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Diminished Chords

Module 02


LESSON 1: Interval Study - Major 7th intervals
Intervals are one of the most overlooked practice items. However, I consider them just as important as practicing scales and chords. In this video, I demonstrate my approach to practicing major 7th intervals by playing them in the cycle, both ascending and descending.
This approach is great for the ear, and it will help you to recognize the interval when you hear it in melodies. Once you get this approach under your fingers and in your ears, we’ll take the next step with intervals and apply them to many different harmonic situations. (more videos on this subject are coming in the future).
After working with this video, review many of the melodies you like to play, and look for the presence of this interval used both ascending and descending. When you do this, your ear will start to pick up on the interval, and you’ll be hearing at a deeper level.

LESSON 2: Hearing the Location of the Root, 3rd, 5th, and 7th in Chords
This lesson demonstrates my system for hearing the location of a specific note in a chord. If you can already play your chords from the 1-3-5-7 ascending and 7-5-3-1 descending, this video will take you to the next level. This system has helped many of students reach a deeper level of hearing harmony, to the point where they can play a “C” and hear that note clearly in their mind’s ear as the Root, 3rd, 5th or 7th of any chord type.

LESSON 3: Transforming a Maj7 Chord into a Diminished (maj7) Chord
This is a common trick among pro players, temporarily transforming a maj7 chord into a dimMaj7 chord for added harmonic flavor.

LESSON 4: Six Melodic Variations on a Descending Minor 7th Chord
In this lesson, I discuss and demonstrate Six Melodic Variations on a Descending Minor 7th Chord, and the theory behind them.

LESSON 5: Sunrise/Sunset Neck Exercise
This lesson features a technique I call “Sunrise/Sunset” for improving your breath support and dynamics. I use the neck alone to produce a concert E, demonstrating some of the techniques I use to improve tone, dynamics, and breath control.

LESSON 6: The Butterfly Tongue
This lesson features a technique I call the “Butterfly Tongue.” The is a technique for slightly muting the note and changing the timbre while the tongue rests on the reed. Getz, Prez, and many of the old-school masters use this technique to achieve both ghosted 8th notes, as well as quickly repeated notes, similar in sound to double-tonguing, but much smoother. This is a challenging one, but well worth the effort!
LESSON 7: Road Tips - Location of Notes within Maj7 Chords - Part 2 of 3
In this lesson, I show you how to think of one note in four different locations within a major 7th chord. For example, C = Root of Cmaj7, but C = the 3rd of Abmaj7, C = the 5th of Fmaj7, and C = the 7th of Db maj7. The importance of enharmonic notes is also discussed in the video.

approx 40 min

Module 10


LESSON 1: Hip Lick #1 Video Lesson
In this video, we’ll explore a simple technique for creating variations on Hip Lick #1. This is part of a concept that I call “High Mileage.” High Mileage means that you have the ability to create many variations on any lick or pattern. This is a very important skill for any improvisor, and one of the major differences between the aspiring player and the professional…the pro can easily create variations on a theme, while the aspiring player just keeps repeating the same exact lick. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL.

LESSON 2: The “Speed Bag” for Fast Technique
In this video, I demonstrate a technique with I developed in my own practice sessions. I call it the “Speed Bag,” named for the small punching bag that boxers use to train for speed. I found that a continuous motion of notes gave me improved fluency of technique and increased speed ability. In this video, I use Hip Lick #1 to demonstrate the concept, but you can use this technique with any lick, prase or pattern. Watch this video to see one of the ways that I work on my high-speed chops. ADVANCED LEVEL.

LESSON 3: Minor 7b5 Chords - Piano Accompaniment Video
In this video lesson, I play the piano to accompany your practicing the minor 7b5 chords in all four directions: 1. UP 2. DOWN 3. UP/DOWN ALTERNATING and 4. DOWN/UP ALTERNATING. Play your saxophone along with this piano accompaniment and match the pitch and time of the piano. This is excellent training for the chords, and it will drastically improve your tone, pitch and time. Everything is played at a comfortable eighty-eight beats per quarter note, so it will not present a technical challenge. I have included full notation of the entire exercise for Concert, Eb Alto and Bb Tenor. To ensure your success as an improvising musician, it is absolutely essential that you learn these chords by memory and practice them daily. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL.

