Approach Notes and Chromaticism

by Stephane Lucarelli

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  • Hi GMC!

    The use of approach notes and chromaticism is an important element of playing that we find in various styles of jazz, jazz fusion, etc. It's a great technique to add color, fell and some tension to your playing.

    You can approach every note of a scale or an arpeggio by applying a few simple rules.
    Consider for example the fifth of the Gm7 chord which is D.

    We can approach this note from :

    - a half step below / above
    - a half step below and above (or above and below)
    - two half steps below / above
    - two half steps below and a half step above
    - two half steps above and a half step below

    Rhythm placement is very important because we play notes outside the scale and it can bring more or less tension in your playing.

    The backing is a Gm7 vamp, 90bpm and I used a mix of G dorian mode, G minor blues scale with approach notes and chromaticism.
    Some phrases are sometimes a bit long, so take time to assimilate and analyze how the notes are articulated.

    Have fun,

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