Chromatic Exercises: Descending and Ascending Lines Against Static Tones

chromatic-lines-mscz-1The thumbnail to your cleft contains a couple of patterns I like to practice from time to time to limber up my ability to interpolate chromatic lines with common tones. I’ve also included a third exercise that I just thought of, and since I’ll be incorporating it into my saxophone practice sessions from now on, I figured I’d drop it into your lap as well. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge it.

The repeat signs don’t mean repeat just once; they mean repeat ad infinitum until the pattern is laying easily under your fingers. Then bump it up or down a half step and practice it in the new key. Repeat this process until you own the pattern in all twelve keys throughout the full range of your instrument.

While each pattern begins by outlining an A minor triad, it implies other harmonies as the chromatic line descends or ascends while the remaining tones remain static. I’ll leave it to you to figure out different practical applications.

You’ll find plenty more patterns, exercises, solo transcriptions, and articles of interest to jazz musicians on my jazz page.

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  1. Can’t read the notes. They’re not clear, even when enlarged.

  2. Thanks for pointing it out, Mal. I apologize for the lack of clarity. For some reason, the staves reproduce unevenly for me in WordPress. The original image files look fine, but something happens once I post them, and so far I haven’t found a solution. Believe me, I’ve tried.

    I’ve trusted readers to fill in the blanks, but your raising the issue reinforces to me that it’s a problem which requires attention. Other sites have clear images, so I’ve got to believe there’s a fix. Going back to scanning handwritten examples seems absurd when the technology ought to work.

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