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Exploring Improvisation Using Tetrachords
Published: 2014-01-02 12:42:23

Traditionally, a tetrachord is a series of four tones filling in the interval of a perfect fourth. In modern usage a tetrachord is any four-note segment of a scale or tone row including the augmented fourth (+4). The term tetrachord derives from ancient Greek music theory, it literally means four strings.

A Tetrachord of tetrascale approaches improvisation utilizing this smaller module of four notes vs. a more traditional scale approach. This smaller module becomes a bit more manageable when initially exploring improvisation.

3 Lessons in the “Exploring Improvisation Using Tetrachords” Series

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UL115a

Tetrachords: Major (1 2 3 4)

Traditionally, a tetrachord is a series of four tones filling in the interval of a perfect fourth. In modern usage a tetrachord is any four-note segment of a scale or tone row including the augmented fourth (+4). The term tetrachord derives from ancient Greek music theory, it literally means four strings.

The Major tetrachord is the 1 2 3 4 of a Major or Mixolydian scale.

Chords with a major third in them can use a tetrachord with a major third in them.

C, C7, Cmaj7, C+7

Tetrachords with a Major third include Major, Lydian, Phrygian Major, Major +2, Lydian +2, Phrygian Major +4.

UL115b

Tetrachords: Lydian (1 2 3 #4)

Traditionally, a tetrachord is a series of four tones filling in the interval of a perfect fourth. In modern usage a tetrachord is any four-note segment of a scale or tone row including the augmented fourth (+4). The term tetrachord derives from ancient Greek music theory, it literally means four strings.

The Lydian tetrachord is the 1 2 3 #4 of a Lydian, Lydian Dominant or Whole Tone scale.

Chords with a major third in them can use a tetrachord with a major third in them.

C, C7, Cmaj7, C+7

Tetrachords with a Major third include Major, Lydian, Phrygian Major, Major +2, Lydian +2, Phrygian Major +4.

UL115c

Tetrachords: Phrygian Major ( 1 b2 b3 4 )

Traditionally, a tetrachord is a series of four tones filling in the interval of a perfect fourth. In modern usage a tetrachord is any four-note segment of a scale or tone row including the augmented fourth (+4). The term tetrachord derives from ancient Greek music theory, it literally means four strings.

The Phrygian Major tetrachord is the 1 b2 b3 4 of a Phrygian, Locrian or Diminished scale.

Chords with a major third in them can use a tetrachord with a major third in them.

C, C7, Cmaj7, C+7

Tetrachords with a Major third include Major, Lydian, Phrygian Major, Major +2, Lydian +2, Phrygian Major +4

Just browsing over both books, they look fantastic! I'm a guitarist and uke player for over 25 years and was thinking about writing a ukulele book but you've already written what I think are the best, most comprehensive and thorough books I've ever seen for the instrument. I just might end up buying every book you've written and I'll be giving my highest recommendation for your books to my friends and students. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great books! — Peter Rhee

Aloha, Curt, All I can say is WOW! What you have accomplished is simply incredible! All the best — Glen Hirabayashi, The Aloha Boys

Folks, if you haven't stopped by Curt's site, do so right now! ..And get his books, they are fantastic. This guy knows his stuff and is able to pass it along too. — Alan Johnson Proprietor, The 4th Peg

I can highly recommend Curt's Uke books — I have four of them and they are excellent. — fatveg — Portland

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