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 Diatonic Thirds


Wynton Kelly Jazz

Improvising using phrases with diatonic thirds is a common bebop device.  If played from the root on a major scale it makes the following

 

1        3        5        7        9        11        13

 

This can make for some very interesting melodic possibilities.  3 5 7 9 is a strong sounding phrase with lots of color from the 7 and 9 on major chords.  Flat the 7th and you have a nice sound against dominant seventh chords. 

7 9 11 and 13 has nice color against major chords, but some don't like the sound of 11 against the third of the major, which is a half step clash.  Raising that to a sharp 11 is however a common bebop trait and has a wonderful sound against a major chord.  Just as above, lowering the seventh has a good dominant sound.

Another common device against a dominant chord is to play diatonic thirds on step lower.  Against a G7 chord, play  F A C E G (diatonic thirds in the F major scale).  An example is below. 

 

Practice all major diatonic thirds and get comfortable with how they are played.  A PDF file can be found HERE.   This file is for 5 string instruments, for 4 string just leave out the notes on the C string.

 

 

 

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