Writing Melodies With Neighbor Notes

Author: Tommaso Zillio

There are some things in music that are periodically forgotten and rediscovered.

Or sometimes they are not forgotten… but since not all musicians study a lot of theory, they re-discover it independently.

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I’m not even getting into the debate if it’s better to learn it from theory, or better to rediscover it yourself. Suffice to say that if you are using triads, then you can not say you are rediscovering “everything” by yourself ;-)

Polemics aside, today we talk about a trick that has been discovered and rediscovered several times. And indeed you find this trick used in slightly different ways in most (all?) styles of music.

I am talking about what classical musicians call “neighbor notes”. The Jazz version (that is similar, but not identical) is called “enclosures”.

However you call them, they are a great idea and we should use them more.

the problem with them? The first examples you hear sound unimpressive, so you may mistakenly form the opinion that they are not so useful. So, fair warning here, maybe the first half of the video below is not that impressive.

But if you try to play some of these neighbor notes yourself, on your guitar, you will soon hear how powerful they are and how many melodies they generate spontaneously.

So here’s how to use neighbor notes on your guitar:

Enjoy!

About the Author

Tommaso Zillio is a prog rock guitarist and teacher with a passion for Music Theory applied to Guitar. To know more do not forget to subscribe to his youtube channel.

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