LESSSON 4: Diminished 7th Chords - Piano Accompaniment Video
In this video lesson, I play the piano to accompany your practicing the diminished 7th chords in all four directions: 1. UP 2. DOWN 3. UP/DOWN ALTERNATING and 4. DOWN/UP ALTERNATING. Play your saxophone along with this piano accompaniment and match the pitch and time of the piano. This is excellent training for the chords, and it will drastically improve your tone, pitch and time. Everything is played at a comfortable eighty-eight beats per quarter note, so it will not present a technical challenge. I have included full notation of the entire exercise for Concert, Eb Alto and Bb Tenor. To ensure your success as an improvising musician, it is absolutely essential that you learn these chords by memory and practice them daily. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL.

LESSON 5: Road Tips - The Db = ?
Greg shows how to keep your mind focused and sharp even when you’re away from the horn. This music theory game involves thinking of the note “Db” as different degrees of major scales. This note is a bit of a challenge, because it will sometimes be necessary to respell the scale to fit the note. For example, The key of Bb has “D” for the third note. So, that means that Bbb would have a “Db” for the third note. The problem is, that’s a “hypothetical” scale…it doesn’t really exist, because we can’t have double flats in the major scale system. So, it becomes necessary to respell the “Db” as a “C#,” which would give you that pitch acting as the third note in an A major scale. This can be confusing at first, but if you familiarize yourself with enharmonic spellings, it will get easier and easier for you to hear and place the Db (C#) as any degree of a major scale.

aprox 25 min

Module 28


LESSON 1: How to Play What You Hear in Your Head
In this video lesson, I share some of my techniques for getting the sounds in your head to come out on your horn.
This is an all “by ear” lesson. Includes a detailed description of the process involved in practicing to develop this unique skill. This lesson is a must for all playing levels, from beginner to advanced level

LESSON 2: Stan Getz Minor 2nd Interval placement - as the 3rd and 9th over a mi7 chord
In this video lesson, we’ll explore one of my favorite harmonic settings a minor second interval, acting as the 3rd / 9th / 3rd of a minor seventh chord. This has a very Getzian kind of sound…smooth and melodic. Includes page 22 from “Intervals in Action,” plus detailed PDF practice guide for C, Bb and Eb instruments. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL

LESSON 3: Phil Woods Turnaround Lick
In this video lesson, I explore what I call the “Phil Woods” turnaround lick. It uses two voice-leading notes to create a beautifully balanced, melodic line of eighth-notes.
We’ll work with a progression of: Emi7 A7b9 / Dmi7 G7b9 / Cmaj7 in the video, but the included PDFs have transposed parts for Eb, Bb and C instruments. Intermediate Level with some additional tips at the end of the video lesson for advanced players.

LESSSON 4: Bebop Tradition: How to Mix a Minor Triad with a Diminished 7th Chord
Part of the bebop tradition involves the usage of both upper extensions and implied harmony. The mixing of the minor triad with a diminished seventh chord adds a strong harmonic boost to any minor passage.
When you mix the diminished seventh chord in with the minor triad, the implied harmony is a temporary V7b9 chord that switches back to the i minor chord.
If this description sounds really complicated, let me just say that it’s a really cool sound, and it’s really easy to add this to your playing. You’ll definitely recognize it when you hear it. INTERMEDIATE and ADVANCED level. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb, and C instruments.

LESSON 5: Listening Recommendation: Charlie Parker with Strings
In this video, I discuss one of my all-time favorite albums, Charlie Parker’s masterpiece album, “Charlie Parker with Strings.” The album features popular standards from the Great American Songbook, arranged for the strings-plus-rhythm section. Parker at his most eloquent. One of my all-time favorites.

aprox 26 min

Module 34


LESSON 1: Four Directions - Thinking Locally and Globally

I often mention practicing in four directions for gaining mastery over your scales, chords and intervals. In this video lesson, I explore and explain the four directions. I describe the difference between thinking “locally” and “globally” when playing a sequential pattern.

