Hey Jazz Guy,
Once I’ve mastered the “jazz power chords,”
how can I better understand upper structures and
incorporate them into my playing? —Basic in
This is a way of exploring upper structure
harmony using triads on the guitar that I find
quite sonically delightful. Triads are easy to
play and they present an obvious color shift
in the harmony. All the examples here are
over Cmaj7 and the implied harmony is listed
as well. Ex. 1 shows the natural extensions of
the Cmaj7 chord (Lydian). All the triads contained
in that scale, G major, are fair game
for upper structure playing, so C, G, D, Em,
Bm, Am, etc, all work. In Ex 2, we’re following
the upper structure triads around the
cycle of 5ths, so we go from Cmaj7 (which
includes a G triad) to D, A, E, B, F#, C#, G#,
etc. Each triad is further from the home key
of C major, so will give a brighter sound. To
really hear this effect, play the later keys in
a higher register.
In the next example [Ex. 3],
we string some triads together and voice-lead
by half-steps, and return to Cmaj7 at the end.
Ex. 4 shows an intervallic approach, in which
the triads are connected by common tones
(the E and the A).
To go even further, here’s a concept I call
“stacking keys” in which instead of playing
only the upper-structure triads, you can play
in the key of that triad. So, in Ex. 5, we’re playing
the key of A on top of Cmaj7. We also go
through some other keys (D, G, B) until returning
to C major to finish out the line. This is a
deep topic, but shed these concepts, listen hard,
and master upper structures you will.
Jake Hertzog is the jazz ambassador to the
non-jazz world. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Jake’s latest release is
Bogner Amplification Unveils the Oxford Fuzz and Lyndhurst Compressor
The Killer Queens Join Comedy Central’s Colossal Clusterfest to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Wayne’s World
Sven Pipien of The Black Crowes Unveils Debut Album and Tour For New Band The Magpie Salute
Play Roland’s SPD::ONE Percussion Pads with Drumsticks, Hands or Feet
Sonokinetic Maximo Powerful Orchestral Sample Library Flash Sale: 33% Off
Novation Updates the Circuit Firmware to v1.5 with Requested Features
Mike Finnigan - My Favorite Organ Settings
RETRO AD REPRINT - Roland Jupiter-8 (1981)
Chick Corea Answers YOUR Questions!
Dan Auerbach Premieres “Waiting On a Song” Music Video
Are These the Top 10 Guitar Harmonies of All Time?
Watch Steve Vai Perform Led Zeppelin Classics with Zepparella
KLANG:fabrik Gets Inside The Heads Of Linkin Park
L-Acoustics ARCS WiFo Finds Favor With DC/Baltimore-Area Churches
Sully Meets the Challenges for RHCP with Rat Sound and L-Acoustics
Hear "Lady B. Goode," Chuck Berry's New Sequel to "Johnny B. Goode"
Review: Elektron Analog Drive Pedal
David Coverdale: I Feel Sorry for Jimmy Page Not Being Able to Reunite Led Zeppelin
Copyright ©2017 by NewBay Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 28 East 28th Street, 12th floor, New York, NY 10016 T (212) 378-0400 F (212) 378-0470