essential color. Dig the V7b9 in action. Example 7a.

Sorry about that closing melody ... for surely our V7b9 is not all doom and gloom :)

 

Where in the music? V7b9 is occasionally in the blues, especially in the older Delta styles and of course in jazz influenced blues. We do hear the diminished chord as a passing chord in pop music but it is in American jazz where the V7b9 / diminished comes to full fruition.

And not only as a chord itself but with its structural theory, we'll derive a whole family of chord substitutions and refreshing non-diatonic harmonic motions from its leading tone properties. Turns out that each of the four pitches of the diminished arpeggio are potential leading tones. Really? Yep. To both major and minor keys? Absolutely. Click the link to the right to explore.

Are arpeggios always built in 3rd's? Pretty much. Stepwise for scales are generally whole steps and half steps. Major and minor thirds are for arpeggios. We theorists call it tertian harmony and it runs the show of Americana chords day in and day out. Additional scales, arpeggios and chords constructed in perfect fourths we term quartile motion, and beyond fourths are simply wide interval lines I'd imagine.

In the classical music world, where every nuance is somehow notated and labeled, there are musical names for so many, if not all of the melodic twists and nuances. In improvised music and especially the blues, we so often don't get all that too hung up with the verbiage and labeling beyond a certain point, just what we each deem essential in getting our ideas across to one another.

Americana jazz arpeggio kings? Coleman Hawkins might be the first. Mr. Hawkins' now famous solo on the classic 'Body and Soul' in 1939 is just chock full of arpeggios, opening a new approach to the improvisational aspects so essential in most of the Americana styles. Using the arpeggio device, Mr. Hawkins' deftly outlines the written harmony of the song, further embellishing the arpeggiated pitches with chromatic enhancement, bluish notes and his personalized way of phrasing.

wiki ~ "Body And Soul"
wiki ~ Coleman Hawkins

The overall solo, in character with the flow of the song, creates a languidly beautiful pulse of energy with a combination of a laid back tone and the excitement of surprise by use of wider interval leaps and the arpeggiation of the written chord changes. This we can term; soloing through the changes. In our historical discovery process, we find that this approach was in its day, quite new.

For prior to this pioneering improvisational approach, cats stuck closer to embellishing the melody of the song. Once the lid was off to 'soloing through the changes', a new world of American jazz improvisation began to take shape. When combined in creating our improvisations, written melody enhancement and soloing through the changes is still the usual approach today.

 

Bird had the new word ... Bebop. After Mr. Hawkins, composer, alto saxophonist Charlie Parker becomes arpeggio king of NYC and its environs, evolving the music of his day in a couple of essential ways. One was in the harmony. Mr. Parker explored nearly every nook and cranny of our diatonic harmony and possible colortone extensions, oftentimes using a complete cadential motion to get there. We can hear this approach in his many compositions and improvisations, all over a solid base of the essential American blue.

Mr. Parker must have realized that his linear, melodic line representations of this deeper harmonic exploration made a lot more sense to everyone involved if his new chord patterns were accurately arpeggiated. We must remember that in this era, cats were still improvising exclusively inside the changes. Can't clearly hear the chord changes in the improvised line? Not good.

We should keep in mind here that jazz was America's 'pop' music of the 1940's and the folks buying records, thus paying the bills, wanted to feel and understand the music too. Mr. Parker also played very very fast, so could his arpeggiated ideas have sounded just like chords to folks when heard live in the club? Musing aside, surely it sets the table for the later to arrive via those steel parallel rails, John Coltrane's 'sheets of sound.'

In regards to the upper extensions or color tone ideas that Mr. Parker explored in his improvisations, many of which were pushing the existing boundaries of what was considered 'inside' for his era, by first launching his line with the arpeggio pitches of the written chord that his band would sound, he created a sort of launch pad type cushion springboard that helped and even allowed (?) the upper part of his ideas make solid, good, clear, inside musical sense to listeners who could hear Bird's ideas and understand it at this level.

So into the wayback yet again to NYC 1948 or so, imagine Duke Ellington, then in his late 40's hearing Charlie Parker, then in his late 20's, use his extended arpeggios to play perfectly inside through the fastest and most harmonically involved cycles of 'standard' chord changes ever produced, weaving his improvised line inside every nook and cranny of the harmony. Surely news of the new 'bebop' spread like wildfire among the music community.

wiki ~ Duke Ellington

Today as I write this 60 years or so later, are Mr. Parker's solos creations part of the collection of artistic perfection for his day? That the analysis of transcriptions of his work neatly proves up the theory, an ancient theory that we write down with 1000 year old symbols now modernized to our present day notation. And as a bonus, Mr. Parker includes a healthy dollop of original Americana bluesy hues throughout. Simply remarkable.

Artistic perfection simply in that they capture in musical sounds, the whole of life and times of the American spirit of their day, just like all of our best music can do from every era. Duke's level to hear and understand Mr. Parker's theory, art and musical life being performed live in real time, must be been nothing short of astounding.