This is a major concept that will help you improve your ear and your ability to memorize songs and musical vocabulary. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL. Includes PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 2: Finding the hidden Diminished and Augmented Chords in the Chromatic Scale

In this video lesson, I show you how to use the chromatic scale to diminished chords and augmented chords. Although I demonstrate these same chords in different video lessons (playing all of them on piano), this is an alternative approach, designed to help players that find it a real challenge learning the traditional way.

INTERMEDIATE LEVEL. Includes PDF practice notes.

LESSON 3: Exploring Hip Lick #37

In this video lesson, I work with lick #37 from the book “Hip Licks for Saxophone Volume 1.” This is a two-measure C7 lick that uses part of the bebop scale, contrary motion, sequence and a diatonic enclosure.

The lesson explores the lick from many different angles, taking the first half of the lick as a stand-alone lick. I also demonstrate how to create lots of rhythmic variations on the lick, as well as how to transpose the lick not only to twelve keys but how to make the first half of the lick in one key, while transposing only the second part of the lick. Whether you’re just starting out, and intermediate player, or a seasoned pro, there’s something in this lesson for all levels.
INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED LEVEL. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 4: The "Dooden" Tongue

In this video lesson, I share my technique for this popular special effect tonguing used by Getz, Bird, Pres and many of the top players from the Swing/Bop era. This one is intentionally an “all-ear” lesson, so there are no practice notes on this one.

Be sure and play along with me where indicated in the portion of the lesson where we’ll trade back and forth with the rhythm on the concert G while using the dooden tonguing effect. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL.

LESSON 5: Listening Recommendation: Clifford Brown • Max Roach

This amazing 1958 album has so many classics…Daahoud, Joy Spring, Jordu, Parisian Thoroughfare…all on the same album. The beauty and symmetry of Clifford’s playing throughout this album is breathtaking.

Also, check out the interaction between Max Roach and Clifford. Harold Land also is in great form on this album. One of my favorites.

aprox 39 min

Module 02


LESSON 1: Interval Study - Major 7th intervals
Intervals are one of the most overlooked practice items. However, I consider them just as important as practicing scales and chords. In this video, I demonstrate my approach to practicing major 7th intervals by playing them in the cycle, both ascending and descending.
This approach is great for the ear, and it will help you to recognize the interval when you hear it in melodies. Once you get this approach under your fingers and in your ears, we’ll take the next step with intervals and apply them to many different harmonic situations. (more videos on this subject are coming in the future).
After working with this video, review many of the melodies you like to play, and look for the presence of this interval used both ascending and descending. When you do this, your ear will start to pick up on the interval, and you’ll be hearing at a deeper level.

LESSON 2: Hearing the Location of the Root, 3rd, 5th, and 7th in Chords
This lesson demonstrates my system for hearing the location of a specific note in a chord. If you can already play your chords from the 1-3-5-7 ascending and 7-5-3-1 descending, this video will take you to the next level. This system has helped many of students reach a deeper level of hearing harmony, to the point where they can play a “C” and hear that note clearly in their mind’s ear as the Root, 3rd, 5th or 7th of any chord type.

LESSON 3: Transforming a Maj7 Chord into a Diminished (maj7) Chord
This is a common trick among pro players, temporarily transforming a maj7 chord into a dimMaj7 chord for added harmonic flavor.

LESSON 4: Six Melodic Variations on a Descending Minor 7th Chord
In this lesson, I discuss and demonstrate Six Melodic Variations on a Descending Minor 7th Chord, and the theory behind them.

LESSON 5: Sunrise/Sunset Neck Exercise
This lesson features a technique I call “Sunrise/Sunset” for improving your breath support and dynamics. I use the neck alone to produce a concert E, demonstrating some of the techniques I use to improve tone, dynamics, and breath control.

