Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tritone Examples

When I first delved into Slonimsky's Thesaurus I was particularly absorbed by the work that was done in the dividing of octaves and in tritone progressions. Nevertheless, the examples were not well-suited for the guitar and I began to explore the possibility of creating symmetrical passages that were conducive to my style of play. I posted a video of my findings on YouTube and erroneously called it Tritone Slonimsky Stuff. And although the licks are all based on the principle element of the first chapter of the book, the material that I came up with has little to do with replicating any specific examples found within it.

My mission was to create as many bizarre examples as possible and have them all move up and down the neck in tritones, or, an augmented 4th/diminished 5th. I've created even more examples since then, the options you have are almost boundless, but for the sake of concision I've tabbed only the examples that are to be found in my video. I'll explain each of the 15 examples individually.

1. A 3 note per string whole tone scale. The ascending motif is always alternate picked and starts with a downstroke, the descending part is a mixture of 4 picked notes and a quick 3 note pull-off. I use this kind of picking mix because it makes for a fluid sound and is much quicker.

2. Stretchy lick. You can look at this two ways: 1) the lick is a root and major third going up in tritones and grouped into 4's or, 2) you're playing a 4 note (r, 3, b5, b7) scale in groups of 4. Either way the sound is awesome and the example is tough. Ascending is a mixture of hammer-ons and picking, the descending is much easier for the example and uses strict alternate picking.

3. Stretchier lick. This is the same exact pattern except only ascending and the notes are (1, 4, b5, 7) this time and the lick is a bit wider. Be careful not to overexert yourself on this kind of lick, you can easily end up with tendinitis like I once did. If you were to extend this type of lick another chromatic step and respect the tritone movement you'd have a weird doubled-up octave and b5 lick (1, b5, b5, octave).

4. 1, 2 and b3 going up in tritones. Alternate picking all the way to the short rest on the high E string and then you're off to a sweeping/pull-off lick that travels diagonally and chromatically across the fretboard. The double upstroke on the sweeping is more of an aggressive picking approach, you have to really dig in to it.

5. 1, 2 b3 again but the picking pattern changes a little bit. Similar descending movement but the shape is more of an augmented one.

6. 1, 2, b3 in thirds and always moving to a tritone on the next string. The descending part moves symmetrically and doesn't really adhere to a tonality. The final ascending area begins on Eb and moves up like example 5.

7. This one gets all four fingers involved. The pattern is four notes per string, three strings up and one string down, all the way to the top.

8. Same movement but a different fingering.

9. Slides! One pick stroke per string. The pattern is a half whole diminished.

10. I see this one as sliding into a major scale 3 note pattern, you repeat this on every tritone interval up the neck.

11. In this one you're sliding with your pinky, what a blast.

12. You can either pick this one or play it all with slides and hammer-ons; it's tabbed as the latter.

13. Another slippery variation of the half-whole diminished scale. All done in hammer-on and pull-offs.

14. This symmetrical lick is so fun to play and, once again, that aggressive double upstroke comes back into play. When you reach the bottom section of the lick it moves over chromatically and sweeps its way back up to be repeated yet again.

15. The exact same technique is used here but we're moving diagonally downwards to the lower left half of the fretboard.

1 comment:

  1. There's enough stuff HERE to keep me busy ALL SUMMER and beyond!