Improvising in the chord melody style can be taken to new heights when inner lines are employed that are musical and played with finesse. This class will deal specifically with inner lines, or lines that are played between a melody note and a bass note. The melody and bass notes are important providing the necessary framework for solo chord melody playing. As an alternative to the common chord form approach to chord soloing we’ll examine how to make something unique and musical happen between the bass and melody. The inner line concept can be a satisfying way of personalizing one’s chord soloing. Often the success of a good inner line depends upon choosing a good melodic line that resolves well and having a good flexible technique to make the line seamless, maintaining the independence of the two parts. A flexible technique can be achieved by practicing the studies set forth in this class so that true improvisation in this style can happen naturally. Using principles that were inspired by the materials George Van Eps outlines in his harmonic mechanisms books, some of the lines will be given a bebop/hardbop update and I’ll demonstrate the types of fingerings employed to make these lines happen between 2 outside sustained notes. The class should make it possible for the player to improvise more interesting arrangements in the chord melody style. Be prepared for a true left hand finger workout leading to much greater finger independence!

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Class Content

The Inner Line
The Inner Line 01:29:00

Course Reviews


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  1. Profile photo of Martin Blanes


    Amazing masterclass! it´s full of usefull information. The arrangement on "Stella by Starlight" is breathtakingly beautiful and also plays a lot of different ways to approach it. Also, there is a lot of written examples that you really can use adn shows real situations to play them in a context!

    Anyway you can´t miss him playing "Darn that Dream" in al lot of different ways!

    i´ve learn lot from this lesson and there is still a huge lot for me to learn from it. Really useful for the solo guitarist!! The arrangement of "Stella" is already on my repertoire with great success! don´t miss it

    ~ Martin Blanes (February 8, 2018)

  2. Profile photo of Nico Sabatini


    Excellent. This material is very much in the contrapuntal vein that characterizes Steve’s style and ties in well with his classes on the Van Eps concepts and Contrapuntal Improvisation. As always, the class comes with abundance of materials in the form of 3 pages of simple examples, based mostly on playing an interval (10th or 12th) often with mid and ring finger, then weaving a line with index and pinky (!). In addition to that, there is a beautiful Arrangement of Stella in this style. As always with Steve, you get well prepared material, clear explanations and first rate playing. It’s all very demanding on the left hand, but very, very rewarding!

    ~ Nico Sabatini (March 21, 2009)

  3. Profile photo of James S.


    This is the logical next step in an amazing series of classes from Mr. Herberman. His instruction has helped me in the last couple of years to almost completely turn my playing around into what I had been searching for since I -don’t-know-when.

    ~ james seaberry (September 26, 2008)

  4. Profile photo of jeff stocks


    Easily one of Steve’s most direct and impacting classes. This stuff isn’t easy, but Steve helps break down the idea of inner lines into playable bits and pieces. His arrangement of Stella is breathtaking and will be on my music stand for weeks to come. You could easily use it as a thesis for this type of playing! Thanks again Mike and Steve for doing a great service to jazzers everywhere!

    ~ jeff stocks (September 22, 2008)

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