The M3 guitar - Straight road

Straight road

The M3 is not the most scenic of motorways, it has to be said. Still, it could be worse. It could be the M1.

Modal jazz

Tunes in the style of modal jazz are extremely simple harmonically. The word 'modal' is derived from mode, which indicates that only a few scale modes are used. The reasoning behind this purist approach is that by avoiding a lot of chord changes, the improvisors get a better chance to stretch and elaborate on themes. It is a noble idea, but unfortunately it has provided an army of mediocre bands with a license to perform some excruciatingly dull versions of a couple of jazz classics. If you are going to do 9 minutes of D minor, with the occasional Eb minor thrown in, make sure you can play D minor very, very well.

The classic modal jazz tune is So What (mp3, pdf, tef) by Miles Davis. It has an AABA structure. The A's are eight bar phrases in D minor, and the B is identical to the A's except it is in Eb minor, a half-step above the D minor. John Coltrane later wrote Impressions (mp3), which is just a different melody played over the same two chords. My arrangements of those tunes are unadventurous. I have inserted a couple of fast runs in order to try to break the monotony.