Watch the Breakdown online guitar lesson by John Stowell from Modern Chord Melody
Breakdown This piece has a very simple, singable melody. What I tried to do is create some harmonic interest with some close intervals in the chords and some unusual modulations. Note the use of major and minor 2nds in a number of the inversions. I particularly like dominant 11th chords that contain the major 3rd; both intervals can co-exist well harmonically in the same octave or in different registers. I seem to gravitate to chord sounds that have very wide or very close intervals.
This tune has a few chords with large stretches. I've trained my hands to accommodate these shapes gradually over time by using the sides as well as the tips of my fingers. These extended shapes also serve as the basis for some single line ideas that are a departure from more conventional scales and arpeggios.
This melody contains a melodic minor arpeggio and some altered dominant sounds; I use both of these harmonies very often in my composing and improvising and will talk about a number of applications of both in a later video bank from this tune ("Jasper.."#4 video#2). The melodic minor scale in particular has many interesting applications as a substitute scale, generating beautiful embellishments/tensions over many chord qualities. I will go into these sounds in detail later (Technique 2).