Arpeggios - Minor Sevenths
Continuing with our exploration of arpeggios, this month we will go over the Minor Seventh arpeggio. Remembering that all of these larger arpeggios are just the basic triads with additions, all we need to do to form the Minor Seventh arpeggio is to start with our basic minor triad, and add the flatted seventh from the appropriate scale to complete our arpeggio.
We will work with a Gm arpeggio as our example. Start with a Gm triad, which would be G, Bb, and D. Now go to the G major scale and flat the seventh, which would give us an F. Our completed arpeggio would then be G, Bb, D, and F. Remember that when forming any arpeggio, you always have to use the notes from the Major scale that is the same name as the arpeggio that you are forming.
Now, compare this to the notes in your G rock, (or Gm Pentatonic), scale. Notice how well it fits into this scale pattern. The notes of the scale are G, Bb, C, D, and F. Always look to see what scale will work with these so that you know what notes to use to fill in around your arpeggio ideas. Think of the arpeggio as target notes that you want to start or finish on, not always as a stand-alone idea. This is a more vertical way of thinking as you build your lines.
Think about what the function of the chord in the piece is where you are using the arpeggio to help select the correct scale. Is it a II, III, or VI chord? This will help you select an appropriate scale to fill in around the arpeggio, but try as many different scales as you can come up with to see which one gives you the sound that you are after.
Another thing to notice is that, if you look at the upper three notes of this arpeggio, you have a major triad. Remember, you just have to take the flatted third in this case, and build a major triad to give you the Minor Seventh arpeggio without the root. This is a good way to practice these, as well as play them, since you will not need to play the root, because you usually have a bass player filling this role, (unless of course you are a bass player).
As with all your previous arpeggios, practice in all twelve keys and in as many different permutations as you can come up with. It is essential that you break out of patterns as soon as possible and make these new concepts a musical addition to your playing, rather than rote repeated patterns that have no life. That is always the hardest part for most beginning players, so really get comfortable with each of these as we go along before starting the next.