School of Arts

The blog of the School of Arts at the University of Surrey

Harmonic Literacy for Guitar VIII – Endless Lines on Static Minor Chords

Continuing from the last study, let’s take a CAGED approach to the minor or minor 7 chord. This will involve Dorian, Melodic Minor, Aeolian, Dorian bebop, Minor blues and other bebop devices. A Dorian key signature is given as this is a central modal component in a lot of static minor chord playing. These have […]


Harmonic Literacy for Guitar VII – Endless Lines on Static Dominant Chords.

A real challenge in playing jazz guitar lies in the performance of long seamless lines. This of course is only a small component of improvisation, but it’s worth working on, as the sort of motor control and brain-finger connection has to be really developed. Using the CAGED system established previously, we’ll look at playing over […]


Adapting Harmonic Techniques: Learning from Adès

What follows is a selected extract from my research proposal that gives an insight into my own harmonic practices. I hope you find it interesting! Since beginning the PhD course in September, I have completed three pieces for various chamber ensembles: Focus for chamber orchestra, H.O.C for the Marici Saxophone quartet and A Sentimental Tension […]


Oh Mahler, Wouldn’t you just *die* without him?

In celebration of the life and music of Mahler, the University of Surrey are hosting a 3-day event of concerts, talks and artistic events. I’ll be there tweeting the Late Romantic/Modernist hell out of it.  Here are the details: Gustav Mahler Centenary Conference A 3-day celebration of the music and culture of the Austrian composer […]


Harmonic Literacy for the Guitar VI: Minor Challenge. iiø-Valt-i all over the shop.

Following on from the challenge in the last post – developing ii-V-I vocabulary all over the fingerboard –  the following study takes a similar approach for minor ii-V-i patterns, for example Dm7(b5) – G7alt – Cm7. This will greatly enhance useful vocabulary. Furthermore all of the G7alt material may be readily used in a major […]


Harmonic Literacy for the Guitar V: ii-V-I Isn’t this a lot of fun.

The following short document uses an approach that provides 40 useful ii-V-I lines in every position of the guitar fingerboard, greatly aiding fluency of long improvised lines through jazz harmony. Hard work, but big returns. As ever, enjoy the process of practising and earn the resulting creative freedom. Yeah.

ii-V-I lines CAGED

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