Arpeggios - Minor Sixths
We will continue with our theme of learning a new pattern using one that you are already familiar with. This month we will work with the Minor Sixth arpeggio, a pattern that will work over three different chords, expanding it’s usefulness even further. We will also learn a simple pattern to allow you to determine the three chords that this pattern works over quickly.
First, let’s determine the notes that the arpeggio consists of, by taking the first, third flatted, fifth, and sixth notes of the G Major scale. This gives us the notes G, Bb, D, and E, or to take a pattern we already know, use the same fingering as last month’s article, and flat the third. Remember that Major to Minor is always accomplished by flatting the third.
Always practice each of these new fingerings following the directions outlined in an earlier article, starting on the root, then the third, fifth and sixth of the arpeggio, over the whole range of your instrument in all twelve keys. Also try playing these patterns in different rhythmic groups from quarter notes all the way up through thirty second notes. Also be sure to practice in both ascending and descending patterns. Experiment, try anything, as this is how you will find better, more interesting ways to play these that sound more like music, and less like exercises.
Now take a closer look at the notes in the arpeggio. For Gm6, we have G. Bb, D, and E. Now try starting on the E note, as outlined in the exercises above. We now have E, G, Bb and D. If you have been following this column, you should recognize this as an Em7-5 arpeggio, and also, that this is your Major relative Minor relationship at work again. Take this a step further, and think of playing this over a C bass note. You now have C, E, G, Bb, and D, or a C9 arpeggio. As promised, we now have a fingering that will work over three different chords.
To remember this grouping of three, all you have to do is take the notes of a Major triad, and those will be your three chords. In our example, use the notes of a C Major triad, which would be C, E, and G. The sequence is 9, m7-5, and m6, so C9, Em7-5 and Gm6 are the three chords you can use this arpeggio fingering over. As you learn each one of these fingerings, look at the inversions and think about using different bass notes, to see if your current fingering could be used as an extension.
Hopefully, through these articles, you are learning to take a deeper look at all of your fingerings, scales and arpeggios to see if there is more to them than you first learned. It is very natural once you have learned something, to see it only in the manner first learned, often influenced by the instrument you play and it’s structure. That is why it is a good idea to listen to players of other instruments, and how they approach these patterns. Also re-examine these patterns to see if there is some other use that you may have missed. Getting in the habit of doing this will not only keep your playing fresh, but help you to find other uses that you may not have previously seen. Music is all about exploring and then re-exploring everything you learn.