I fiction this history together to make the point of 'hearing' the theory as it is going down in the music and of course the role of arpeggios in American music. Termed 'ear training' by scholarly types, it creates the ultimate world of curiosity, to identify through listening the theoretical components as they 'pass' by. Truly an endless fascination of what a sound or combination of pitches theoretically is in relation to a key center.

Here's an arpeggiated idea similar to one Mr. Parker created in bar 22, page 3 of his solo on 'Confirmation' from the 'Omnibook.' Thinking Two / Five / One in Bb. Example 8.

The opening arpeggio of the line perfectly outlines the extended pitches of the C minor 7 chord up through its natural 11th, providing a perfectly 'inside' start for the chromaticism that follows over the dominant chord F7.

The Trane is coming. Almost right on Mr. Parker's heals, tenor saxophonist John Coltrane ascends to become the new arpeggio king of the now truly global jazz universe. Mr. Coltrane's blistering 'sheets of sound' of his middle period, the rapid articulation of sifting through combinations of scaler and arpeggiated lines, searching to further the harmony of American song through an advancing complexity of chord substitution.

One result of this 'inside' exploration is the real beginning of the 'outside' school of improvisation. Improvised melodic lines are no longer dictated by the harmony. Its spiritual mentor and chief artist being Ornette Coleman. Together they found a new pathway that today I term the chromatic buzz.

Building on Mr. Parker's earlier contributions, these arpeggiated explorations advanced the music of the day and in many ways, we can still hear its echoes in today's jazz. This development culminated with Mr. Coltrane's revolutionary new harmonic scheme based on, you guessed it, an arpeggio. And after? Further advancing our harmonic scheme? More arpeggios? Yep.

Rock and Pop. As American jazz evolved towards a more chromatic texture in the early 60's, our core 12 bar blues again became the source for the next new American sound. 50's rock'n roll is straight 12 bar blues and soon became America's new popular music on the radio. Songs such as 'Johnny B. Goode' by guitarist Chuck Berry in 1958, gave guitarists a whole new world of potentials that is still cruising right along today.

Early rock major triad / arpeggio bass line. This next idea gets us right back to where we started at the top of this discussion. Just a super cliche arpeggio bass line from the early rockers that we can find in lots of spots in the literature. Learn this one here if needed. Example 9.

As mentioned above, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page's opening lick in 'Stairway To Heaven' is an arpeggiated minor 9th chord. While not an overly common Rock color, it surely sets the mood for what follows in this epic tune yes? Chicago's ballad classic 'Colour My World' opens with a repeated major 7th arpeggio figure.

wiki ~ Jimmy Page
wiki ~ Stairway To Heaven
wiki ~ Colour My World

Often associated with pop music, the major 7th sound is a real transition point in the theory / musical styles. All three of these above mentioned tunes are instantly recognizable from their opening arpeggio licks and surely have generated some serious mailbox loot over the years.

Latin styles. In the Latin styles, from the earlier bossa nova to the ever popular dance samba of today, arpeggios and their close cousin, our interval studies, play a core role in making the magic happen. Brazilian artist Luiz Bonfa's classic melody "Samba de Orpheus" is arpeggio based and worth a solid look and learning for those inclined.

wiki ~ Bossa Nova
"Samba De Orpheus"
wiki ~ Luiz Bonfa

That's all for this third chapter folks. All good with the idea of evolving our scales into their arpeggios? Like most of our music theory, the process is rather simple and contains the perfect closure properties of our system of pitch organization. We find arpeggios everywhere in the American sounds, not only as written melodies but in improvisation as well. Many great American artists have relied on the arpeggios to bring forth the art in their hearts. Arpeggios have surely been a part of the evolution of our music over the last century.

What's next? Chords. We've extracted pitches from the ether, organized the pitches into loops, then scales, reconfigured scales into their arpeggios and now we can stack our arpeggio pitches and sound them together to create our chords. The evolution from arpeggio to chords is pretty straightforward. Once we get there our resource again blossoms to essentially limitless proportions.

"It's amazing how much you can learn if your intentions are truly earnest."

Chuck Berry
Footnotes:
(2)Aebersold, Jamey and Slone, Ken. The Charlie Parker Omnibook. New York: Atlantic Music Corp., 1978.
(2)Aebersold, Jamey and Slone, Ken. The Charlie Parker Omnibook. New York: Atlantic Music Corp., 1978.
(2)Aebersold, Jamey and Slone, Ken. The Charlie Parker Omnibook. New York: Atlantic Music Corp., 1978.
(2)Aebersold, Jamey and Slone, Ken. The Charlie Parker Omnibook. New York: Atlantic Music Corp., 1978.
(2)Aebersold, Jamey and Slone, Ken. The Charlie Parker Omnibook. New York: Atlantic Music Corp., 1978.

For in today's music, while it's near impossible to hear any difference in pitches or tunings, the duality of our pitches enables the blue melodic magic weave over stable, closely tuned chord pitches. Just how central this relationship might be is more about one's own art directions but surely lives at the stylistic heart of Americana guitar. The bend-able string / pitch ability over precisely tuned chords is the basis of our guitar arts.

blue notes
a wide array of chords