Pitch Class Set Theory and Practice Courses

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Pitch Class Set Theory and Practice Courses

Pitch Class Set Theory and Practice Courses

Here’s what’s covered in the Pitch Class Set Theory and Practice Courses.  The three courses combine étude-like exercises with a theory section explaining how these études were created.   That is what sets them apart from the Pitch Class Set Improvisation Études Courses which basically just give you études without any theory attached.

Organizing Pitches in New Ways

One of the main ingredients of pitch class set improvisation is organizing pitches in new ways to create a unique sounding melodic line.  The three courses (described below) within the Pitch Class Set Theory and Practice Course Bundle do this by either combining a hexatonic scale (6 notes) into two groups of three notes and pivoting back and forth between these two groups or using an octatonic scale (8 notes) and pivoting back and forth between two groups of four notes.

Historic Background of Pitch Class Set Theory and Practice Courses

Pivoting back and forth between two groups of three notes was one of McCoy Tyner’s favorite melodic tools, and he used it for improvisation as well as composition.  If you check out “Passion Dance” in the Real Book you will see McCoy pivoting back and forth between two major triads a whole step apart.  This creates a great sound and can be done with any two groups of three notes whether they are tertial triads or not.

Three Courses in the Pitch Class Set Theory and Practice Course Bundle

Symmetrical Trichord Pairs looks at all the combinations of two groups of three notes that are identical in their structure.  For a student learning this new way of improvising, having two symmetrical groups of three notes makes it easier to physically get these ideas under your fingers but also makes it easier to remember these combinations because both group of notes are identical in structure.

Trichord Sweep Pairs looks at all possible combinations of two three note groups and make these combinations into a six note arpeggio.  These six note arpeggios or sweeps as guitarists usually call them create very intriguing sounds.  For guitarists, these six note arpeggios can be played very fast because you are basically just strumming across six strings which can be played very quickly.  In order to properly develop this sweep technique I would recommend guitarists also take a look at the Guitar Technique and Physiology course to make sure they are developing the proper way to do this.

The last is the Tertial Octatonics Course which looks at all the eight note scales that can be created with two 7th chords.  This is a really great course because if you already know how to play 7th chords you can quickly put two of them together to create a very cool sound.  The book again gives you the theory behind each combination and the chord types that you can superimpose this sound over.

All three of these courses found in the Pitch Class Set Theory and Practice Course Bundle really give you some unique ways of combining three and four note groups of notes to create some new sounding melodic lines.  I personally like these courses because they allow me to be very compositional in my playing over any piece of music.  What I do, is look at the interval content of the melody of a song and then use that interval content to solo with the ideas presented in all of the books in the Pitch Class Set Improvisation Courses.

Making Your Improvisation Relate More to a Composition

You could think of this approach as playing off a melody of a piece of music, but on steroids.  You can do this both melodically and harmonically which can really take a piece of music to a very interesting place.  Just a quick example.  If you took the Jazz Standard “Stella By Starlight” and analyze the melody you would find that it is made up of mostly half steps and minor third movements.  That is an 013 in pitch class set theory.  Playing all the chords as 013’s really creates a very modern sounding version of this tune.

But you can do this with any style from Heavy Metal to Classical to Jazz! It works great and is one of the major reasons I got so involved in this Pitch Class Set Improvisation idea in the first place.

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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 Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

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