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I'm currently playing in a trio, with vocals and guitar, doing quite a lot of reharmonizations of pop songs.

We have a version of Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill, and I'll be soloing over the opening riff. It's effectively a single 7/4 bar with the following sequence (concert pitch):

Dsus G#-7 B7sus B7 F#sus.

The bar is split as a group of three beats and then four beats, so the first two chords have a beat and a half each, the B7sus and B7 a dotted quaver each, and the F#sus for the final beat and a half (would be easier if I just notated.....)

The tonal centre for the song is kind of B major ish, but that really doesn't work over this sequence as the Dsus just throws spanners in! Given how short the progression is and how fast it moves I was trying to work on a scale that works across the lot, but starting to scratch my head a bit and when improvising it starts soubding very samey returning to the same character notes on the Dsus and G# minor.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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The tonal centre for the song is kind of B major ish, but that really doesn't work over this sequence as the Dsus just throws spanners in! Given how short the progression is and how fast it moves I was trying to work on a scale that works across the lot, but starting to scratch my head a bit and when improvising it starts soubding very samey returning to the same character notes on the Dsus and G# minor.
Yes, totally different key centre between D and B (even then the B has an A)

To be honest it's the kind of riff that is begging not to be improvised over, I'd work something melodic out in advance and (for the sake of my brain) I'd stick to it. It's a kind of folky song, keep it simple.
 

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FWIW, a fast progression doesn’t require you to play notes from each chord.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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FWIW, a fast progression doesn’t require you to play notes from each chord.
This is very true, you could stick to B (mixolydian) or maybe F# blues, that Dsus will be gone before anyone notices.
 

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Mrblackbat, you forgot to mention the bass line for this progression - super important! In the original there is a pedal point, something like

Dsus / B ; G # -7 / B; B7sus / B ; B7 / B ; F # sus.


We can combine chords 2-5 into one group. Thus, we are talking about a scale B Mixolydian :

B C# D# E F# G# A


For a short first chord, its three notes are quite sufficient. Another possibility: consider it as G add2 /B
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes, totally different key centre between D and B (even then the B has an A)

To be honest it's the kind of riff that is begging not to be improvised over, I'd work something melodic out in advance and (for the sake of my brain) I'd stick to it. It's a kind of folky song, keep it simple.
Yeah I have been thinking it might be best to write something out for this one, most of my improv ideas so far have just ended up fizzling out.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Mrblackbat, you forgot to mention the bass line for this progression - super important! In the original there is a pedal point, something like

Dsus / B ; G # -7 / B; B7sus / B ; B7 / B ; F # sus.


We can combine chords 2-5 into one group. Thus, we are talking about a scale B Mixolydian :

B C# D# E F# G# A


For a short first chord, its three notes are quite sufficient. Another possibility: consider it as G add2 /B
Ok, I think I see where you're coming from with the Gadd2/B... And if thinking of it being in B mixolydian, effectively that would just result in allowing to incorpoate a bit of bluesyness into the start.

Cheers guys given me some things to think about!
 
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