Four-Note Diatonic Triad Cells


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“This book is so clear and concise, and addresses by far the coolest innovation in modern jazz improvisation: how to use triads with approach notes.”

– Ted Meyer, tenor saxophonist, Los Angeles

For all treble clef instruments. Downloadable in pdf format, 216 pages. Price: $16.00

In any genre of Western music, one of the most basic building blocks of melody is the diatonic triad (major and minor, in all inversions). From early jazz, through bebop and beyond, triads are a fundamental part of the tonal language. As an improvising musician, having the skill to effortlessly connect triads in their various inversions via leading tones (half-step voice leading) can give you great fluency, as well as nearly endless melodic movement possibilities. In Four-Note Diatonic Triad Cells: Comprehensive Studies in Leading Tones, I present a methodical way to approach mastery of this skill.

The concept is simple, but comprehensive: I’ve organized all major and minor triads into “four-note melodic cells” (the notes of the triad itself, plus a fourth note, which generally functions as a passing tone, or leading tone). I’ve presented the triads in all their basic inversions, and connect them one to another via half-step leading tones. Some of these leading tones are diatonic (either a note from the triad itself, or a note from the scale from which the triad is formed), or chromatic. This books functions primarily as a playable reference (or thesaurus, of sorts) on how diatonic triads can be connected by these two types of leading tones. All intervallic movement possibilities of the cells are presented (e.g.,  ascending and descending minor 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, etc.), in all chord quality combinations (major; minor; major to minor; minor to major). Each triad cell pattern/inversion is connected by both upper and lower neighbor leading tones. By design, this “four-note” organization of these triads will sometimes manifest itself into four-note chords (e.g. Major 7, Minor 6, dominant 7, etc.)

Converting the triads into these four-note cells makes them most readily available to the movement and subdivision of “four”, which is still the rhythmic staple of the modern jazz melodic language. There is a Reference Chapter in the book that demonstrates how to apply all of these triad cell movement possibilities over ii-V7 cycles. Through comprehensive study and regular practice with this book you will:

  • Become intimately aware of, and capable of, connecting triads via leading tones
  • Bridge the gap between the more traditional bebop language and a more modern, non-stylized tonal language emerging in jazz
  • Increase your fluidity in improvising continuously moving melodic lines
  • Challenge and improve your ears
  • Broaden your understanding of harmonic relationships and the application of harmonic substitutions
  • Open up more possibilities to yourself in any style of linear improvisation (over harmonic forms, or not)
  • Improve your technique
  • Improve your sight-reading

I’ve written this book with the intermediate to very advanced improviser in mind. The book assumes your knowledge, theoretical understanding and basic technical skill with major and minor triads in all keys. And for you advanced students of improvisation: Think you’ve mastered your major and minor triads? Think again. Although this concept is simple, it is vast in melodic movement possibilities.

For all treble clef instruments. Downloadable in pdf format, 216 pages. Price: $16.00

Click the link below for a pdf SAMPLE EXERCISE from the book:

Four-Note Diatonic Triad Cells Sample-pdf

If you’d like to gain more of an idea about the concept, format, benefits and practice guidelines found in the book, click the link below for a pdf copy of the INTRODUCTION CHAPTER:

Four-Note Diatonic Triad Cells Introduction Chapter-pdf

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If you have any questions about the material in this book, or are having any problems downloading the pdf, please contact me. I’ll get back to you promptly. Thanks!