Charlie Banacos Mushrooms Concept

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Charlie Banacos Mushrooms Concept

Charlie Banacos Mushrooms Concept

I studied with the inspiring music guru Charlie Banacos for 5 intense years. He introduced me to so many concepts of improvisation and composition, I could easily spend many lifetimes working on all of it. Because I wanted to pass along his teaching legacy, many of his concepts have been included in my books in way or another.     Charlie called one of his approaches “Mushrooms” and they became part of many courses that are now available on the website.  The overall idea of Charlie Banacos Mushrooms Concept is to take any group of notes and figure out everywhere that you could play those notes as a melodic line or a harmony.  This concept will “Mushroom” your playing because anything you learn can be used in a multitude of ways. Let’s take as an example the notes of a C Major 7 chord C, E, G, and B.  Then let’s look at some of the places where you could use those notes.  In order to do this we have to know the possible chord tones and tensions that are available for any chord type.    

Chord Tones and Available Tensions

From looking at the information in these books you would find for instance that a dominant chord can have:

  • Chord Tones: 1,3,5,b7
  • Tensions: b2, 2, b3, b5, b6, and 6

Charlie Banacos Mushrooms Concept appears in many courses on the website here are some of those courses:

Applying Charlie Banacos Mushrooms Concept

Let’s now look at some possible places where C, E, G, and B would work as a chord replacement or for that matter a melodic line.  Playing the C, E, G, and B over the following chords would work because those four notes are either chord tones or available tensions on the following 7th chords:

  • D7
  • Eb7
  • Bb7
  • A7

There would be more possibilities if we included avoid notes in our calculations but believe me the list is large enough without this information.  Charlie would add one more step to the “Mushrooms.”  You then add in Approach Notes to the new superimposed notes.  You will find a detailed explanation of this in the Approach Note Course.  

An Easy Way to Apply Charlie Banacos Mushrooms Concept

Coming up with a list of every chord that C, E, G, and B will work over is time consuming and it’s easy to miss some relationships.  To solve this I created the Sonic Resource Guide which lists every possible combination of two to eleven notes and which chord each of those pitch class sets can be used over.  That list is something I access daily (although I pretty much have it memorized at this point) as I work with various note combinations. But think of the Sonic Resource Guide as Charlie Banacos Mushrooms Concept on steroids.

The Sonic Resource Guide is part of the Pitch Class Theory Course Bundle which also comes with the Tools for Modern Improvisation and the Bruce Arnold Composition Companion.  So think of the Sonic Resource Guide as your reference book for every combination of notes and the Tools for Modern Improvisation as a book that shows you some common uses of many improvisational techniques derived from the Sonic Resource Guide. Finally, the Composition Companion shows you examples of real music using these ideas.


Hopefully you can see the powerful uses of a book like Sonic Resource Guide because through the listing of every possible way to combine a group of notes within a octave you can easily take any group of notes and look up all its relationships.  This is why I recommend that all students have the Sonic Resource Guide.  It is the key to finding all the relationships such as the Charlie Banacos Mushrooms Concept and many others.

Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-10 Minor Key Ear Training Applying Pitch Class Set Course Charlie Banacos Mushrooms Concept

Bruce Arnold Music Education Genealogy Chart

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

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