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String Theory: How to Create a Rolling Melody Using Chord Tones and Passing Notes

The following content is related to the June 2013 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.

Building upon the melody construction concepts I presented in the previous four columns, this month I offer the first half of a two-part etude I composed that demonstrates some neat examples of how useful scalar and chromatic passing tones can be, both musically and technically, in the art of crafting a flowing single-note line to play over a chord progression.

As a contextual framework, I’m borrowing a set of chord changes from the standard tune “There Will Never Be Another You,” a composition that ranks among many jazz musicians as a favorite improvisational vehicle over which to solo. The line I composed for this column, however, has more of a classical feel to it, with even eighth notes used instead of swing eighths. Also, it is played in the more guitar-friendly key of key of C (the original key is Ef) and is designed to appeal to aspiring students of not only jazz but also rock, metal and fusion guitar soloing.

PART ONE

PART TWO

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Over the past 30 years, Jimmy Brown has built a reputation as one of the world's finest music educators, through his work as a transcriber and Senior Music Editor for Guitar World magazine and Lessons Editor for its sister publication, Guitar Player. In addition to these roles, Jimmy is also a busy working musician, performing regularly in the greater New York City area. Jimmy earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Performance and Music Management from William Paterson University in 1989. He is also an experienced private guitar teacher and an accomplished writer.