LESSON 6: The Butterfly Tongue
This lesson features a technique I call the “Butterfly Tongue.” The is a technique for slightly muting the note and changing the timbre while the tongue rests on the reed. Getz, Prez, and many of the old-school masters use this technique to achieve both ghosted 8th notes, as well as quickly repeated notes, similar in sound to double-tonguing, but much smoother. This is a challenging one, but well worth the effort!
LESSON 7: Road Tips - Location of Notes within Maj7 Chords - Part 2 of 3
In this lesson, I show you how to think of one note in four different locations within a major 7th chord. For example, C = Root of Cmaj7, but C = the 3rd of Abmaj7, C = the 5th of Fmaj7, and C = the 7th of Db maj7. The importance of enharmonic notes is also discussed in the video.

approx 40 min

Module 10


LESSON 1: Hip Lick #1 Video Lesson
In this video, we’ll explore a simple technique for creating variations on Hip Lick #1. This is part of a concept that I call “High Mileage.” High Mileage means that you have the ability to create many variations on any lick or pattern. This is a very important skill for any improvisor, and one of the major differences between the aspiring player and the professional…the pro can easily create variations on a theme, while the aspiring player just keeps repeating the same exact lick. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL.

LESSON 2: The “Speed Bag” for Fast Technique
In this video, I demonstrate a technique with I developed in my own practice sessions. I call it the “Speed Bag,” named for the small punching bag that boxers use to train for speed. I found that a continuous motion of notes gave me improved fluency of technique and increased speed ability. In this video, I use Hip Lick #1 to demonstrate the concept, but you can use this technique with any lick, prase or pattern. Watch this video to see one of the ways that I work on my high-speed chops. ADVANCED LEVEL.

LESSON 3: Minor 7b5 Chords - Piano Accompaniment Video
In this video lesson, I play the piano to accompany your practicing the minor 7b5 chords in all four directions: 1. UP 2. DOWN 3. UP/DOWN ALTERNATING and 4. DOWN/UP ALTERNATING. Play your saxophone along with this piano accompaniment and match the pitch and time of the piano. This is excellent training for the chords, and it will drastically improve your tone, pitch and time. Everything is played at a comfortable eighty-eight beats per quarter note, so it will not present a technical challenge. I have included full notation of the entire exercise for Concert, Eb Alto and Bb Tenor. To ensure your success as an improvising musician, it is absolutely essential that you learn these chords by memory and practice them daily. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL.

LESSSON 4: Diminished 7th Chords - Piano Accompaniment Video
In this video lesson, I play the piano to accompany your practicing the diminished 7th chords in all four directions: 1. UP 2. DOWN 3. UP/DOWN ALTERNATING and 4. DOWN/UP ALTERNATING. Play your saxophone along with this piano accompaniment and match the pitch and time of the piano. This is excellent training for the chords, and it will drastically improve your tone, pitch and time. Everything is played at a comfortable eighty-eight beats per quarter note, so it will not present a technical challenge. I have included full notation of the entire exercise for Concert, Eb Alto and Bb Tenor. To ensure your success as an improvising musician, it is absolutely essential that you learn these chords by memory and practice them daily. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL.

LESSON 5: Road Tips - The Db = ?
Greg shows how to keep your mind focused and sharp even when you’re away from the horn. This music theory game involves thinking of the note “Db” as different degrees of major scales. This note is a bit of a challenge, because it will sometimes be necessary to respell the scale to fit the note. For example, The key of Bb has “D” for the third note. So, that means that Bbb would have a “Db” for the third note. The problem is, that’s a “hypothetical” scale…it doesn’t really exist, because we can’t have double flats in the major scale system. So, it becomes necessary to respell the “Db” as a “C#,” which would give you that pitch acting as the third note in an A major scale. This can be confusing at first, but if you familiarize yourself with enharmonic spellings, it will get easier and easier for you to hear and place the Db (C#) as any degree of a major scale.

aprox 25 min

Module 28


LESSON 1: How to Play What You Hear in Your Head
In this video lesson, I share some of my techniques for getting the sounds in your head to come out on your horn.
This is an all “by ear” lesson. Includes a detailed description of the process involved in practicing to develop this unique skill. This lesson is a must for all playing levels, from beginner to advanced level

