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E Dorian “Spiral” Lick

I probably should've wrote this sucker out in D Dorian (D-E-F-G-A-B-C), to go along with my preferred “milk keys/modes with no sharps and flats for all they're worth” teaching approach, but I already wrote it out in E Dorian (E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D). C'est la vie!

The gist of this gem stems from the following: Three notes oriented along one string, and a single note located on a string that's a “skip” away. To be reeeeeeeeal specific here, the aforementioned “three notes,” used along whichever string, always appear in the form of one of the following trios of pitches: (1.) E-F#-G, (2.) G-A-A#/Bb, or (3.) B-C#-D. If you're “fingerboard savvy,” you'll notice that these pitch trios all span the range of a minor third (the distance of three frets), the combination of a whole step (the distance between the lowest two notes) and half step (the distance between the highest two notes). The specific pattern used—in analysis of the lick's opening six notes (C#-D-G-D-C#-B), for example—always begins on the middle of these three notes (e.g., “C#” of a “B-C#-D” fragment), climbs to the top of the three-note fragment (e.g., to “D”), skips a string to grab a note a 4th away (e.g., “G”), then descends the three-note fragment (e.g., “D-C#-B”). The same intervallic scheme is used with the remaining pitch groupings.

As the pattern changes string sets and positions, you'll be interested to know that the same fingering—a 3-4-1-4-3-1 pattern—is used throughout. Also, for a less-predictable effect, this lick's six-note pattern is rhythmically grouped in fours—played in sixteenth notes (four evenly-spaced notes per beat), as opposed to sextuplets (six evenly-spaced notes per beat). This hemiola effect puts the starting point of the lick on a different part of the beat each time it's repeated, making it more interesting sounding. Maybe I'll do a full-blown “hemiola lesson” soon...

Once you get this lick down, the physical aspect of executing it will be not unlike a spiral, hence the passage's title: an E Dorian “Spiral” Lick! Can ewe dig it?

(*You can hear the lick FAST by clicking HERE*)

(*You can hear the lick SLOW by clicking HERE*)

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