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What Are Chromatic Approach Notes

How to Add Chromaticism to Your Solos and Improve Your Playing

As a musician, you may have experienced the feeling of playing in one scale over a single chord for an extended period of time, and it can become a bit bland if you only use the major scale. To add some spice, you can start adding chromaticism by embellishing the chord tones. Essentially, you're targeting chord tones but using chromatic embellishments.

A chromatic approach note means you can approach a chord tone above or below with a semitone. The idea is to create tension and resolution by hitting a seemingly wrong note, and then quickly resolving it onto a strong chord tone. This works well on the triads because the resolution gives you the clarity of the chord.

To practice this technique, you can use different patterns. For example, you can start with the first exercise on the sheet that has an "a" underneath as an approach note, and the other notes are just the chord tones. By playing through the triad and adding a semitone in front of the first note, then playing inversions of the triad, you can create a nice little line with some chromatic spice. This gives it more flavour.

In addition to chromatic approach notes, you can also use chromatic passing tones. A chromatic passing tone is a non-chord tone that connects two chord tones by a half-step. This technique can add tension and colour to your solos. You can use it to create a smooth transition between two chord tones. For example, you can start with a chord tone, then add a chromatic passing note, and end with another chord tone. This creates a sense of direction and purpose in your playing.

In conclusion, adding chromaticism to your solos can make your playing more interesting and dynamic. By using techniques of embellishing the chord tones, such as chromatic approach notes and chromatic passing tones, you can create tension and release, which makes your solos more exciting. Practice different patterns and variations, and experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you.

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