Tips for the first three bars of Troublant Bolero

krzyskrzys New
edited January 2023 in Repertoire Posts: 136


I am looking for some new approaches over the Em7 E6 Emm7/Em7 Emaj7 E7 | E6 | Emm7 Em7 | A7 section, often simplified to E(maj9) | % | Em(7) | A7 it seems. I usually play arpeggios over those E chords targeting chord tones of the simplified progression and its relatively maj/minor, but I was wondering if anyone took a scalar approach with any certain modes? Any cool substitutions to think of? My approach sounds quite boring over the original mysterious progression.


  • MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-10, Epiphone Zephyr Regent
    Posts: 384

    I'm confused by the chords you mentioned in your post. The chart that my band uses for Troublant Bolero (after the intro, which you wouldn't solo over) has the first 4 bars as:


    The way I approach it is pretty straightforward. The song is in the key of E major, so it begins with the 1 chord. So over the first 2 chords you can do something in E major (arpeggio, triad with enclosures, etc) or toy with the melody. Then it goes to a ii-V-I in D major, so at that point you can hit the arpeggios/triads with enclosures of those chords, do something cool in D major, or even play something in E dorian if you want to think modes/scales. If you found a different chart for this song, feel free to post it. It was November's song of the month on this forum, so if you search for that, you'll see the chart most players use for it.

  • krzyskrzys New
    edited January 2023 Posts: 136

    Sorry I must have made a big mistake there.

    These are the chords I play for the first four bars in the Django style version.

    Emaj7 (E7) | E6 | Emm7 (Em7) | A7

  • JasonSJasonS New
    Posts: 50

    EmMaj7 is what I play as well.

  • Posts: 4,736

    Wim was like "yeah, my man"...

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,319

    For comping I just do:

    X / / X X / / / X / / X X / / /

    X / / X X / / / X / / X X / / /

    8 / / 7 6 / / / 8 / / 7 6 / / /

    6 / / 6 6 / / / 5 / / 5 5 / / /

    X / / X X / / / X / / X X / / /

    7 / / 7 7 / / / 7 / / 7 5 / / /

    Not sure how to notate it but it is one beat per column.

    It is EM7, E7, E6, EmM7, Em7, A7 all with the 5th (B) in the bass. No open ringing strings that way and doesn't double the root with the bass player in case there are more than one rhythm player.

  • Posts: 4,736

    Use what you have.

    Here's what I would do: use Soundslice or similar so you can loop that section over and over. Then do just that. Do it long enough until you feel and hear ideas start flowing. It could take a few hours but I'm pretty sure they will at some point. Then once you feel you're onto something, come up with variations using different timing, different phrasing, different start notes. In the end record what you have and woodshed so it becomes a part of your playing.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • lacrossehotclublacrossehotclub La Crosse WI✭✭✭ Dupont Nomade
    Posts: 116

    Beatles quotes!

    Emaj7 - Please Please Me

    Em & A7 - Eleanor Rigby ("picks up the rice at a church where a wedding has been")

    D - Day Tripper (transposed to D)

    C & B - last two bars of Nowhere Man guitar solo, with the high harmonic at the end! (1st string, 5th fret)

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