Writing fills help
Just wanting a better understanding of writing fills when changing chord.
If say we are in G maj and the chord progression goes from Amin7 to D7, would you start a fill using a Amin7 appegio or A Dorian sort of thing (just as examples) and land on a D7 chord tone, OR would you start on the D7 (even over the Amin7) appegio etc?
I hear some big long fills being used and just wonder, are they over the chord being used at the time or are they using the notes of the chord they are going to?:confused:
I know this may be basic, but any help or ideas would be appreciated
A large percentage of the fills I hear are scalar. So, usually they are non-chord tones. Try using licks or just scalar passages until beat 1 of the next chord. (Or wherever you want to "land")
What you described is also a good solution. Playing chord tones of the current chord and resolving to the next. The coolest fills, in my opinion, are chromatic. It causes a tension that must resolve. It makes the next chord so much sweeter. So, going from an Amin to a D7, I would try to end my fill with an Eb, causing a good amount of tension before finally resolving to the root of the next chord.
The same goes for drum fills. When the fill is uneasy or sounds out of time, it causes the listener to be uneasy and to yearn for the return of the groove. Nothing is sweeter than when you hear a drummer start a fill and you think to yourself "there is no possible way for them to make it safely back to beat 1", and then they do.
It depends on what sound you are going for. As a complete safety net for getting started, you can go with the chord tones of the chords being played while they are being played. So yes, Am7 chord tones over Am7 and D7 chord tones over D7. Then add passing notes/scale tones. In G Major, you could use the A dorian scale over Am7 and D Mixolydian in order to give an overall diatonic feel. That will all give the fills a very definite sound of that particular chord progression. Then if you want to get a little more adventurous, try some chromatic passing notes between those scale tones. But there are a million and one different ways you might approach your fills/solos depending on what you like or your intent.
In terms of using the D7 over both. Yes you could do that. The notes will clash in a certain way because you'll be playing D, F#, A, C over a backing of A, C, E, G.
The D and F# will give you a suspended feeling because of the 4th and 6th wanting to pull to the C and E in the Am7. But then it resolves as the D7 chord enters. So that will be the effect you'll achieve. It's just a personal preference. Some people might want to play completely 'out' over those chords which would mean using another approach.
Please note the tempo of your song/composition. Is it 60BPM, 94BPM, 120BPM, etc...?
Please note the style of your song/composition. Is it disco, hip-hop, R&B, Country, bebop, etc....?
Please note your rhythm pattern...
Anything about the main melody?
Are you playing with Frank Sinatra, Pink Floyd, Aretha Franklin, Robin Thicke, Daft Punk, Greenday, etc...?
Maybe you are ready to play with Lee Konitz?
Do you play some kind of "riff"/groove on the bass?
What is the texture of your song/composition?
What are other instruments doing?
Without it, even smart people could get ":confused:"
So as mentioned there are all kinds of ways. I do not think secondary dominants were mentioned. This is where you use the dominant note of the next chord coming up as the last chord tone used over the old chord. I seldom, if ever, use this as you have to think.......
And that is the reason for my post. Fills should come naturally as needed, i.e. you should not have to think about them. Hear the need for a fill and one just happens.
To do that we must get two or three fills into muscle memory. Country will use a three fret chromatic walk to the next chord. After you have done that a zillion times you do not have to think about it - chord change coming and you automatically target the new root and miss it by three frets. You hear/see the need and a fill just happens.
From all that have been mentioned, find two or three fills you like, and start getting them into muscle memory.
As an added extra, you've obviously been listening to certain songs with fills that you like or would like to be inspired by. Try analysing those fills by transcribing or learning them from sheet music/tab and then take them apart in terms of scales/chord tones. That'll give you a good idea of what they are doing and then try experimenting with the melodic devices you find.
I know a lot of the advice tends to seem a little cryptic in that nobody says "Here you go. This is the theory and technique needed to play fills!" But that's because it's just all about creating your own musical personality. There's no solution, just a load of different paths to finding your own style. As long as you know your basic scales and arpeggios you'll have a good start in figuring out what other people are doing or have a basic ability to write or improvise some fills that work OK without so-called bum notes.
An A minor pentatonic ending on the D would work too. Since there are only 2 intervals from the A up to the D, maybe consider staring on the octave A and coming down, or instead of a straight ascending or descending fill, experiment with alternate patterns within the pentatonic, as long as you hit that D on the downbeat of the chord change.
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