LESSON 2: Stan Getz Minor 2nd Interval placement - as the 3rd and 9th over a mi7 chord
In this video lesson, we’ll explore one of my favorite harmonic settings a minor second interval, acting as the 3rd / 9th / 3rd of a minor seventh chord. This has a very Getzian kind of sound…smooth and melodic. Includes page 22 from “Intervals in Action,” plus detailed PDF practice guide for C, Bb and Eb instruments. INTERMEDIATE LEVEL

LESSON 3: Phil Woods Turnaround Lick
In this video lesson, I explore what I call the “Phil Woods” turnaround lick. It uses two voice-leading notes to create a beautifully balanced, melodic line of eighth-notes.
We’ll work with a progression of: Emi7 A7b9 / Dmi7 G7b9 / Cmaj7 in the video, but the included PDFs have transposed parts for Eb, Bb and C instruments. Intermediate Level with some additional tips at the end of the video lesson for advanced players.

LESSSON 4: Bebop Tradition: How to Mix a Minor Triad with a Diminished 7th Chord
Part of the bebop tradition involves the usage of both upper extensions and implied harmony. The mixing of the minor triad with a diminished seventh chord adds a strong harmonic boost to any minor passage.
When you mix the diminished seventh chord in with the minor triad, the implied harmony is a temporary V7b9 chord that switches back to the i minor chord.
If this description sounds really complicated, let me just say that it’s a really cool sound, and it’s really easy to add this to your playing. You’ll definitely recognize it when you hear it. INTERMEDIATE and ADVANCED level. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb, and C instruments.

LESSON 5: Listening Recommendation: Charlie Parker with Strings
In this video, I discuss one of my all-time favorite albums, Charlie Parker’s masterpiece album, “Charlie Parker with Strings.” The album features popular standards from the Great American Songbook, arranged for the strings-plus-rhythm section. Parker at his most eloquent. One of my all-time favorites.

aprox 26 min

Module 34


LESSON 1: Four Directions - Thinking Locally and Globally

I often mention practicing in four directions for gaining mastery over your scales, chords and intervals. In this video lesson, I explore and explain the four directions. I describe the difference between thinking “locally” and “globally” when playing a sequential pattern.

This is a major concept that will help you improve your ear and your ability to memorize songs and musical vocabulary. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL. Includes PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 2: Finding the hidden Diminished and Augmented Chords in the Chromatic Scale

In this video lesson, I show you how to use the chromatic scale to diminished chords and augmented chords. Although I demonstrate these same chords in different video lessons (playing all of them on piano), this is an alternative approach, designed to help players that find it a real challenge learning the traditional way.

INTERMEDIATE LEVEL. Includes PDF practice notes.

LESSON 3: Exploring Hip Lick #37

In this video lesson, I work with lick #37 from the book “Hip Licks for Saxophone Volume 1.” This is a two-measure C7 lick that uses part of the bebop scale, contrary motion, sequence and a diatonic enclosure.

The lesson explores the lick from many different angles, taking the first half of the lick as a stand-alone lick. I also demonstrate how to create lots of rhythmic variations on the lick, as well as how to transpose the lick not only to twelve keys but how to make the first half of the lick in one key, while transposing only the second part of the lick. Whether you’re just starting out, and intermediate player, or a seasoned pro, there’s something in this lesson for all levels.
INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED LEVEL. Includes detailed PDF practice notes for Bb, Eb and C instruments.

LESSON 4: The "Dooden" Tongue

In this video lesson, I share my technique for this popular special effect tonguing used by Getz, Bird, Pres and many of the top players from the Swing/Bop era. This one is intentionally an “all-ear” lesson, so there are no practice notes on this one.

Be sure and play along with me where indicated in the portion of the lesson where we’ll trade back and forth with the rhythm on the concert G while using the dooden tonguing effect. INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED LEVEL.

LESSON 5: Listening Recommendation: Clifford Brown • Max Roach

This amazing 1958 album has so many classics…Daahoud, Joy Spring, Jordu, Parisian Thoroughfare…all on the same album. The beauty and symmetry of Clifford’s playing throughout this album is breathtaking.

Also, check out the interaction between Max Roach and Clifford. Harold Land also is in great form on this album. One of my favorites.

aprox 39 min