Using Melodic Sequences in Soloing
A sequence is a melodic motif (phrase) that repeats starting on different starting notes.
They are great picking exercises and are valuable as melodic building blocks in improvisation.
Yngwie Malmsteen loves them (at 1:27, at 1:49, at 1:59, at 3:24, at 4:20, at 5:48)
And tons of them here (Check at 0:56 to hear Yngwie play an example slowly) 🙂
Neo-classical shred guitarists sometimes go overboard in their use of melodic sequences.
Shredders rely so heavily on melodic sequences because the scalar nature of those sequences, and the consistent repetition of the motif making up the sequence, make for a consistent picking pattern, which facilitates fast playing.
But it’s not just Yngwie who uses melodic sequences.
Everybody from jazz, to fusion, shredders, prog rock, instrumental, to classical, to classic rock guitarists use melodic sequences in their solos.
To give you another example, there is actually one in the Hotel California solo at 5:26.
But there is an even better one in that same solo!
As a matter of fact: the most memorable part of that solo that everybody always remembers, starting at 5:39, is a fantastic example of a melodic sequence.
Following are some examples of melodic sequences.
Example 4 & 5
In a couple of weeks, we’ll cover more examples like these when we’ll cover scale patterns.
Here’s a video showcasing the above examples.
A melodic sequence is an improvisation tool you want to be aware of.
It’s an important concept in soloing that you can use to create a sense of direction and to build momentum in a solo.
Due to the repetitive aspect that is part of this concept: melodic sequence also adds structure and form to a solo.
When overused, they can possibly sound tedious or too repetitive. (Depending on your taste)
However: if you don’t use melodic sequences at all in your soloing, you miss out on the great benefits they offer.
Your improvisations would greatly benefit from practicing melodic sequences.
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