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Theory and Technique One by Rhayn Jooste

Tetrachord : scale series of four notes Legato: Bound, smooth; even passage of notes

Theory

If you have ever played scales, then you are unwittingly playing tetra chords; chances are you have never thought of scales as fragments that can be joined. These four note fragments can be connected in various ways to form larger 8 note segments, called scales. This lesson will concentrate only on 4 tetrachords:

Major 1 2 3 4 Minor 1 2 b3 4

Phrygian 1 b2 b3 4 Lydian 1 2 3 #4 (see music)

 

These can be added together to form the basis of the major scale and its modes. The tablature has been written across one string to help you learn and visualize the fragments. Aim to finger these in at least 2 – 3 different ways. An example (fingerings) of only the major tetrachord is included, you need to mould the fingerings for the others.

Modes.

Below is a chart with each mode and its two tetrachords. Each tetrachord can be added to another to form the 7 modes of the major scale. Modes are a mother scale (Ionian/major) that has 7 ways of opening: e.g. Dorian mode is 2 – 2, Aeolian is 6 – 6 etc.) Take special note that each tetrachord is conjoined with a tone (fret between) or a semi-tone (next fret) to the next. As an added bonus I have put the basic chord type these modes will work over in the last column. (see Giant Steps example)

PositionModeTetrachordJoinTetrachordChord
1Ionianmajor

tone

major

maj7

2

Dorian

minor

tone

minor

min7

3

Phrygian

phrygian

tone

phrygian

min7

4

Lydian

lydian

semi-tone

major

maj7

5

Mixolydian

major

tone

minor

Dom7

6

Aeolian

minor

tone

phrygian

min7

7

Locrian

phrygian

semi-tone

lydian

min7b5

Finally, understand and HEAR the difference between each tetrachord and their relationship to the scale you are building. This will aid your aural skills and help identifying them when heard in musical situations.

Technique

Tetrachords work wonderfully with hammer ons and pull offs. This technique forms musical passages that are smooth and connected with little or no space between notes and not picked.

Aim for even strikes with your left hand. The right hand pluck should be at the same level in energy as your next left hand finger. The rookie mistake here is to play a passage with a loud first note and then inaudible hammers or pull offs after. There are some starter exercises for those new to this technique or those a little rusty. Remember a pull off is actually a pull down – the left hand finger plucks the string in a down ward motion. NOT pulled off the strings! That is just its technical term.

Practice these with out an amp, once you can hear all notes clearly so will the electronics in your amp and cabs. Included in the tab are some musical ideas. Most of all remember practice can be fun, so do the exercise first to warm up and then place them in musical situations and burn up the fretboard or mark the giant steps changes. The only limit is your imagination.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Raul Amador

    Raul Amador

    February 8, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Hey Rhyan,
    Solid theory and technique make a world of difference in the possibilities of our growth as musicians!

    Nice job!

    🙂

  2. Rhayn Jooste

    Rhayn Jooste

    March 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks Raul, much appreciated. 😉

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