Sweeten Your Sax Solos with Sixths

Just a little "S" alliteration to brighten your day. Think you can say the above headline ten times, fast? It's true, though. If you want to sweeten up your improvised solos, then get familiar with the interval of the sixth. There's none sweeter. Practice the sixth as an interval study on all your major scales, up and down. And think about its application. Remember that the sixth is the inversion of the third, and it possesses the opposite quality of its corresponding third. If the third is a major third, then when you invert it, you'll get a minor sixth. And vice versa: a minor third inverted becomes a major sixth. A standard and particularly pleasing use of the sixth is to jump from the third of the tonic chord up to its root at the end of a passage. But that's just for starters; there are many ways to incorporate the sixth into your improvised solos. And sequences work beautifully, which is good incentive to spend time with diatonic sixth studies on major scales, as I've recommended above. The sixth is particularly nice when you approach it with neighboring tones and passing tones. I may put together some exercises to get you started exploring the possibilities, so stay tuned. The sixth is a really handy interval to have in your arsenal as a sax player, and it's well worth taking the time required to wrap your fingers around it.
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