Playing The Changes
In this series of videos, we look at how to play the changes to a song and be able to play melodic lines that smoothly flow over changing chords.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Smooth Chord Transitions
In this video, we look at how to play a melodic line that smoothly transitions from one chord to another.
Discuss this tutorial here.
timestamp 0:37  The Cmaj7 and Cmin7 chords have different sets of notes that we can choose from when playing over them, and transitioning from one chord to the other can be thought of as morphing from the first set of notes to the second.
timestamp 2:14  Mini-riffs are very short musical ideas that capture a particular sound. It's important to be able to play them in all 12 keys, so that you start thinking of them as musical ideas instead of just as a particular sequence of notes.
timestamp 3:10  Make up some mini-riffs that capture the sound of the Cmaj7 and Cmin7 chords, then combine them into melodic lines that span these two chords.

Some additional techniques used:

  • The major 3 and minor 3 are constrasted to emphasize the sound of the chord change and to give a smooth transition between the two chords.
  • Passing notes can be inserted between two mini-riffs to create a smooth transition between them.

timestamp 5:34  The aim is to be able to play a walking bass line that outlines the shape and sound of each chord. Once you can do that, simply embellish the melodic line, add some rhythmic variation, and you're soloing over the changes! clap
It's important to practise in 12 keys, not only because it's important to be able to play the basic chord changes in any key but also because it's a good way of generating new ideas!