This 27-page eBook is a tutorial to understand the basics of the Barry Harris approach to improvised lines and harmony. Although notated for piano, this guide serves as good primer for any instrument including guitar.
The book is divided into three parts:
Part I – Improvised Lines
Some basic motifs
Addendum 1: Song Example: Stay Right With It
Addendum 2: Solo Example: Stay Right With It
(3rd. & 4th. Choruses)
Part II – Basic Chord Movement
Sixth chords, long and short
Using the chords
Part III – Exploring the Sixth Diminished Scale
Major & Minor sixth diminished scales
The most important parts (for me) are Part I and III – these explain how Barry approaches lines that rhythmically place the chord tones on the beat and makes faster lines sound good.
Although I’m already aware of the basic concepts (I’ve studied his approach in different books before), this book provides a good explanation for it. In addition to what the author wrote to explain the ideas, we also get Barry Harris’s comments (written in italics) and variations on the examples given.
In Part II, the basic chord movement section is good too, but since I play guitar I could only play certain examples (with adaptations of course). Still it’s great to hear the harmony and how the movement is created. (There are other books and videos that show the concepts applied to guitar that I might be reviewing in the future.)
All in all, this is a concise introduction to Barry’s thinking. It delivers on the promise of the title & can provide the right musician with literally hours of practice ideas. I for one plan to practice some of the line ideas today to kickstart my week.
I’m also thinking of checking out the second part of the tutorial “The Origin of the Four Important Chord Types & Their Scales An Overview of the Barry Harris Harmonic Principles by Fiona Bicket” but maybe sometime later this week at the earliest.
Pros: Good material and well organized.
Cons: Might feel like a short eBook at 27 pages. Still, if you take the concepts to each of it’s logical conclusion (playing them on different chord types, in all keys), it actually becomes a full workout.
TLDR: If you’ve heard of the Barry Harris approach but you’re not sure what’s it all about, this is a good introduction.
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