A 4-Note Swiss Army Knife
For Serious Improvisers of All Levels!
The “Super 4” is a collection of four tetratonic (4-note) structures, bound together by a consistent set of intervals and their inversions, resulting in a handy, streamlined tool with which to create colorful melodic lines over multiple chord types, while at the same time avoiding some of the more time-worn cliches.
Originating from a set of well known piano voicings, these structures form a quartet of unique 4-note “scales”. Due in large part to the presence of the intervals of a minor 2nd and tritone, they offer a good deal of “bite”.
This harmonic and melodic tension was first fully appreciated by such innovators as Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, et al in the early 1960s and beyond.
The goal of this book is to present these voicings as a horizontal melodic (i.e. scalar) concept, with the single-line instrumentalist in mind. The introductory exercises and sequences, in 12 keys, found in the first chapter are designed to develop technical facility as well as aural familiarity with the shapes and sounds of the Super 4 tetratonic.
A pair of etudes, based on the chord changes of “Invitation” and a “Blues in Super-4”, round out the book in the final chapter. With its melody, minor ii-Vs and tonality, “Invitation” is the perfect study for the Super 4 tetratonic.
Both etudes are presented in Bb, Eb and Concert keys.
Creating meaningful musical lines with fewer note choices can be fun, challenging and rewarding - especially with an all-purpose tool like “The Super 4”.
- Bobby Stern
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