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Tim Price
SOTW columnist

Dom7 Chord Line using Your Ear

by Tim Price

In this new lesson we are going to start to build your ears within a few simple lines on chords. I use a term of mine called "Active Mental Imagery" or A.M.I. Now, the "Active Mental Image" is in your ear. A form of ear training and study of mine.

Hear the shape and structure of the line. Then play the line slowly using your ear to hear each harmonic destination via the line via the chord. It's kind of simple and fun.

Make sure you use a "swing" feel and do not play it like an etude. Now the line ascends:
Then descends:
Flat7-5-3-2-Root. Hear it? Try also singing it so you can internalize it faster.
I had this line written out by my good buddy and student George so you can see the shape. Thanks George!

Now that you have this in front of you, get it down, practice it over some Dom7 chords and memorize it.

Technique of the Saxophone: Chord Studies, by Joseph Viola, $10.47


Technique of the Saxophone: Scale Studies by Joseph Viola, $10.47

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Then let's try some others by ear.

Ascending: 1-3-5-7-9-11...then descend with 3-9-root-7-13-5-11-3-9-root.
Get that in a key you know. Like G7.
Then run that line over Ab7, A7, Bb7, B7, C7 , C#7 and D7 by ear. Using the "active mental imagery" you hear from the line. Then you can alter the chord tones, and create different choral lines. Like change the line to fit a Major chord. BY EAR!!! Using "A.M.I"

Or fit the line to work over a Minor 7th chord. Get my drift?
Try to get started some Major 7th Ionian ascending to descending exercises. Or reverse it!

The possibilities are endless and not only will it "lock you in" with hearing your chords better. This should help you to start to get your ear really solid on chord/scale functions. Go slow, listen and swing. Work hard! Don't forget...get the "Active Mental Image" in your ears while playing the exercises!

A.M.I = Active Mental Image. Use your ear and try this on as many chords as you can. Again special thanks to George on this for the computer help. Plus a big THANK YOU to all you great people who have e-mailed me or come to my gigs and told me how much these lessons have helped you. I appreciate it more than you can imagine.

OK, lets get to work. Get those horns out and start shedding!
Tim Price
November 20, 2003.


Created: November 20, 2003
Update: June 28, 2004

©2003-4 Harri Rautiainen
and respective authors

Tim Price is a Selmer Clinician, professional musician, jazz journalist and author. He teaches in New York City and Pennsylvania. Tim can be contacted for clinics, master classes, private teaching, gigs, and concerts by e-mail.

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